Floyd County’s Ground Water Is Unique and Vulnerable
“Ground water is the source for all public water supplies serving Floyd County residents. Ground water supplies are divided into northwestern and southeastern sections according to the subsurface configuration and composition of the bedrock. Floyd County lacks true aquifers; it relies instead on water-filled fractures….the risks of contamination in any shallow wells are significant.” (written into law by Floyd County government.)
Fortunately, someone official at one point in time made the effort to preserve Floyd’s natural resources – considering things like our water source as important. After watching the disturbing documentary ‘Gasland’ a couple of nights ago, I was alarmed at the response of the gas and pipeline company’s when residents water supply was no longer drinkable, “Move!” they said. And their elected officials had been offered 6 figure salaries to go work for these same corporations.
Which is why I was thrilled to hear Karen Maute make this statement in an email last night, “Not only are you working to protect water for residential and farming use…You are working to protect Floyd County’s future growth and economic development. At present, it appears that Floyd Co. may have it’s human heath, agricultural productivity and future economic growth and development significantly, negatively impacted, more so than any other county in VA, due to…its unique and vulnerable water resources.”
Floyd water is special. It does not come from a deep protected aquifer miles under ground, may wells are considered shallow even if they are hundreds of feet. Our water runs into the rivers and streams of many counties downstream of us. We take that responsibility seriously. We don’t want to jeopardize anyone, in Floyd or any other county, with a risky pipeline project.
Folks in Floyd County have always protected our water supply. That’s why it’s so good and clean now. We understand that our children and grandchildren will be inheriting unique underground water sources, wells, and springs, which is the main reason we oppose the fracked gas pipeline project.
This is a continuation of Fred First’s previous article, Confluence: Water and the Pipeline, please read.
in a letter to the Roanoke Times (Posted in Commentary on Saturday, September 27, 2014 2:00 am. )
By Jeff Walker
Walker lives in Floyd County
Business reporters from The Roanoke Times or other media might give greater consideration to the public’s concern and need for coverage of pipeline routing, construction and operation proposals. Landowners and localities whose property is threatened with condemnation are entitled to the objective analysis of economic benefit, compensation for taking and use of property, including protection of resources, or mitigation planning against unintended or inevitable damage.
In the event a route is proposed, an objective Federal Environmental Impact Statement will be requested by communities along the route. An EIS requires that prospective impacts be understood and disclosed in advance. The EIS reports on the purpose, affected environment and range of alternatives, and analyzes the impacts of each of the alternative solutions.
It also determines whether there are insurmountable impacts to threatened or endangered species, air and water quality, historic and cultural sites, and reports on social and economic impacts to local communities. And finally, the issues are laid bare with a cost analysis.
There is no history of a pipeline of the Mountain Valley’s capacity crossing the full width of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Evaluation must be predicated upon the consortium’s retention of a reputable and objective firm to report upon the engineering challenges, risks and attributes of an easement route. Despite FERC’s 2002 approval of Dominion’s Greenbriar proposal, contractual obligations were not sufficient to support construction. Ironically, FERC heard criticism of that market analysis prior to rendering approval.
An EIS should be subject to a period of review, rebuttal or comment by the public, who are entitled to consider information and access a reliable process of arbitration to settle any conflicting claims.
Citizens have more questions than answers: How are easements valued? Does compensation to working lands accrue over the short or long term? Do pipelines pay tolls on product conveyed across private property? Do localities tax pipeline infrastructure, product, real estate, personal or business property? May the commonwealth tax revenue of an out-of-state joint venture or holding company? Who pays local taxes for land under easement? Who is liable for damages caused by construction or accident? Are pipeline owners or contractors required to post bond or other commitments to enforce contract provisions?
The General Assembly enacted legislation in 2004 granting rights of entry onto private land to utilities with certain requirements. However, the voters endorsed a state constitutional amendment in 2012 changing the eminent domain process to provide landowners protection from private takings. In light of these powers, does the State Corporation Commission have a voice, or is this solely a federal process?
FERC does not require a pipeline to propose local service, nor is this aspect sufficient to warrant a finding that the pipeline is in the public interest.
Local distribution is not well understood; is this a profit-driven investment? Is there a break-even analysis? In the case of distribution taps serving Carroll or Pulaski County, were public funds granted or loaned to offset capital costs?
Floyd County’s population does not have natural gas service, and while some suggest gas might serve an industrial or commercial customer, the cost of developing the tap is rumored to be greater than a public or private utility could amortize on economic merit. The entire population does rely upon well water; is there any comparison with economics of public water distribution?
The public would be well served by research and reporting of conflicting interests, data and statements.
That is the American way: State your business, present your offer and establish that you are diligent and are entitled to develop your interests without damaging others.
We are counting on the media to provide substantial, informed and accurate reporting on these important issues.
- October 14 –Joe Waldo, a lawyer specializing in eminent domain, will visit Floyd. You can come see him—and ask questions – at the Floyd County High School at 7 PM.
- October 28 at 7 PM – Representatives from EQT will be attending the Floyd County Board of Supervisors meeting. The meeting will be held at the Floyd County High School Auditorium.
- Between now and October 28, citizens are encouraged to come to the Floyd Artisan’s Market on Fridays from 5-7 PM to create signs, sing songs and practice for the spectacle we’d like to present to EQT as they roll into town.
For those of you who want to help, we want you to know that there’s a lot you CAN do to help! One thing EVERYONE can do is to talk to your friends & neighbors. And if you have some more time…
1 Minute Task
Social Media (facebook etc) Like us on Facebook, share a message, link or image that gets the word out about how dangerous this pipeline would be to our community.
15 Minute Task
Write a Letter to the Editor – our newspaper is willing to publish your opinion and our community needs to hear from more than one person. Here are some Guidelines.
25 Minute Task
Write a Letter to a Political Official – these days letters make more of a statement than emails, but either works. Use our Letter Writing Toolkit to help you draft an short, simple, yet effective letter in no time.
1 Hour + Tasks
Man a Booth, Come to an Event, Join a Committee – your participation is vital, the more bodies present at an event the better. Contact us to participate.
A wonderful picture of Nahko and Medicine for the People holding our sign. The stories they told about pipeline projects, fracking and polluted water in many different parts of the country were heartbreaking and resonant. We’re grateful for the support and for all the connections we made at Floyd Yoga Jam.
Feel Free to Share These Images on your favorite social media outlet.