Chatham man expresses concerns about proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

CHATHAM (WSLS 10) - Representatives of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission held a meeting at Chatham High School on Tuesday evening to allow people to comment on the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, a portion of which would run through Pittsylvania County.

The Transco natural gas pipeline compressor station just outside Chatham is where the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline would connect to the Transco Pipeline, so that the Mountain Valley Pipeline gas can be transported down to Houston, Texas.

Chatham resident Mark Joyner said the current version of the plan would bring the Mountain Valley Pipeline through historical sites that are currently being excavated.

"[MVP representatives] had mentioned that they had contacted all the local historical societies, yet I had been the board of directors for the Pittsylvania [Historical] Society from 2013 up until this past October and we never got any correspondence," Joyner explained.

He also said pipeline representatives haven't reached out to the local Native American tribes for comment as they said they have.

On top of that, he is concerned about the safety hazards the pipeline would pose.

"With the Transco Pipeline being a 30-inch pipe and they're going to try to tie in Mountain Valley Pipeline which is a 42-inch pipe, they'll have their own compressors and everything, but it's still going to tie into the Transco line. That's going to create a lot of pressure issues," said Joyner.

He said a friend of his recently shot video of natural gas being vented into the air from a local pipeline, which makes him concerned that there may be a problem with the pipeline.

With 33 lines in this part of the state already and with natural gas being so volatile, Joyner said it doesn't make sense for MVP to come in when it could connect to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsburgh where MVP is expected to begin.

This weekend's leak in a Columbia Gas of Virginia pipe just outside Chatham isn't very comforting for him either.

"Someone may have been digging near the pipe at some point in the past and we're doing our investigation around that," said Bob Innes, a representative for Columbia Gas of Virginia.

Adding to Joyner's concern, that is also what is believed to have caused Monday's pipeline explosion in Alabama which killed one person.

A meeting with FERC representatives will be held in Rocky Mount on Wednesday and Roanoke on Thursday.

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