When To Say No



I’m sorry to focus so often lately on the intended assault on Floyd and other adjacent counties by the planned interstate 42 inch natural (fracked) gas pipeline that will stretch more than 300 miles from West Virginia to the North Carolina border of Virginia.

I will let the image express how the thought of such a thing disturbs all of us–not just our neighbors in direct line of the pipe. The current maps could bear no resemblance to the ultimate route, so we all stand at risk just now.

Here’s what a 42 inch pipe looks like going in. It would be excavated and blasted into a trench about 20 miles long from the north to the south boundary of Floyd County.

The blasting threat lies not only in the months of near or distant explosions and mini-earthquakes and flying rock and dust. That’s a relatively minor nuisance compared to the risk to our wells.

Up to a thousand feet either side of the blast, the flow of a farm or family well could be destroyed by changes to the rock fractures that hold our water underground. So that’s a swath 20 miles long and more than a quarter mile wide threatening both the quality and the quantity of our water, even as the forever-pipe is going in the ground.

Imagine this scar down the side of Alum Ridge or down the Blue Ridge Escarpment that plunges down towards Franklin County. Imagine it during five inches of rain from a tropical storm.

Our surface waters are at risk, too.

Please share this image off this site or get the larger image from Flickr and pass it along to anyone you know who is also concerned about the legacy of the land they pass along to their children.

Speaking of which–that inheritance may lose a lot of value if the old homeplace is bisected by this pipeline.  Would you be excited about an otherwise beautiful piece of land with a buried pipe-bomb underneath it? Insurance companies may not be excited about offering you an affordable homeowners policy. There’s a lot we’re not sure of yet.

And know that it’s not just this one pipe we are opposed to. It is the whole flawed old economics that says to do what keeps the shareholders happy–a failed relationship with the plant that fans the flames of illusory “unlimited growth.” Period. Shale gas is a brief but costly part of that delusion.

And in Southwest Virginia, we don’t want to be any part of it.

From Fred’s blog, Fragments From Floyd


Citizens Preserving Floyd County Tables Tonight at Crosby Stills and Nash Concert

Deepest of appreciation to the Guacamole Fund for providing Citizens Preserving Floyd County with the opportunity to engage in outreach tonight at the Crosby Stills and Nash concert in Roanoke. 

“We are a tax exempt, public charity that has been helping to coordinate events for organizations that work in the public interest since 1974. We focus on supporting grass roots activities, with education, outreach, networking and funding, in the areas of the environment and wildlife, social change, peace with justice, energy and a non nuclear future.”



Group rallies opposition to gas pipeline through Floyd County

Posted: Friday, August 15, 2014 4:45 pm

A united community and region pack enough push-back to defeat or at least significantly temper corporate plans to route an interstate high-pressure natural gas pipeline through Floyd County and neighboring counties in Southwest and Southside Virginia.

That was the theme Thursday night of a meeting hosted by Citizens Preserving Floyd County. More than 200 people attended the gathering at Floyd EcoVillage to discuss concerns about the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Blacksburg resident Elizabeth McCommon, a veteran of battles with energy utilities, told the crowd that a regional effort would be required to ensure the pipeline’s defeat. She said she would reach out to potential allies in the New River Valley.

Discussion Thursday night focused on the county’s vulnerable groundwater, property owners’ options when surveyors want access to their land, safety and other topics.

Jerry Boothe, a former member of the county’s board of supervisors, said easements previously sold to Dominion during the utility’s ultimately unsuccessful bid a decade ago to build a natural gas pipeline through Floyd and other counties could be transferred to other companies. The company ultimately abandoned plans to build the Greenbrier Pipeline after failing to secure enough customers for the pipeline’s gas.

Frank Mack, a spokesman for Dominion Transmission, a Dominion subsidiary, confirmed Friday that “any valid easements that we paid in full could be sold and assigned to an interested company or individual.”

News coverage in 2005 reported that few such easements had been sold in Floyd County.

Meanwhile, Mara Robbins, acting director of the recently organized Citizens Preserving Floyd County, said the campaign to block the pipeline has attracted some of the “most sharply focused minds in the county,” people with passion, energy and commitment to preserve the county’s quality of life.

EQT Corp., based in Pennsylvania, and NextEra Energy, based in Florida, announced plans in June to seek customers for a 330-mile pipeline that would transport natural gas from West Virginia to a delivery point in Pittsylvania County.

Robbins elicited applause from Thursday night’s crowd when she recounted a conversation she said she’d had with an employee of EQT about the proposed routing of the pipeline through seven counties in Virginia.

Robbins said she told the woman that “Floyd County was going to be a very complicated piece of the puzzle” for EQT and NextEra’s joint venture. And that observation seemed valid last night as Floyd residents who had come back to the land or never left it described strong ties to the county’s scenic beauty and agricultural heritage and determination to block the pipeline.

One focus of Thursday’s meeting was water and the potential for groundwater contamination.

Floyd County’s comprehensive plan notes that the county’s location along the Blue Ridge Plateau means that water flows out of the county and not in. The county includes tributaries of the New River and headwater streams for several rivers, including the Roanoke River, according to the comprehensive plan.

The plan notes that Floyd County “lacks true aquifers” but relies instead on water-filled fractures that can be vulnerable to contamination.

“Water is probably our biggest concern right now,” Robbins said.

Safety concerns also received attention Thursday night.

Gini Cooper, who played a role in opposing the Greenbrier Pipeline, said Thursday night that a high-pressure natural gas pipeline in Floyd County could pose significant safety risks and overwhelm regional fire departments and other emergency responders.

A so far undetermined number of county landowners have received letters from a right-of-way acquisition contractor working for EQT and NextEra. The letter notifies the landowner that their property is located within a survey corridor for the pipeline and reports that they will be contacted for permission to survey the land.

Earlier this week a spokeswoman for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said property owners have no legal obligation to allow such surveyors on their property.

But Boothe noted Thursday that Virginia law allows surveyors for natural gas companies to work on private property without a landowner’s permission if specific notification requirements have been met.

Jane Cundiff, a county landowner who has received notice that her property is in the survey corridor, advised others in the same boat to use a camera and notes to document surveyors’ time on their land.

Fred First serves on two committees for Citizens Preserving Floyd County. He told Thursday’s crowd to prepare for “an environmental confrontation of epic proportions.”

McCommon and others stressed that organizing opposition quickly and raising money for the long haul — to hire attorneys, to pay Robbins for her time and more — would be key elements as the campaign to block the pipeline proceeds.

EQT and NextEra have said the pipeline will help meet growing demand for natural gas as a cleaner alternative to coal for power generation. As envisioned, the gas pumped through the pipeline will have been extracted from Marcellus and Utica shale formations through hydraulic fracturing, a process often referred to as “fracking.”




Landowners are encouraged to express concerns

If you are a landowner affected by this pipeline proposal, consider stating your concerns at the Floyd County Board of Supervisors meeting tomorrow morning at 8:30 AM. It would be good to make them a matter of public record. You will only have 4 minutes to speak, but if you bring a written statement it will be duly recorded even if you cannot read it within the 4 minute time period allotted.

Our local government has been very attentive to our concerns and are taking the situation seriously. Please be respectful and thank them for their service and their support.

“Regular meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 8:30 am and the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm in the Board Room of the County Administration Building, 120 West Oxford Street, Floyd. Adjourned or special called meetings are scheduled when necessary. All meetings are open to the public. A Public Comment Period is held at each regular meeting.”




Community Meeting Regarding Pipeline Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 7 PM


Citizens Preserving Floyd County (CPFC) will hold an important community educational outreach meeting on Thursday, August 14, 2014 to provide new details about the Mountain-Valley pipeline. This 42 inch interstate natural gas transport has been proposed by two energy corporations, EQT and Next Era, to cut across our county.  The meeting will begin at 7:00 PM at the Floyd Ecovillage. It is located at 718 Franklin Pike Rd, Floyd, VA.

Anyone interested in the information we have gathered regarding this pipeline is welcome. It is our intention to support our community by making all known details and response options available to all at this public meeting.  We especially urge county landowners whose property rights may be involved to attend.

A report on how our local government is supporting citizens’ concerns will be presented.  There will be an opportunity to find out how you can help preserve the water, farmland soils, scenic beauty and environmental health of Floyd County. Signs opposing the construction of the pipeline will be available.


Calling all landowners to the next Floyd County BOS meeting

The last Floyd County Board of Supervisors meeting was held on July 22. The next meeting will be Tuesday, August 12. There was a strong showing at the last meeting and we hope that there will be a strong showing at the next one, though it may be more difficult since it is held in the morning.

Read the report here: http://www.swvatoday.com/news/floyd/article_d1ce56f4-13f7-11e4-beac-001a4bcf6878.html

It is especially important for landowners to voice their concerns at this juncture and ideally, to provide a written statement to the board which will be entered into public record.

“Regular meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 8:30am and the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:00pm in the Board Room of the County Administration Building, 120 West Oxford Street, Floyd. Adjourned or special called meetings are scheduled when necessary. All meetings are open to the public. A Public Comment Period is held at each regular meeting.” From: http://www.floydcova.org/government/board_of_supervisors.shtml

carol at bos meeting



Not in my headwaters

You’ll be hearing this a lot: NIMH. 

Not in my headwaters. 

Floyd County’s ecosystem is especially unique and sensitive because of our water table. We are on the Eastern Continental Divide. No water flows into the county. But the springs and streams that originate here feed three watersheds: the Upper Roanoke, the Upper New and the Upper Dan. These watersheds feed 28 counties and four metropolitan areas. They cover over 10,000 miles of waterways.

Pollution to the streams in Floyd from blasting during construction of this pipeline could affect everyone’s water–it is all interconnected. And a rupture or accident of any kind would be devastating, not just to us but to everyone downstream.

We are not simply saying “not in my back yard.”

We’re saying:


“Water will be a high-level concern when considering the possible long-term impacts of the proposed Mountain Valley pipeline across Floyd County. Our Blue Ridge geology presents unique uncertainties and known risks from groundwater contamination.”
water in floyd


WDBJ Covers FloydCo Supervisors Pipeline Issue

“Floyd County residents oppose preliminary plan for natural gas pipeline” reads the headline.

The subtitle, I’d have stated otherwise: “Plan would likely require digging a ditch through entire county.”


There is far more to the issue than the digging of a ditch, but thanks very much to Channel 7 for being present in Floyd last night.

There’s a short video at the site. Click the LINK and check it out. 

And add your name to the sign-up form on this web site to be informed of upcoming meetings, fast-breaking news and more.