Williams Pipeline

A natural gas pipeline being built by Williams.

The issues that have surfaced since a proposed 35-mile natural gas pipeline was announced in March in Lancaster County are hardly unique.

Take Nelson County, Virginia, a largely rural area in central Virginia where residents and public officials learned in late May of a planned 450-mile natural gas pipeline that would run through their properties.

Related: Complete pipeline coverage

Like the Central Penn Line South project here, the need for the project was billed by Dominion Resources to get newly fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale production region in the Appalachians to markets, this time in Virginia and North Carolina.

Like here, there was criticism early on by residents and local officials of the pipeline builder not notifying the public about the project.

In fact, the Nelson County Board of Supervisors — equivalent to the County Commissioners here — earlier this month took the extraordinary step of passing a resolution asking Dominion Resources to halt surveying work on the Southeast Reliability Project pipeline until Dominion discussed the project with supervisors and the public.

The resolution said that Dominion provided little to no information to the county or its residents of technical details of the pipeline. It directed Dominion to provide additional information, project specifics and an opportunity for the board to ask questions.

Dominion did agree to halt surveying work in Nelson County until meeting with the supervisors on Aug. 12.

Surveying of a 400-foot-wide corridor caused such consternation among landowners that Nelson County’s commonwealth attorney — similar to the district attorney here — weighed in on whether surveyors could be cited for trespassing.

They can’t, Commonwealth Attorney Anthony Martin told The News Virginian newspaper of Waynesboro, Va., though he observed that the county had never been in the position before and that there was a lot of unknown territory.

He pointed to a section of the Virginia Code that he said authorizes natural gas companies to enter property as long as all steps outlined in the statute are followed. If a landowner specifically requests that a surveyor not enter a property by responding to an official request, they may not enter, however, until an agreement or court order is obtained, he said.

Like here, citizens groups have formed in Nelson County to oppose the project.

Objections from some residents are similar to ones cited in Lancaster County, such as no benefits to the county, environmental concerns and decreased property values.

“This pipeline would give Nelson County a scar through the most stunning landscape, destroying the property value on its path,” one resident told the Board of Supervisors, as reported in The Daily Progress newspaper in Charlottesville, Va.

What to Read Next

Ad Crable is a Lancaster Newspapers staff writer and outdoors columnist who covers the environment and nuclear energy. He can be reached at acrable@lnpnews.com or (717) 481-6029. You can also follow @AdCrable on Twitter.