Pipeline opponents have said from the very beginning that the chosen route for Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline shows immense ignorance (or perhaps conscious blindness) of the difficulties of the terrain it would traverse, the scenic and cultural heritage it would destroy, the watersheds it would affect, and the racial injustices it would perpetuate. We were right!
In an article in the December 27, 2017, Nelson County Times, Dominion engineers proudly (!) describe how they designed the route in just a week. “Brittany Moody recalls the exact moment the Atlantic Coast Pipeline took over her life. Moody was on a break from a training session in Richmond in early 2014 when Leslie Hartz, Dominion Energy’s vice president for engineering and construction, approached her to ask: ‘Hey, I’m gonna need you to route a pipeline. How long do you think it’ll take you to complete it?’ Moody, manager of engineering projects for Dominion, answered without hesitation. ‘I’m thinking it’ll be just like every other pipeline I’ve done [and responded], “I’ll have it done in a week,”‘ she said. In the days that followed, though, Moody began to learn more details about the project, which would become the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. ‘Later I started getting the details and it’s a 500-mile pipeline, and I’m like, “Oh shoot, I’ve got to get it done in a week,”‘ Moody said. So she and Dominion construction manager Greg Park, the two appointed to lead the design of the route from start to finish, set to work. About a week later, after hours in front of computers analyzing thousands of miles in West Virginia, Virginia — including the 27 miles of Nelson County that are currently included in the route — and North Carolina, the first iteration of the natural gas pipeline’s route was born.”
Although in the more than three years since, the route has undergone hundreds of changes (few of more than a very short distance), it is basically the same as that first route, designed in just a week. Moody and Park feel they have done a great job in meeting with landowners and adjusting the route. “‘If they don’t want their parcel divided in half or they’d rather see the pipeline farther away (from their residence or other parts of their property), we try to accommodate all of that if we get it caught early enough in the process.'”
But the fact remains that no matter how many minor adjustments to the route they are proud of, they are clear that, “infrastructure such as the ACP requires sacrifices from multiple people along the route…. For businesses and residents in southern Virginia and North Carolina to receive the natural gas companies say they need, residents in Nelson and 11 other counties in Virginia had their number called for the ACP.”
Everyone living in the region crossed by the pipeline route – designed in just a week – has indeed “had their number called for the ACP.”