Citizens voice opposition to gas pipeline project.
Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023
By James Robinson
The bright Saturday morning of March 4 saw concerned citizens voice their opposition to the Virginia Reliability Project, a 48-mile expansion project that will be routed through Hampton Roads and Southeast areas of Virginia, including the cities of Suffolk and Chesapeake, as well as Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.
Columbia Gas Transmission LLC, a subsidiary of Canada-based TC Energy unaffiliated with Columbia Gas of Virginia, proposes to dig and replace 48 miles of transmission line, while adding 135 million cubic feet of high pressure gas per day. According to TC Energy’s needs and benefits section on its website, the project would replace “two existing segments of the TCO [Columbia Gas Transmission] Pipeline System” to help supply natural gas.
However, Chesapeake Climate Action Network contends on its website that the project would “threaten three fragile and cherished bodies of water” — the Great Dismal Swamp, Chesapeake Bay, and the Nansemond River. Likewise, VRP would raises health concerns with communities within the project route being “near compressor stations” and 13 public schools and one hospital being “1.5 miles or less of the route.”
Dubbed the “Virginia Ripoff Project,” members and supporters of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network went door to door in the Suffolk area to bring awareness to the project and the issues that it would cause.
“We are aware of TC Energy and Columbia Gas’ attempts to really push forward and get this Pipeline expansion project done,” Charles Brown II, Hampton Roads Organizer for Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “They’ve been out doing the bare minimum of doing outreach to the community, to let them know that they’re doing this process.”
Brown said he believes their tone is like they’re doing a courtesy .
“They’re letting people know that it’s happening, but they’re wording it as if it’s a foregone conclusion and the real fact of the matter is that they do not have all their permits secured for this to be a done deal,” he said. “But they’re wording in such a way as, ‘Just wanted to let you know that this is happening,’ It’s not even close to happening yet.”
Brown discussed how he and the group are letting the communities that will be affected by the project know of all the facts so they can make informed decisions.
“If you stand opposed to this pipeline project, there’s something that you can do now,” Brown said. “You can sign this petition, you can follow what we’re doing as a correlation together and we can speak out about this. Put pressure on elected officials to really take a closer look at what’s going on here. And make your voices heard.”
The deadline for citizens to make their comments on the project is March 31, 2023.
Comments should be sent in writing by either email to email@example.com or by standard mail to 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA 23510-1011. Mail should be addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (Attn: CENAO-WRR).
For more information on the Virginia Reliability Project, go to https://www.tcenergy.com/operations/natural-gas/virginia-reliability-project/ or https://www.nao.usace.army.mil/Media/Public-Notices.
For more information on the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, go to https://chesapeakeclimate.org/virginia.