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Western VA Landowner Warns Residents How To Prep For Pipeline Projects

Chatham, VA - Three natural gas pipelines have gotten a lot of attention in our region in recent months. As a new study comes out on one of them, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, Pittsylvania County and local residents are trying to grasp what this could mean for them."It is devastation and it is a corporate industrial move," says Laurie Ardison.

It's a comment from Ardison, a landowner on the much-discussed Mountain Valley Pipeline. It's an issue many brought up Friday night.

"We have 120 landowners who are facing this issue. It's not only them, it's the entire county," said Anne Cockrell of Piedmont Residents in Defense of the Environment. "Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? We need more information."The project would go through West Virginia and Pittsylvania, Roanoke, Franklin, Montgomery and Giles Counties."We're able to take that vast supply of natural gas that we have here in our region and transport it down in where there is growing demand in the southeastern part of the US," said Natalie Cox, Corporate Dir. Of Communication for EQT Corporation."Michael Yates is the Commissioner of the Revenue for Dickenson County in western Virginia.What's his fight in this project? Apparently none, except there's a pipeline that runs through his backyard."When I bought the property that I own that the pipeline was on, I wasn't aware at the time," said Yates.Yates says a few years after learning he had a pipeline on his land, a representative from the company came to his house needing to replace part of the old line. Without reading the agreement, he signed the dotted line and took money. Then the headaches started. He says contractors would park trailers in his yard, leaving his place in disarray.At a meeting with Pittsylvania County residents on Thursday he provided a few points to consider if the pipeline comes. Among them, Yates says "don't accept a standard agreement; don't accept a hybrid agreement prepared solely by the pipeline company; expect to pay for a good attorney's services; don't accept excuses for poor work or behavior and make that known in the beginning; require the pipeline companies and contractors to provide reasonably valued performance bonds to the landowner as a part of the contract.""I think it's probably in the immediate future that were going to have to look at natural gas pipelines and convey them as best we can," said Yates.According to Yates, the real estate tax rate dropped $.07 per $100 of value in the past four years. As far as safety, he says, "I never had a safety issue. I'm not aware of anything."

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