New Study Says Atlantic Coast Pipeline Won't Be Beneficial

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BUCKINGHAM COUNTY, VA (NEWSPLEX) -- Early Tuesday morning, a study done by Key-Log Economics stated that the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline will cost counties millions of dollars.

"The counties will be lucky to get a fraction of what Dominion has estimated will be returned," said Ernie Reed, Vice President of the Friends of Nelson group.

Friends of Nelson is one of the five groups that commissioned Key-Log Economics to do the study. The study states that up to $141 million will be lost in property value and services. That includes air and water quality.

Dominion Power responded by saying the study is inconclusive, because it's based on pipelines being an inherently bad thing.

"The study ignores the fact that there are many communities all across the state of Virginia that live and thrive with pipelines in their backyard," said Aaron Ruby, a Dominion Power spokesperson.

Ruby went on to say that Virginia has more than 2,200 miles of natural gas pipeline already installed, which is nearly double the amount of miles in interstate highway. Ruby says the communities that deal with those pipelines don't experience the problems the study claims will happen.

"Those pipelines pass through farming communities, residential areas, thriving commercial districts, and have not caused any of the adverse effects," said Ruby.

In Buckingham County, many residents are still concerned about the project as a whole. Dominion recently added on an additional part to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project, a compressing station, that would be located in Buckingham County.

"I'm concerned about my health," said Annie Parr, a lifetime resident of Buckingham Count.. "I'm concerned about the health of agriculture."

Parr lives on a farm that is less than two miles from the proposed site of the compressing station, and says she is worried.

"I don't want this in my community," She said. "It's not a healthy for the environment."

A compressing station is a building that helps a natural gas pipeline keep it's pressure. The building would be no larger than a barn.

"The property is about 68 acres," said Ruby. "But the amount of property that will be fenced and actually used is 17 acres. The building itself will be no larger than a big barn."

Dominion hosted an open house in Buckingham County on Tuesday night to help explain the project to residents. Each station at the open house represented a different aspect of the project, and included a section where attendees could ask questions and submit suggestions.

"We want this to be a part of the community," said Ruby. "So it is important to get the feedback from the people who live here."

Some in attendance say they still aren't convinced this will be a good thing for the community.

"There is a better way to get this done," said Parr, "and I'm sure there is one that doesn't involve desecrating Buckingham County."

Despite the large focus on Buckingham County, the Key-Log study says that Buckingham will not have the largest impact.

"Nelson and Augusta are the two counties that are going to shoulder the most costs," said Reed, "and that the costs are really astronomical."

The study states that Nelson County alone would lose up to $43 million per year.

"Most of Nelson's revenue is based around tourism," said Ruby. "And that would take a huge hit."

Dominion says that counties will not be facing a debt, but will get a surplus.

"Once the pipeline's in service, it's going to produce more than $10 million in annual local tax revenue," said Reed.

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