Wintergreen property owners to sue pipeline

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NELSON COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- On Monday, about 1,000 Wintergreen landowners announced they are planning on suing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline if it gets approved to pass through their property.

These 1,000 property owners are looking to sue for damages the pipeline may have on their private property, should the pipeline take land used by the Wintergreen community.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, gave a conditional approval for the pipeline last month, giving the pipeline company the authority to use eminent domain if it is unable to reach an agreement with landowners.

A member of the Friends of Wintergreen Board of Directors said the pipeline could be extremely damaging to Wintergreen because of the makeup of the land and how close the pipeline would be to Wintergreen's entrance.

"It really concerns me and a lot of people here that FERC made this decision without adequately considering the geology and the unstable ancient debris fields right at the entrance of Wintergreen where the pipeline is going to punch through," said John Claman, a landowner in Wintergreen and member of the board of directors of Friends of Wintergreen. "We also have an issue of fire safety if an accident were to ever happen."

Friends of Wintergreen has also taken legal action of its own to try to halt pipeline construction.

Dominion Energy would not comment on the potential lawsuits but did say that the project plans have been adjusted more than 300 times in order to avoid environmentally sensitive areas in the pipeline's path.

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