Atlantic Coast Pipeline – What you can do

As you’re aware, Dominion Resources plans to construct a huge 550-mile long, 42” diameter, high pressure, natural gas transmission pipeline known as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) through the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Rockfish Valley. It will create a swath of 125 feet or more across the mountains and valleys we love—about the width of the interstate highway! It has the potential to affect ground water and the potential for explosions will put our families at risk.

The RVF opposes the current proposed routes, and we are confident that each of you shares our concern for preserving the safety, natural beauty, the environment and tourism- based economy of Nelson County.
What can you do to help? We suggest four simple, but effective steps:

  1. Join, support and financially contribute to the Friends of Nelson; their web site is excellent with the latest news and full of information.

  2. Write to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and express your concerns (Click here for background information on writing to FERC) and ask them to require a smarter route. FERC address is:

    Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
    888 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20426
  3. Write/email to your legislators:

    Representative Robert Hurt
    125 Cannon HOB
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-4711 /Fax: (202) 225-5681

    ~ For comments:

    Senator Mark Warner
    475 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510
    Phone: 202-224-2023Fax: 202-224-6295

    ~ For comments:

    Senator Tim Kaine
    388 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510
    Phone: (202) 224-4024
    Fax: (202) 228-6363

    ~ For comments:

  4. Write/email to at least four members of Dominion’s Board of Directors expressing your concern:

    Thomas F. Farrell II
    9019 Norwick Rd.
    Henrico, VA 23229

    John W. Harris
    4725 Piedmont Row Drive
    Suite 800
    Charlotte, NC 28210

    Helen E. Dragas
    4538 Bonney Road
    Virginia Beach, VA 23462

    Robert H. Spillman
    3525 Fairystone Park Hwy.
    PO Box 626
    Bassett, Virginia 24055

    Mark J. Kingston
    201 North Union St # 300
    Alexandria, VA 22314

    Peter W. Brown
    417 Libbie Avenue
    Richmond, VA 23226

    Adm. James O. Ellis
    Hoover Institution in Washington
    The Johnson Center
    1399 New York Avenue NW, Suite 500
    Washington, DC 20005

    Pamela J. Royal
    7229 Forest Avenue, Suite 100
    Richmond, Virginia 23226

    Michael E. Szymanczyk
    Dominion Resources, Inc.
    P.O. Box 26532
    Richmond VA 23261-6532

    David A. Wollard
    Dominion Resources, Inc.
    P.O. Box 26532
    Richmond VA 23261-6532

    William P. Barr
    Dominion Resources, Inc.
    P.O. Box 26532
    Richmond VA 23261-6532

Think of the impact if all families opposed to the current pipeline plan were to write FERC, all legislators, and just two or three Dominion directors?


First, make sure they see your letter so that it gets past his/her secretary. Type “PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL” on the outside of the envelope. Keep the right tone. Your letter should be polite and respectful. No one will want to respond positively if you are rude or impolite.
Now what is key to communicating your feelings about the pipeline?
First, it is best to not appear anti-pipeline (such as NO PIPELINE). It is better to be for a SMART PIPELINE. What is a smart pipeline? Do you know that there are already utility right-of-ways, and other pipelines—areas where the new Dominion pipeline could be located? Ask the board and the legislators to insist on routes where utilities or other pipelines are already located. Indicate that you know this could cost more, but these routes will not permanently scar the Blue Ridge and the associated environment. Locating in a community that is welcoming to such a pipeline and accustomed to projects like this will be allow them to implement the pipeline project in a timely fashion as opposed to attempting in a community where legal challenges may the only recourse people have to protect their home.

In formulating your arguments, you can cut and paste some of the following sentences from the Dominion website section on governance:

“At Dominion, we strive to be responsible citizens, exemplary environmental stewards, ethical business people and friendly neighbors. Dominion’s legacy as a public service corporation instills pride in our employees and an awareness of our special responsibility to be a good corporate neighbor and to enrich community life.
Environmental stewardship is embedded in Dominion’s culture and core values. Failure to meet our environmental commitments could result in damage to the environment and to the company’s reputation….If you become aware of a situation or practice that you suspect or know is harmful to the environment, or does not comply with the company’s environmental policies or with governing laws, rules and regulations, you have a duty to report the matter to the company.”

Tell them how important the following are to the local economy, as well as your personal reasons for living here:

Products produced here are ingested by consumers (wineries, breweries, cider producers, distillers, agricultural goods, livestock).
Tourists, including skiers, golfers, hikers, birders and concert-goers are attracted to the areas because of the natural, pristine environment.
Retirees are attracted here because of the natural beauty, amenities, and comfortable environment

All of the above make the Rockfish Valley particularly susceptible to the effects of a pipeline in the Valley, and, make no mistake—a buried pipeline will require cleared land for 125 feet or more around the pipeline.
Whatever you say, try to get people to understand that the Blue Ridge area is a national treasure. Do you think for one minute that they would build a pipeline going along the floor of the Grand Canyon? Across the Napa Valley in California? Traversing Mt. Rushmore? Nantucket friends and residents successfully fought a wind farm that would have scarred their landscape forever. In a similar spirit, let’s keep the pipeline out of the Blue Ridge, except for existing utility right-of-ways.

In all your communications tell others that the Blue Ridge/Rockfish Valley is of great importance to your family and ask them to consider alternatives using existing utility easements and rights-of-way. Again, be respectful, polite, and rational in your arguments. At the end, thank them for considering your request.

Thanks for helping RVF in this important project.