Letter: Natalie Pien, Leesburg

Editor: Last week, I read with excitement that the National Beer Writer’s Conference will come to Loudoun in 2018. The Loudoun Now article reported that Gov. Terry McAuliffe made the announcement and welcomed the opportunity to “showcase our award-winning breweries…”

Do you know what the most important ingredient in brewing beer is? According to Vinepair, vinepair.com, the most important ingredient in brewing beer is water.

Did you know that water quality in Virginia is under threat? Two new, massive 42-inch or 3.5-foot fracked gas pipelines—the 600-mile-long Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the 300-mile-long Mountain Valley Pipeline—are proposed to cut through rural Virginia with a 125-foot-wide swath of clear-cutting and excavation. The iconic Appalachian Trail will be crossed, as well as the headwaters of the Potomac and James Rivers. A total of 1,100 stream and river crossings (including native trout streams) are planned; 320 acres of wetlands will be impacted; and extremely steep slopes will be traversed. Virginia’s water quality cannot be maintained during construction of the pipelines nor protected from illicit or accidental leaks during pipeline operation.

Do you think Virginia should risk contaminating its water? Craft brewing has a significant economic impact. By employing more than 28,000 people and contributing almost $1 billion in state and local taxes, this water-quality-dependent industry adds more than $9.34 billion to Virginia’s economy every year. The craft brewing industry is not the only ones to rely upon clean water. The James and Potomac Rivers serve as the drinking water supply for millions of Virginians, including those in metropolitan Richmond and Washington, DC.

Gov. McAuliffe has the authority to block new pipelines by denying water quality permits for stream crossings. New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo did just that this past April and blocked the Northern Access Pipeline. Won’t Gov. McAuliffe do the same to protect Virginia?

New pipelines are not needed. Existing pipelines operate at 54 percent capacity increasing to an expected 57 percent by 2030. The demand for electricity has not increased in Virginia since 2004. Moreover, the $5.1 billion cost for the ACP will be passed along to each and every Dominion customer. Let Gov. McAuliffe and candidate for governor Ralph Northam know that Virginians do not need and do not want new pipelines.

Natalie Pien, Leesburg

3 thoughts on “Letter: Natalie Pien, Leesburg

  • 2017-08-16 at 12:10 pm

    Ms. Pien,

    ‘Do you know’ how may pipelines the AT already crosses? How many pipelines already cross the Potomac, the James, and even our very own Goose Creek? Do you know?

    Do you know the main intake for drinking water from the Potomac for Loudoun and Leesburg is adjacent to a natural gas pipeline… that crosses the river, and has been for decades? So explain to us how, exactly, all of our beer is going to be impacted?

    Is your home connected to natural gas or electricity Ms. Pien?

  • 2017-08-16 at 2:39 pm

    There is no such thing as “fracked gas pipelines.” Natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines transport natural gas, under pressure; they do not produce or extract natural gas. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a well stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by a pressurized liquid. Fracking has nothing to do whatsoever with the transportation of natural gas. As for the impact of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on the environment, please see FERC’s “Final Environmental Impact Statement” which has already addressed and thoroughly vetted environmental issues associated with the construction and operation of the project, including impacts on groundwater: https://atlanticcoastpipeline.com/filings/60/acp-shp-feis-vol-i.pdf

  • 2017-08-18 at 3:50 pm

    If existing pipelines operate at 54 percent capacity increasing to an expected 57 percent by 2030 there is definitely efficacy issues with how these projects are calculated. If this was a business it would be a productivity issue.

    There is no question, is that no matter how Virginia decisions makers take their actions, the near future is with renewable energy and fossil fuel is out. So the question is, how long will the fossil fuel energy providers will manage to delay the transition so they can continue with making large profits as they also try to find ways to set up for the renewable energy market and dominate that just like the fossil fuel industry.

    Still hoping to see that making huge profits, is not always a priority, and human factor, environmental sustainability is the ethical way of doing business – especially for those companies that has done well for so long anyways.

    At what point being greedy, and more greedy gets old? How much is enough? It must be stressful. Slow down a little bit and smell the roses…

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