by Robert Zullo
The following is an excerpt from the article “Buckingham approves compressor station for Dominion pipeline over opposition from residents.” Click here to view the full version from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The Buckingham station is one of three proposed to maintain pressure in the pipeline, which would bring gas from the Marcellus shale fields to southeastern Virginia and eastern North Carolina.
Carla Picard, a spokeswoman for the pipeline, told the Board of Supervisors that North Carolina, in particular, is “starved for this particular resource.”
The Buckingham station would allow the new pipeline to move natural gas to and from the Transco line, which extends up the East Coast from the Gulf of Mexico. And though critics of the pipeline have questioned its necessity and alleged that the pipeline is really about connecting shale gas to export terminals, Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby called that “total misinformation.”
“All of the natural gas will be purchased by public utilities in Virginia and North Carolina,” he said. Ruby said the pipeline has already reached easement agreements with more than half of the 2,900 private landowners along the route, including in Buckingham. He called eminent domain “an absolute last resort.”
Picard and Ruby said the compressor station would be equipped with best-in-class features to limit emissions and noise.
The feared blowdowns would occur only about once every five years, Picard said, with other release of gas being kept to a minimum.
“The methane that runs through this pipe is our product,” she said. “We’re highly motivated to keep it in the pipe.”
A noise study Picard presented said the compressor station would be barely perceptible over background levels.
“Dominion employees and contractors have been exposed to far more methane venting than the general public and have not suffered any headaches, nosebleeds or any other health effects,” the ACP presentation to the board said.
Picard added that the station would be subject to rigorous federal and state requirements and would be continuously monitored. The station and pipeline would also provide $8.7 million in tax revenue to the county in its first eight years of operation, according to the pipeline presentation.
“Maybe you’re really hoping against hope that Dominion is going to become Santa Claus for the county with no risk,” Jeff Kamen, a former journalist who lives near the proposed station, told the board. “They’re not Santa Claus. … We are flyover for them, whatever they told you tonight.”
Not everyone was against the pipeline, however. Kevin Battle, a union boilermaker, said he and other workers were eager for the chance to help build the compressor station.
A few speakers took aim at the opponents. “Every person here, when they go home at night, wants their heat on and cold food in the refrigerator,” said Jared Turner, who said he makes his living building and maintaining power plants. “Did anybody walk to this meeting?”
Dominion hopes to secure federal approval later this year and begin construction by this fall.