What You Need to Know About Pipeline Open Houses vs Scoping Meetings


By Wil and Angela Stanton
Preserve the New River Valley
December 15, 2014

EQT/NextEra will be hosting its mandated Open Houses beginning tonight in Gretna. Open Houses, while positioned as ways for the pipeline company to “engage” with the local community, are really held to convince citizens that the pipeline is a good thing and for the companies to learn as much as they can about the issues “on the ground” so they can use these to their advantage for their filing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Scoping meetings are held by FERC later in the process and are primarily focused on the environmental impacts of the proposed pipeline.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed! For more information on the Open Houses and Scoping Meetings, please Read the Article


  1. Patti Chlepas says

    Water, precious life-giving, fresh, precarious water is at the heart of a matter that should be near and dear to the hearts of all living people. For water is vital to life. As a young woman, I was greatly influenced by my grandfather, who was a naturalist ahead of his time. He read books by the likes of Rachel Carson, and worked throughout his life to preserve the natural environment. Following in his footsteps I’ve always had a huge love of the natural environment, preferring to spend time in the peace and silence of a wooded hillside beside a mountain stream to dining in a 4 star restaurant. Following this love of natural environment, my husband and I moved to a verdant and clean mountain county in the southern Appalachian mountains of Eastern West Virginia. Our largely rural community in Monroe County does not have a single traffic light. What it does have however is plenty of fresh clean water.

    As a geologist who spent my undergraduate years studying groundwater, and the affects of many elements upon our nation’s aquifers; I was enchanted by the untouched, fresh and peaceful environment of this lovely, southern WV County at the very top of the continental divide. The aquifers here are unique in that they are part of Karst topography. This means that there are countless underground channels carved of the predominant limestone feeding the area’s wells. According to the Indian Creek Watershed Association, there are both advantages and disadvantages of living in a Karst region. Water in our region is abundant, and our aquifers are rapidly recharged by surface water that flows readily into the underground channels. There is a free-flowing spring coming out of a tiny “Shangri La” valley of moss and age-old trees behind our home. This undisturbed fresh water spring is one of the main reasons that my husband and I fell in love with the piece of land that we call home.

    On the downside however Karst is at an extreme disadvantage in that the underground channels are rapidly affected by any change in toxins or contaminants in the surface or subsurface water. As a result of this danger, people whose drinking water comes from a well many miles from a surface or subsurface contaminant can be immediately affected. For this reason, it is unthinkable that a private company should be allowed to place a pipeline in this environmentally sensitive area. EQT and NEXTERA Energy are proposing to put a high pressure 42” pipeline right through the center of this environmentally sensitive region. This pipeline will require disruption of both surface and subsurface water channels that will likely affect nearly everyone in its path. It is likely to make our water completely undrinkable.

    It would be one thing if this pipeline was to have a lasting positive impact on our country as a hole, however it will not. On the contrary, the companies who propose to bring these pipelines through the sensitive region are doing it solely for personal gain. According to the laws of Eminent Domain, the government may not condemn private property for private use, however that is precisely what EQT and Next Era Energy are proposing. They are hoping to move large amounts of natural gas at high pressure to transfer stations in the coastal regions so that this gas can then be shipped overseas. Not only will this NOT benefit Americans, it will immediately cause our own national gas prices to increase.

    Perhaps the most compelling argument against allowing this natural gas pipeline to be built is the dangerous nature of the project. EQT has a terrible track record up to this point, with currently as many as 4 explosions per week along its length of pipeline. More than 80 of these explosions have caused fires, deaths, and over 1 billion in lost personal property. It is my understanding as a tax-paying American citizen that I still have rights. I have the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I have the right to purchase land, and build a home on it. I have the right to protect the environment in the area that I live. As Americans, we love to extol the virtues of our young men and women who go off to fight on foreign soil to protect American rights. These young men and women fight in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to protect our soil. However, when the enemy comes from within the borders of our own country, who is there to protect us?

    Who can protect us from corporate greed? Who can protect our children from private companies who can take away our very land, fresh drinking water, and fresh air to fulfill their own personal agendas? As an elementary school teacher I like to teach children that their voices make a difference. I like to teach them that we are living in a great free country. However, if there are private entities that can take away our land, take away our fresh water, and expose us to countless carcinogenic toxins to fulfill their own selfish agendas what does that say about the country in which we live?

    I’m imploring those of you at the Federal Environmental Regulatory Commission who have the ability to make a difference to deny EQT’s application for this 42” pipeline. Not only is it wrong for our area. It is wrong! It is simply wrong anywhere. It is unthinkable that it should be built.


    Patti Chlepas, Elementary Teacher
    RR1, Box 37
    Lindside, WV 24951

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