Proposed gas pipeline worries Triangle residents
Posted June 5, 2014
Benson, N.C. — Area residents expressed concern Thursday about a proposal to extend a major natural gas pipeline through the Triangle.
Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas have teamed up on the pipeline and are seeking bids from companies to build and operate it for the two Charlotte-based utilities.
Duke and Piedmont said the growing demand for gas, both to supply customers and to power electric plants, necessitates a second pipeline to North Carolina. The first connects the state to the Gulf Coast, and they requested that the 20 bidders on the project provide them with geographic diversity in the source of the natural gas.
Houston-based Spectra Energy, which is competing to build the pipeline, has proposed a route from the shale gas hotbed in southwestern Pennsylvania through Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia. In North Carolina, Spectra's pipeline would cross Warren, Franklin, Wake, Johnston, Harnett and Cumberland counties before terminating in Robeson County.
Many local officials don't know anything about the project, however.
"I have not been contacted, and this morning I talked with six other mayors in Wake County. They have not been contacted," Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said.
But some Garner residents have. Spectra sent them letters providing background on the $4 billion project – it would carry enough gas to meet the annual needs of 4 million homes – and asking for permission to survey their land. Some live near major electric transmission lines.
Transmission lines also run near Marjorie Shahravar home outside Benson, and she said receiving letters from Spectra upset her.
"I'm not real comfortable with the process," Shahravar said, adding that she's more concerned about safety than about the impact of a pipeline across the wooded 10-acre property she and her husband have owned since 1991.
She said she shredded Spectra's latest letter.
"I shredded their permission slip," she said with a laugh. "I'm not going to willingly (participate)."
Bids for the Duke-Piedmont project are due next week, and the companies expect to select a contractor by the end of the year so the pipeline could be operational by 2018. Construction cannot begin, however, until the pipeline is authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Virginia-based Dominion Resources also is looking at building a gas pipeline from the Northeast through eastern North Carolina.