Spectra vs. Rappahannock County

Spectra, a $6 billion company — sounds like a James Bond villain, doesn’t it? — proposes to force a pipeline through Rappahannock County, which would carry natural gas from the fracking fields of Pennsylvania to Duke Energy (think BIG) in North Carolina.

These pipelines require unsightly pumping stations, fracture forest ecosystems, compact and ruin farm soils, cause the spread of invasive plant species and are a scar across the landscape. One of Rappahannock’s major attributes is our scenic beauty. Care for a major scar across it? Be aware: A requirement of Duke Energy is a second pipeline also be installed beside it in the near future. Perhaps another later?

We are going the wrong way folks.

Do not allow Spectra representatives on your property! You have no obligation to let them on your property unless you have received a certified letter. In that event, you should check with your attorney before doing anything.

Visit the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP.org) to learn more about this badly conceived pipeline project. There is also good information on your rights as a landowner and the regulatory process. More will be posted about Spectra, its record, pipeline routes and other fights and nightmares with pipelines around the country.

This is a serious threat. Do we want Rappahannock to become an industrial corridor? We have a scenic county protected by a national park, conservation easements, strong zoning and good planning.

For Spectra and Duke Energy, these strengths look like a cheap place to run a pipeline — and for others to follow suit. We have no subdivisions or shopping malls to plow under, just forests, fields, rivers, livelihoods, history, tourism, easement protected lands and natural beauty. Who cares?

You care! Energy takes the path of least resistance. Get involved. Learn about it. Inform your neighbors, write your governor, senator and congressman. Complain! Deny access, which you legally can, if Spectra asks to come on your property.

If you are in the path and get an offer, turn it down! If they obtain federal approval they’ll be back with more money anyway. Make them work for every inch they want. The more it costs Spectra, the greater chance we have they will go elsewhere.

This is not just about a gas line; it is about Rappahannock becoming an industrial corridor for big business — gas lines, electric lines, fiber optic cable lines and who knows what else — all being delivered from one huge company to another using Rappahannock as their industrial delivery corridor.

We all need to protect Rappahannock — for ourselves and our future generations. Make it as difficult as you possibly can for Spectra and any other big utility to shove a right of way through our beautiful county. It’s the least we can do for the land we love and a heritage worth preserving. Think about it, and get involved.

— Rick Kohler

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