CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (NEWSPLEX) -- An online petition has been created to keep Dominion Virginia Power’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline out of Central Virginia.
It started up last month and is targeted toward local government officials to get them to resist the proposal.
"There have been at least three pipeline proposals in this area in the last year,” said Evan Knappenberger, board member of Charlottesville Peace and Justice. “We want to start a grassroots movement to stop new pipeline construction in Central Virginia."
The petition has already gained ground with more than 200 signatures.
"It exceeded my expectations already. It's going on 300 signatures right now, and who knows, the sky is the limit. I'm hoping to get a thousand or more," said Knappenberger.
Dominion has been making a lot of headway toward construction. The company have approval to survey 89 percent of the proposed route, of which they've surveyed 85 percent. State courts have been ruling in favor of survey access.
Route modifications have also been made in certain areas, like around a drinking well in Augusta County, or changing the route around the James River in Nelson and Buckingham counties.
Knappenberger plans to take the petition to the Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.
"This will be a new step forward especially with the Democratic Party. We've tried and we've failed to get the attention of the governor. Governor McAuliffe has been deaf to this issue for us," said Knappenberger.
His plan is to start locally and hope the idea spreads to other areas where the pipeline is proposed, but it has not been all easy.
"There was a little bit of blowback from communities in West Virginia and Southwest Virginia that thought we were being a little elitist in saying 'We don't want the pipeline here, but it's okay to be there.' That's not what we're saying. We really don't want the pipelines anywhere. We think that things like this can be a nail in the coffin of this pipeline construction," said Knappenberger.
Dominion originally submitted its energy permit application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee in September 2015.
The U.S. Forest Service asked for more information on environmental issues and alternative routes, which Dominion provided.
FERC has requested some more information as well, which Dominion will provide within the next few weeks. The federal committee then produces an environmental impact statement.
After this is provided there is a public comment period, then FERC will or will not provide Dominion with a certificate of public convenience and necessity. That will decide whether or not construction will begin. Dominion expects this to happen in late 2016.
To read the petition, click on the link alongside this story.