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Dozens Speak at DEQ Pipeline Hearings

Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality is holding hearings around central Virginia this week and next.  It is seeking public comment on two natural gas pipelines proposed for the state and what their effect might be on water resources. 

Tuesday night, more than a hundred people signed up for 3-minute speaking slots to get their comments on the record. Others took a different approach to sharing their concerns about the prospect of more pipelines. 

One group even did it in song, singing “you’re gonna reap just what you sow.  If you’ve been fracking, better stop your fracking….”

"I’ve talked to several people here tonight who said, ‘I don’t want to speak.  I’m not a public speaker,” song organizer Kay Ferguson said.

She is working with a group called “Walking the Line.”

“So we’re here to invite people to send a very simple message tonight to the DEQ and anyone else that will listen; that this is not a hearing, this is a robbery,” Ferguson stated.

She voiced a concern shared by others that these public hearings are being rushed through and that private land and public waterways are being threatened.

Inside an auditorium at Radford university, speakers made their cases, for and against the proposed pipelines. Supporters cited the benefits of natural gas to the region and their confidence that DEQ would see the state’s water would be protected.

Opponents said department is not considering the big picture, with its separate categories for assessing water quality and that the potential long-term threat to the water resources is not worth the short term gain of a finite fossil fuel.

Public Meetings Schedule:

  • August 9, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. Chatham High School Auditorium, 100 Cavalier Circle, Chatham, VA 24531. Parking is only in designated areas on school property.  
  • August 10, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. Longwood University, Jarman Auditorium, 201 High St., Farmville, VA 23901. Parking is in Wheeler Lot, Crafts Lot, High Street Lot, Randolph Lot or other university-owned lots. 
  • August 14, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. Southside Virginia Community College, Center for Workforce Development, Christanna Campus, 109 Campus Drive, Alberta, VA 23821.
Robbie Harris is based in Blacksburg, covering the New River Valley and southwestern Virginia.