Pipeline surveys continue

Published 10:55 pm Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Three in Suffolk have refused surveyors access

Kenneth Worrell just bought his farm between Hare Road and Quince Road last year so he could have somewhere to hunt.

Now, a natural gas pipeline could come through and disturb the woods where he had hoped to spend his mornings during hunting season.

“I just bought this farm last year,” he said. “I bought it so I could have somewhere to hunt, and there are lots I was going to give my two sons to give them a house.”

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The Atlantic Coast Pipeline project was announced publicly at the beginning of September. Dominion and three other energy companies — Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources — hope to start construction as soon as 2016.

The 550-mile-long, $4.5-billion project is needed to ensure customer demand is met, according to the companies.

The project is expected to run from Harrison County, W.Va., to Robeson County, N.C., with a spur coming east from the Virginia/North Carolina state line through Hampton Roads.

The partnership announced last week that owners of about 73 percent of all the potentially affected tracts along the route had given permission to surveyors to enter their property.

Three landowners in Suffolk have not yet given permission and received a letter recently asking them to reconsider, said Jim Norvelle of Dominion.

In Virginia, about 189 owners of 247 tracts have protested by not allowing surveyors on their property. Five owners of 12 tracts in West Virginia, along with 32 owners of 38 tracts in North Carolina, also have not allowed surveyors onto their land yet.

Kenneth Worrell is not one of Suffolk’s three holdouts, he said, even though he’s not happy about the idea of the pipeline.

“I’m still kind of against it, because it’s not going to help us one bit,” he said. But, he added, “I let them survey what they wanted so they could just get it and get out. I said, ‘You need to go ahead and do it before hunting season comes in.’”

According to Norvelle of Dominion, the company is asking the landowners to reconsider through the letters before it seeks relief through the court system.

“This extra, last notification letter is not required by state law,” state a press release from Norvelle. “Dominion has met the legal requirement of each state to give notice to landowners and could survey on their property today. The letter is another example of how we are trying to work with the landowners so that the best route with the least impact to the environment, historic and cultural resources can be determined.”

Norvelle said allowing crews to survey is the best way to obtain information from landowners, such as the locations of family cemeteries and other important resources that may not be delineated on any maps.

Norvelle announced Wednesday that the next round of open houses will include one on Jan. 12 in Chesapeake. A location and time will be announced later and will be posted on www.dom.com/acpipeline.