Pipeline law violations cause more backlash from opponents

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NELSON COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The landscape at Wintergreen Resort looks a lot different following tree felling to make way for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

"We like it the way it is, and we're sorry it had to be damaged by the pipeline," said Wilfrid Rall, a Wintergreen resident.

Rall is 95 years old and has lived at Wintergreen for almost two decades. He said he was upset when he learned Dominion Energy violated the law when felling trees to make way for the project.

"We like the trees, but we're also concerned that they're going to disrupt the access to where we live," said Rall.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality said Dominion violated 15 different sites along the route, including in Buckingham County.

The DEQ said Dominion was allowed to cut the trees, but only in areas that would not impact streams and wetlands. Nelson County was not one of the impacted areas.

"We halted all work on the project for three days to determine the root cause and reinforce environmental compliance with all of our crews," said Aaron Ruby, a Dominion spokesman.

Ruby said the violations were discovered by the pipeline's own inspectors in late February, who also notified the DEQ about the mistake.

"We are committed to building this project to the highest environmental standards," he said. "We accept responsibility for falling short of that commitment, and we've taken serious steps to prevent it from happening again."

It is not enough for people like Rall, who said nothing will stop him from speaking out against the pipeline.

"I don't like it at all," said Rall. "It's very disturbing."

Notices of violation are typically resolved with the payment of a fine and required action to correct the violation, according to the DEQ.

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