Residents say pipeline company left them in the dark
HANOVER, Va. (WRIC) – Allen Novak discovered the proposed pipeline the same way many residents of Hanover County did, through a letter from Chickahominy Pipeline, LLC requesting permission to survey his farm.
âWe received a letter in the mail from CPLLC based in Herndon, Va.,â Novak said.
Details provided in the letter are scarce. In a copy obtained by 8News, the company lists the five counties crossed by the project – Louisa, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Charles City – but does not provide any other information on the purpose of the pipeline or the details of its project. road.
The letter (above), provided to 8News by a recipient, says crews will seek permission to investigate in person if the resident does not grant permission by mail.
Novak said he had not returned anything to the company and that he did not plan to grant permission if they came knocking on the door. But in the meantime, he spoke to his neighbors and found that many of them – but not all – had received similar letters.
He says they reconstructed what they believed to be part of the road that CPLLC is interested in, passing straight through his farm and into a neighbor’s yard.
âIf you put one and one together, there’s a 10, 20 acre strip,â the pipeline could go through, he said. âThere’s this 40 acre parcel that got letters – most of the land to the west didn’t. “
âWe have a small family farm that depends on these 25 acres here,â Novak said.
And opposition to the pipeline is not limited to Hanover. Glenn Cox, a landowner in Henrico County, said he received a similar request from CPLLC for a plot of land near the county’s border with New Kent, just half a mile from the Chickahominy River.
“They said they would come and ask me in person between August 1 and October 1,” Cox said, adding that investigative teams had yet to appear.
He said he was particularly concerned about the proximity to the river, which could be particularly vulnerable to environmental hazards, “Part of it is a wetland – I have 30 acres off of Highway 60.”
And Novak made it clear that even if the crews were arriving, he had no intention of cooperating with the company.
âI plan to keep it for future generations,â he said. âMy land is not for sale.
A familiar fight
To members of Concerned Citizens of Charles City County, or C5 for short, the burgeoning fight against the Chickahominy Pipeline is familiar. The group, which formed in June 2019, originally had two potential gas plants to contend with in a county of just under 7,000.
One of the proposed plants, which is still under active development, is called the Chickahominy Power Plant and would be served by the proposed Chickahominy pipeline. The plant and pipeline are both associated with Balico, a limited liability company based in Herndon, Virginia.
Another unrelated project – the C4GT gas plant – sank amid opposition from the community and questions about its financial viability. The Virginia Mercury reported that the plant even met with opposition from Representative Donald McEachin, the congressman representing much of Southside Virginia.
But the C4GT plant did not have an associated multi-country pipeline project. And so, as more details emerged about the scope of Project Chickahominy, opposition grew not only in Charles City, but also in the other four counties that would be affected.
âWith any development, you want to have processes and protections for the community,â a C5 representative told 8News. âThe current trends in environmental injustice are evident with the approach of this development. “
Citizens Against Chickahominy Pipeline is one of the groups that has emerged specifically to tackle the most recent proposal. A key part of their message was the lack of transparency on the part of the company.
A major difference between the C4GT plant and the current Chickahominy power plant proposal is that the C4GT operating plan would have allowed them to purchase fuel from Virginia Natural Gas. As a result of this aspect of the plan, the company sought regulatory approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) – a step that required it to disclose many details of its plans in public documents.
Today, C5 and Citizens Against Chickahominy Pipeline, along with county governments, competing gas companies and national environmental organizations, are gearing up for a long regulatory battle before the CSC.
Balico, CPLLC and the companies ‘agent, Mr. Irfan K. Ali, did not respond to 8News’ request for comment.