Editor: In the May 3 issue of Loudoun Now, I was pleased to read two letters about the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposed to slice through the heart of Virginia. Numerous issues of great concern were raised including: increased electricity bills for Dominion customers; potential pollution of Richmond and Washington, DC, drinking water supplies; environmental racism; health, safety, and welfare of communities in the path of the pipelines; accelerated climate change; and corporate greed of pipeline builders EQT and Dominion Power. Another critical issue should be addressed: integrity of the pipes to be used; and integrity of the pipeline builders.
Blue Virginia newspaper published “Concerned About the Safety Of the Pipes That Would Be Used For the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.” Author Bill Limpert’s intended retirement property in Bath County is in the path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. He writes, “I, and others, have become increasingly concerned about the safety of the pipes that would be used for the ACP… due to the excessive time that they have been stored outside….” Though Mr. Limpert has written to Senator Kaine as well as the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, he has yet to receive a substantive response. Among specific concerns are: ACP pipes have been stockpiled on the ground, unprotected from sunlight for already one to two years; the manufacturer Dura Bond’s recommends limiting exposure to sunlight limited to 9 months; a PHMSA informed Mr. Limpert “leaving pipes exposed to sunlight for two years would constitute an unacceptable safety risk.” Ironically, Mr. Limpert pointed out that the PHMSA has pipeline expertise but does not approve pipelines, while the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves pipelines but does not have pipeline safety expertise.
From personal communication with impacted community members, I conclude that not only do the pipes to be used lack integrity, Dominion Power itself lacks integrity. Dominion submits plans in which topographic lines have been removed, decreasing the steepness of a slope. Plans also have water features removed, avoiding the need to analyze impacts to water resources. Elsewhere, Dominion’s demographic analysis is dishonest, counting people residing in close proximity to each other, but using the entire area of the county to calculate population density. If a proper analysis is performed, the community is characterized as suburban. The improper analysis results in describing the community as rural. In a rural community, pipes do not need to be as thick as pipes laid in a suburban community. It is clear that Dominion Power and EQT corporate greed results in putting Profits above People and Planet. Regulatory agencies and elected officials at all levels of government are complicit.
It is up to the people to stop this madness by any and all means possible, including the choice we make on Election Day. Regardless of party affiliation, we must elect only representatives of integrity who renounce corporate donations. They will be free to represent the people who elected them, not corporations who bought them.
Natalie Pien, Leesburg