Nelson County Residents Stood Against the Pipeline in a Protest of Prayer

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NELSON COUNTY, VA (NEWSPLEX) -- Dominion Virginia Power's proposed 564-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline that would carry natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia is still causing some upset.

Despite Dominion's efforts to re-route the pipeline, some groups are still in opposition and they demonstrated their stance on Sunday.

Dominion has said it is working to find the best possible pipeline route, but some Nelson County residents said they felt Dominion wasn't listening to them and they responded with a protest of prayer.

"I do the prayer flags a lot with kids at schools and different events," said Nelson County Artist Jill Averitt. "They're a great way to reach out to everybody, every kind of religion and thought."

Averitt came up with the idea, saying they will be heard.

"At the public meetings, somehow, ironically enough are all stacked with the pro-people to begin with," said Averitt. "There were a lot of us that needed to speak and were never heard."

Needing to be heard brought five new voices to the Friends of Nelson family, the Graver Family.

Mark and Joanna Graver say they want to make sure the land stays intact for the futures of their three children.

"Ultimately, we're making a future for them, this isn't a future for me," said Mark. "This is a future for them I'm not going to be here as long as they will be and I want them to continue to be proud of where they live."

Joanna shares his sentiment.

"It's being moved in where we live," said Joanna. "So that naturally involves us."

For others, their problem isn't just the land use. For Rockfish Valley Foundation President Peter Agelasto, his biggest concern is disruption of Nelson County history.

"The Historic Spruce Creek Bridge," said Agelasto. "Their maps show a 40-foot construction right into the bridge."

So to protest, they drew pictures, they pinned prayer flags, they walked to Spruce Creek and they hung their prayer flags on the bridge where the pipeline is set to cross Route 151. Agelesto says it's to pray for the bridges and reinforce their message.

"There are four other proposed pipelines, different companies," said Agelesto. "They have less environmental, historic, cultural, economic impact, FERC choose one of those, I'm sorry Dominion. You lose."

Not too long ago, Dominion applied for a certificate to build the pipeline.

Landowners and advocates on both sides and legislators asked FERC for a full review of the impacts of all four projects in a single, comprehensive review. That will happen Monday by teleconference.

The teleconference will be hosted by Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, Friends of Nelson and Appalachian Mountain Advocates.

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