Residents in Chesapeake community protest proposed gas line

Protesters out in Chesapeake Aug. 16, 2017, voicing their opposition to a 24 inch gas pipeline. Credit: WAVY/Andy Fox.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The message was heard loud and clear on Providence Road Wednesday in Chesapeake: About 100 protesters said no to the Virginia Natural Gas pipeline.

“We don’t want a pipeline here. We love our homes so dear. We don’t want no pipeline here,” the protesters chanted.

The gas company wants to build a nine-mile pipeline.

“It’s going to come right down this line here,” Alice Alston said as she pointed to a line of trees in her backyard. “It’s not just about companies making money. What they call a direct route, you are hurting people. There are schools here. We can’t have that in our neighborhood.”

Gallery: Pipeline protest in Chesapeake

Alston says the gas company has offered her $1,000 for the easement which runs near the Dominion Energy power lines.

Residents like Jim Hampton says the gas line brings fear.

“We don’t want to be in our bedrooms wondering whether we are going to wake up the next morning.”

Hampton brings up the Minneapolis natural gas explosion that killed two people August 2. Olivia Kearney worries about that as well.

“I don’t want my grandchildren afraid of an explosion right in our backyard.  I say no to pipelines, No! No! No pipelines. no pipelines here,” she screams in a chant.

Chesapeake Delegate Cliff Hayes wants Virginia Natural Gas to rethink the line.

“You are not wanted along this route,” Hayes said. “What you need to do is go back and address and rethink the route that this extension is coming.”

Virginia Senator Lionell Spruill (D-VA) goes further, saying the gas company should cancel this — or else.

“If you don’t stop this, every bill you have before the General Assembly I will work to kill. That’s my goal. If you don’t look out for the community for the people who give you money for your company, I’m going to try and stop it,” Senator Spruill said.

Dominion Energy says “the project is necessary for continued safe and reliable operation of the natural gas distribution system.”

But don’t tell that to Annie Jackson, who says, “I’ve lived in Georgetown 30 years. I didn’t retire to be in the community where I’m retiring to live in fear.”

Here’s Virginia Natural Gas’ full statement on the issue:

Our project is necessary for the continued safe and reliable operation of our natural gas distribution system, and to meet the needs of all of our customers, our neighbors and our communities in Hampton Roads. Easements are necessary for Virginia Natural Gas to construct and maintain the Southside Connector Distribution pipeline. We are making every reasonable attempt to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with property owners along the route, and have openly addressed safety, siting and environmental concerns. We have not discussed eminent domain with residents at this time. We have listened to residents’ concerns, and are committed to work with them to keep the lines of communication open.”

Duane Bourne
Manager, PR & Media Relations
Corporate Communications