Nelson County Times
by Emily Brown
Shipman resident Pete Wood’s perspective of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline is simple.
“Bring it on,” he said, recalling his initial reaction to news of the pipeline a few years ago when it first was proposed.
Wood, who’s experienced a half century of infrastructure advancements as a native of Nelson County, said he completely supports the project, especially given his decades of experience building pipelines.
“It ain’t going to be this big cluster like everybody’s talking about,” said Wood, whose land lies directly on the currently proposed route.
Before taking a position as a mechanic at Front Street Garage in Lovingston, Wood worked building pipelines all over the state for about 20 years. During that time, he said, he learned exactly what’s involved in construction of a pipeline project.
“Every job we went on we had inspectors there,” Wood said. “You weren’t out there by yourself digging.”
Like Wood, Jason Tolbert, Wood’s brother-in-law, has years of experience in the pipeline industry. He currently works building pipelines across Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
“I have the utmost confidence it will be put in in the safest way,” said Tolbert, who added he’ll be working construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline if it’s approved “from the day it starts to the day it ends.”
While his land isn’t directly on the route, Tolbert said he still will be affected by the pipeline. Tolbert’s driveway is next to Wood’s, and the pipeline will run about 150 yards from his property, he said.
Like Wood, Tolbert said based on his work in the field, he believes there will be multiple layers of protection for the environment and people along the route.
“There were inspectors monitoring us every minute of the day we’re working,” Tolbert said. “We’ve got guidelines to go by. We’ve got to be qualified to do the work we do. … Everything we do is documented. We don’t just do what we want.”
Aside from the safety measures the two have seen in place in previous projects, transporting natural gas by pipeline rather than on trains or in trucks makes more sense, they say.
“Any time you can transport a flammable substance underground instead of up and down [U.S.] 29, you’re better off,” Wood said. “… It’s cheaper, and you don’t’ have to worry about a tanker blowing up here in Nelson. … You can transport any kind of liquid or gas or whatever, and you have less environmental impact because you ain’t got trucks hauling it up and down the road, and there’s no accidents.”
Wood, who received $40,000 for the portion of his property that will be used as a right of way for the pipeline, said he approves of the project for another reason, too: The county should receive more than $1 million in tax revenue from it.
“Any time this county can get something money-wise [is good],” Wood said. “It needs it.”
Tolbert said in addition to the safety aspect, he supports the project because of the gas supply it will provide to Virginia and North Carolina.
“It’s going in for a reason,” Tolbert said, explaining even though he won’t be a recipient of the gas, “it’s going to help a lot of people out.”
“You hear all pain and no gain, but you’ve got to look out for your fellow neighbor, too,” Tolbert said. “… If somebody’s in need and you can help them, help them.”
To those who continue to oppose the pipeline, Wood suggested they become more closely acquainted with the parameters rather than believing everything they hear.
“They judge it, and they don’t know nothing about it,” he said. “They don’t know how it’s done. I’ve been in it. I done helped lay it.
“Go out on a construction job and spend a week and see what they’ve got to do. You’ll change your mind. … It’s going to happen whether they want it or not.”
Read the full story in the Nelson County Times