When to Say NO

I’m sorry to focus so often lately on the intended assault on Floyd and other adjacent counties by the planned interstate 42 inch natural (fracked) gas pipeline that will stretch more than 300 miles from West Virginia to the North Carolina border of Virginia.

I will let the image express how the thought of such a thing disturbs all of us–not just our neighbors in direct line of the pipe. The current maps could bear no resemblance to the ultimate route, so we all stand at risk just now.

Here’s what a 42 inch pipe looks like going in. It would be excavated and blasted into a trench about 20 miles long from the north to the south boundary of Floyd County.

The blasting threat lies not only in the months of near or distant explosions and mini-earthquakes and flying rock and dust. That’s a relatively minor nuisance compared to the risk to our wells.

Up to a thousand feet either side of the blast, the flow of a farm or family well could be destroyed by changes to the rock fractures that hold our water underground. So that’s a swath 20 miles long and more than a quarter mile wide threatening both the quality and the quantity of our water, even as the forever-pipe is going in the ground.

Imagine this scar down the side of Alum Ridge or down the Blue Ridge Escarpment that plunges down towards Franklin County. Imagine it during five inches of rain from a tropical storm.

Our surface waters are at risk, too.

Please share this image off this site or get the larger image from Flickr and pass it along to anyone you know who is also concerned about the legacy of the land they pass along to their children.

Speaking of which–that inheritance may lose a lot of value if the old homeplace is bisected by this pipeline.  Would you be excited about an otherwise beautiful piece of land with a buried pipe-bomb underneath it? Insurance companies may not be excited about offering you an affordable homeowners policy. There’s a lot we’re not sure of yet.

And know that it’s not just this one pipe we are opposed to. It is the whole flawed old economics that says to do what keeps the shareholders happy–a failed relationship with the plant that fans the flames of illusory “unlimited growth.” Period. Shale gas is a brief but costly part of that delusion.

And in Southwest Virginia, we don’t want to be any part of it.


About fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

6 comments:

  1. Thank heavens the folks in Floyd County realize the threat to our water, our environment and our way of life and they are going to stand up and oppose this pipeline!

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