Gas line construction tearing up yards across Johnston
Posted February 8, 2012
Clayton, N.C. — Some Johnston County homeowners feel a clean-energy project for Progress Energy isn't exactly eco-friendly for them.
Piedmont Natural Gas is building a 38-mile gas line across the county to deliver natural gas from a facility in Clayton to a new Progress Energy power plant near Goldsboro. The plant is part of the Raleigh-based utility's plans to cut pollution by replacing coal-fired generating plants with facilities powered by natural gas.
Lois Weeks said she fears that she might not have much of her property left after crews finish burying the 20-inch gas pipeline across her yard. She said she and her late husband always wanted to keep the yard of their home of 50 years green.
"We always left it just as it was, and then the state (Department of Transportation) came in and put the bypass on this side of our property and took all that," said Weeks, who lives near the intersection of the U.S. Highway 70 Bypass and N.C. Highway 42.
Weeks said she agrees with the idea of cleaner energy, but not at the cost of her property. Piedmont Natural Gas compensated property owners for access to their land, but she and another homeowner said they didn't feel like they had much of a choice.
"It's terrible," Weeks said, looking over her torn-up yard. "(It's not worth it) in my eyes because I like nature just as it is."
Piedmont Natural Gas spokeswoman Loree Elswick said large gas pipelines are often built across private property. Construction began in December and is expected to be finished in June, she said.
"We have reached agreement with many property owners to acquire rights-of-way needed for the pipeline at a price consistent with fair market value, and we have provided in good faith the same opportunity to all landowners along the proposed route,” Elswick said in a statement.
Weeks said she hopes her grass will grow back after the gas line is buried, but Piedmont Natural Gas representatives told her that trees won't be able to grow near the line.