January, 20, 2015
To the Editor, The Intermountain
The Board of Directors of the Shavers Fork Coalition has significant concerns relating to the routing of the proposed Dominion Resources Atlantic Coast Pipeline through the Shavers Fork Valley. We believe that this particular route would have significant negative impacts on the watershed both during the construction phase and long afterwards and we cannot envision any route across the Shavers Fork valley that would not involve similar negative impacts.
The pipeline will inescapably damage the Shavers Fork fishery during the construction phase due to sediment problems. The popular Fish For Fun section of the river lies immediately downstream of the proposed river crossing and also just below the entry of Blister Run, which will likely receive considerable sediment both during and after construction activities. This stretch of the Shavers Fork is listed by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources as one of six favorite trout waters of the state.
Dominion has had numerous incidents of slope failure and stream sediment pollution associated with its G-150 pipeline project in West Virginia’s northern panhandle. Between 2012 and 2014 the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection issued eight notices of violation and experienced a great deal of difficulty in getting both information and co-operation from Dominion.
There is no economic upside to this project for the people who own property in the Shavers Fork Valley or for those who utilize the Shavers Fork watershed for recreational purposes. Few if any local jobs will be created, even during the construction phase, and the project will threaten the fragile recreation and tourism industry that is currently developing in the area.
Construction of the pipeline segment that runs immediately beside the road between Cheat Bridge and the crest of Back Allegheny Mountain will congest, and for some periods perhaps close US Route 250. This will represent a hardship for residents of Durbin, Frank, Bartow, Greenbank and other communities as they travel northward to get to Elkins or elsewhere for jobs, shopping, schools, and medical services.
The Shavers Fork Coalition recognizes the economic necessity of pipelines and does not oppose them on general principle. However, because of their rugged topography, numerous high quality headwater streams and numerous cavernous limestone areas, the Allegheny Mountains and the Valley and Ridge sections of the Virginias constitute a region that presents numerous and significant challenges to environmentally sound pipeline construction.
It is the opinion of the Shavers Fork Coalition that a pipeline of this size and scope will almost certainly involve unacceptable negative impacts within a region that contains some of the best remaining wild lands and high quality streams left in the eastern United States. It is therefore a region that should be avoided entirely by this or any similar project.
The Shavers Fork Coalition is an organization consisting of mostly local individuals who are dedicated to promoting and protecting the unique qualities of the Shavers Fork River and its watershed.
James Van Gundy
Vice President of the Shavers Fork Coalition
Shavers Fork Coalition
P.O. Box 2777
Elkins, WV 26241
(304)-637-2455 or (304)-636-4736