A 427-mile natural-gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to North Carolina proposed by Spectra Energy would pass through eastern Rappahannock County, according to a map released this week by the Houston-based pipeline and distribution company.
The $4 billion project is in “the early development stage,” Spectra spokesman Arthur Diestel said Tuesday. The company has just begun to inform property owners whose land is adjacent or near to the “study route” depicted on the map, he said, primarily to make them aware of the proposed pipeline and as a prelude to surveys it hopes to begin by this summer.
A “study route,” according to the FAQ sheet included with a letter received this week by a Rappahannock landowner whose farm is east of Flint Hill along Crest Hill Road, is a 600-foot-wide preliminary route that makes allowances for property- or construction-related adjustments to come. The final pipeline route would be closer to 100 feet wide, and would be underground. It would be able to carry 1.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, Diestel said, and the company hopes it could be operational as early as late 2018.
Though the map’s scale and detail makes it difficult to be exact, the proposed route appears to follow the Dominion Power high-voltage transmission lines that also pass through Rappahannock between U.S. 522 and the Fauquier County line north of U.S. 211 and some distance east of Route 729 south of 211 and into Culpeper County.
Rappahannock County administrator John McCarthy said the county received notice of the proposed pipeline from Spectra late last week, and that the news was passed on to county supervisors. Spectra’s FAQ said the company would be arranging meetings with officials and regulatory agencies on the local, state and federal level.
Gas pipelines are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC); Spectra’s FAQ said the company would also seek review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and “appropriate agencies” of the states through which the pipeline would pass (Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina).
“I don’t think I’d like to see it,” said county supervisor Ron Frazier on Tuesday of the proposed pipeline. “But I don’t think there’s much any of us would be able to do about it, especially if it follows the Dominion power line route.”
McCarthy said the pipeline — like the Dominion power right of way — could bring some property-tax revenue to the counties through which it passes. Dominion’s recent upgrade of the transmission-line corridor through Rappahannock County, for example, brought the county an additional $30,000 in annual property tax payments.