Future pipelines to be discussed at town hall

NORFOLK — Berkley and South Norfolk residents have the opportunity Wednesday (Aug. 29) to discuss and voice concerns about the construction of two pipelines.

The town hall is from 6 – 8 p.m. at First Baptist Church in NorfolkRefreshments will be offered from 5 – 6 p.m.

Grassroots organizations and nonprofits are joining local residents to host speakers and “open and honest discussion” regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Southside Connector Pipeline, according to a Chesapeake Pipeline Resistance news release.

Community members’ primary concerns about the proposed infrastructure, according to the news release, include “safety from potential blasts and leakages” as well as climate change resulting from continued reliance on fossil fuels.

The proposed 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline will cover West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

The 9-mile Southside Connector Pipeline is slated to run through Norfolk and Chesapeake. It will work in tandem with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to carry natural gas to the area.

According to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline website, there’s an urgent need for natural gas services in Virginia and North Carolina.

It claims environmental benefits from the project such as “improved air quality” and “lower emissions.”

Mothers Out Front, one organization involved with the town hall, challenges those claims.

“There is a large supply of gas in the Marcellus fracking fields, so the fossil fuel industry wants to create demand, whether or not it is needed,” according to the group’s website. “There has been no notice or proof that this pipeline is necessary.”

The volunteer group equated the associated emissions from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to the state’s six largest coal facilities.

Mothers Out Front insists that local consumers of natural gas will bear the cost of the infrastructure through raised energy bills and that African-American communities will be disproportionately affected by many negative aspects of the pipelines.

Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a nonprofit also partnered in organizing the town hall, voiced concern on their website for some Virginia and West Virginia mountain ridgelines, saying they will be reduced with explosives to accommodate the project.

The Southside Connector is expected to be completed in late 2018. The Atlantic Coast has construction planned into 2019.

For more information about Wednesday’s town hall, contact Ann Creasy at 757-797-6349 or tidewatercommunitymedia@gmail.com.

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