Local News

Natural gas pipeline concerns some in Nashville

Posted September 22, 2014 10:32 p.m. EDT

— When it comes to a proposed natural gas pipeline through eastern North Carolina, Ronald Bunn sees its path as more than a line through a map.

“It is a lot of trouble for this to come through my property,” he said.

Bunn was at a public meeting in Nashville Monday night to question a plan by Duke Energy and Virginia-based Dominion Resources to build the $5 billion pipeline, which would run parallel to Interstate 95.

"Our plan is to find the best route with the least impact to the environment and cultural and historical resources," said Frank Mack, a Dominion spokesperson.

The 550-mile pipeline would deliver natural gas from fracking operations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to some of the state’s most economically distressed rural counties.

It would also bring construction jobs and an economic boost for the region, Mack said.

The project still requires federal and state approval. If approved, it could be operational by late 2018.

“We are confident we can do it the right way,” he said.

Dominion is sharing its plan through a series of public meetings this week. A similar gathering was also held at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke Monday night.

Other meetings will be held at the Holiday Inn Fayetteville I-95 south and at The Centre at Halifax Community College in Weldon on Tuesday, and at the Johnston County Agricultural Center in Smithfield on Thursday.

In addition to Nash, seven other counties – Cumberland, Halifax, Johnston, Northampton, Robeson, Sampson and Wilson – would be affected by the project.

Monday’s meeting was the second in Nash County. Residents in Red Oak worried last week that the proposed pipeline could reduce property values, threaten water supplies and pose environmental risks.

Nashville residents shared similar concerns, which Mack, the Dominion spokesperson, said would be resolved through working with local authorities.

Kirby Brown, mayor of Dortches, believes the pipeline may be a positive thing for the area – depending on how close residents live to it.

“I am not totally against it. I think it is going to be a good thing,” he said.

For Bunn, the pipeline would run through 3.5 acres of his land, where he just planted hardwoods as a future investment.

“Are they going to move the pipeline for that,” he asked.

Bunn also wondered if the company would pay instead. He didn’t get an answer.