“A lot of the neighbors started laughing when I put the signs up, because they had no clue what I was protesting,” says Elizabeth. The laughing stopped when she explained their situation.
The fracked-gas pipeline’s projected route runs directly through Elizabeth and Peter’s yard. It also crosses a water line that supplies their son’s house next door and passes close to both septic systems. The couple is concerned that pipeline construction could contaminate or dry up the old, shallow well that supplies water to both houses — not to mention the danger construction would pose aboveground.
Peter states that the Southgate representative who originally spoke to them said the pipeline would follow an existing power line right-of-way and wouldn’t affect private property.
“When you talk to them, they talk nice,” Peter says. “Then you hear what they’re really doing.”
When the company held a public information meeting, Elizabeth asked to look at the pipeline’s route
“[A Mountain Valley representative] showed me where it was going straight through my property,” she says. “I was like, ‘oh, so you lied.’ Number one, I don’t take that well.”
Elizabeth states that even if Southgate didn’t go through her property, “I would still argue against it for my neighbors because I don’t want them to have to go through it either.”
At a Reidsville city hall meeting in late 2018, Peter and Elizabeth spoke to multiple local elected officials. “We were pretty much just blown off,” Peter says. “We just got the feeling that no matter what we say, [our representatives] won’t listen or do anything because it’s not affecting them.”
“They don’t care where they’re going, they already know they’re going and they don’t care,” Elizabeth says. “They don’t care about the communities, they don’t care about the people that live in them.” — By Kevin Ridder