“We refused and later learned that MVP had changed the mainline route,” Katie says. “We thought we’d been spared.”Katie is no stranger to pipelines. Since her parents signed an easement for Transco, now Williams, in 1949, four gas pipelines and a fiber optic cable have been built in a 155-foot-wide swath through her family’s property. Twelve treeless acres dense with invasive species now sit where loblolly pines once stood. When the pipelines are pumping gas south, according to Katie, it sounds like a helicopter is flying nearby.
“We will never be fully compensated for the first gas line through our property,” she says. “Even one pipeline creates a utility corridor, which becomes the default route for more gas, electric, fiber optic and other lines.”
Katie says that the agent “assured us that once construction was complete and grass was growing, we wouldn’t even notice the right of way – an absurd statement. Our land is a tree farm.”
“We can reasonably ask how much of a burden a small group of landowners should bear for the public good,” Katie says. “Are four pipelines enough?”
She states that her family’s interactions with Southgate representatives have become “increasingly unpleasant.” When one called to discuss an easement in November 2018, they asked the agent to mail the easement for review.
Katie states that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines have made her “painfully aware that FERC does not adequately perform due diligence to establish ‘public need and convenience’ for pipelines.”
She adds, “Now it appears we are being asked to sacrifice for an unnecessary gas line so that a corporation can profit.” — By Kevin Ridder