Atlantic Coast Pipeline Threatens Shenandoah River

The proposed construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would impact the headwaters of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.

Earlier this spring, Dominion asked the Virginia Outdoors Foundation to abandon its stewardship role on 10 protected private properties (totaling 4,567 acres) in western Virginia to make way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. This is a transmission line to get fracked gas out of Pennsylvania and West Virginia and ship it down to North Carolina and Portsmouth, Virginia. If constructed, this pipeline will traverse the South River, one of two rivers that join up down by Waynesboro to form the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.

We are opposed to the construction of the pipeline because we do not believe it can be built without hurting the habitat of a number of endangered species including the Virginia Big-Eared bat and the habitat of several other species by fragmenting the forest, isolating populations and increasing forest edge that threaten the survival of these species. This fragmentation also promotes invasive species and the spread of disease in the George Washington National Forest.

Finally, sedimentation caused by construction could threaten the water quality especially those of special concern such as native brook trout streams and the headwater streams that supply the water used by the Shenandoah Valley as well as destroying what makes the Shenandoah Valley so beautiful and special.

In its 50 year history, Virginia Outdoors Foundation has only granted such diversions 14 times. These tend to be very small acreages for projects that are clearly in the public interest, such as a sliver of land for VDOT to create a turning lane or replace a dangerous bridge.

Dominion has gone too far with this unprecedented request. Virginia Outdoors Foundation should not be asked to allow destruction of conservation values on these properties and risk damaging its relationship with current and future easement landowners to build an unneeded pipeline that offers no local benefits and puts special cultural and ecological landscapes at risk.

Learn more from our partners: Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance

Join a march for clean water & clean energy on July 23 in Richmond.