Tag Archives: pipeline

Do We Mean So Little – 9/13/2017

Today’s post was going to be about the day’s efforts to resupply the shop with soaps, salves, and balms for the upcoming events, however, in the middle of my efforts, the house shook and rattled. We had just experienced a 3.2 magnitude earthquake.  Our house is a strong log home and nothing broke that we can determine, but the fault line that broke and shook happens to lie right in the path of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 42″ line that will carry fracked gas across our region if it is approved.

What catastrophe would occur if they put that line through and we had an earthquake on that fault again?  Maybe bigger than 3.2 magnitude.  That pipeline if ruptured would produce devastation.  It’s proposed route runs right behind our grandchildren’s school, through a major karst area of caves, sinkholes, and limestone full of the water table from which we draw our well.  It is proposed to pass through the historic village that gives us our zipcode, a village of old farmhouses, churches, and historical covered bridges.

I guess we are expendable.  Our lives worth less than the money that will line the pockets of a few wealthy investors that are using their wealth to push this project through, threatening imminent domain seizure of private property for private, not public gain; threatening endangered animals, our water supply, the beauty of this scenic county that has 35 miles of the New River flowing through it and many miles of the Appalachian trail, several historic towns, and farms that will be divided and despoiled if the pipeline is approved.

The scientists have spoken on our behalf, the historians have produced documents, the biologists, naturalists, and outdoorsmen have all come forward, but nobody that has any pull has backed off. I hate that our lives and livelihoods have such little importance to those in power.

The Demonstration

I grew up in the hippy age, an age of demonstrations, some peaceful, some not so much.  Even though I witnessed some of these demonstrations or the aftermath of some not so peaceful, I never participated in one.

Tonight as a senior citizen, that changed.  The companies that are trying to force the fracked gas pipeline through our region are holding federally mandated “Open Houses” to feed more of their rhetoric down the throats of the landowners whose property will be despoiled by the installation of this 42″ pipeline, if the pipeline company gets all of the permits it will need.  One of the companies involved has criminal charges against it in Pennsylvania for dumping or improper disposal of toxic waste byproducts.  Neither of these two companies that are hiding under an LLC have ever built a 42″ pipeline and not through karst topography in the mountains.  Each of these Open Houses is being held in a county affected and in each case, the county has tried to organize an anti Open House against the pipeline.  Tonight, the Open House was in the next county and they picked a site where there was no room for the opposing meeting, so the opposers advertised to their involved residents and to the adjacent counties opposition groups to come out during rush hour and demonstrate on the side of the highway in front of the venue, beginning an hour before their Open House was to start and continuing well into the dark.  We had 8 and 10 foot banners, a 10 foot long mock up of a 42 inch pipeline with a banner on it’s side, hand drawn signs and some of the printed signs that most of us have posted on our property.  We waved signs and held a peaceful demonstration right near the entrance to the venue until well after the meeting was underway.  It was cold, brutally cold and windy out there, especially as the sun set.  There were far fewer demonstrators than we had hoped, but it was poorly advertised and as I said, it was cold.  The counties are unanimously opposed to this proposed pipeline.  The pipeline builder will be taking land and right of ways by eminent domain for their personal gain.  This pipeline will not benefit the landowners, will not provide jobs, will not benefit the businesses in our counties, but will put us at risk, will threaten our groundwater, will damage or destroy 3 caves near us that are home to bats, including albino bats, will threaten 2 historical covered bridges and threaten or destroy several historical homes.  We wish more had come out, but we did have media coverage and were told that more opposing public had gone in to the Open House.  We heard that there was to be a peaceful “Sit In” during the last half hour of the Open House, however, we had to leave before it all broke up for the night.  Our hope is that this profit making company will give up due to the opposition, the sensitive nature of the area they are trying to traverse, or due to the falling crude oil prices.  Perhaps more states will follow New York’s lead and prevent fracking in their state for health and safety reasons.

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Effort, Disappointment, and a Delicious Surprise

Mountaingdad and I began our morning with a group of others from our county to form the core group of Preserve Giles County to oppose and fight the proposed pipeline.  We met for two hours, introduced ourselves and I found that this made me very emotional as we each spent about 5 minutes giving our name and why we were there.  It was the first time I have introduced myself to these people and talking about the fact that I was born here, my grandfather was born here and though I grew up in the eastern coastal Virginia, retired here.  That our home is a labor of love, Son 1 spending two years of his life doing carpentry and stone work on our house. I installing wood siding, beadboard, cedar and doing flooring and baseboards.  That we are invested financially, physically and emotionally in the home we built.  The meeting was productive and will move on to a point where we feel we are fighting as a group, not as individuals with a common goal.

The disappointment came when I realized that of the 5 1/2 quarts of broth that I made with the turkey carcass, even though they were chilled overnight in the refrigerator with plenty of head room in wide mouth jars, all 4 that I put in the freezer, broke the jars and all 4 quarts of turkey broth are ruined.  The remaining quart and a half were used to make gravy for turkey we have eaten since Thanksgiving.  To try to salve a disaster, the remnants of the thighs and the meatier parts of the wings that weren’t really done enough to suit me are currently simmering in another 3 quarts of water.  The meat will be made into pot pies and casseroles, the broth frozen in vacuum sealing bags this time for use in soups and future gravies.

The delicious surprise came just a few minutes ago as I went to collect eggs and do a quick survey of the garden plot after last week’s 20 something degrees and the wet snow.  The row cover over the garlic had blown free from one end and I wanted to re-secure it.  There was kale that had perked back up, not a lot, but certainly enough for a meal, maybe my favorite African Chicken with Hot Greens.  And a berry bucket of turnips that weren’t large enough to harvest a few weeks ago.  I’ll bet they are as sweet as honey after last week.  We will enjoy them within the next day or two as well.  The chard is gone, the wormy cabbages went to the chooks with the turnip tops that were too wilted to try to cook.  With any luck, we will get one or two more meals of kale, then I guess it too will be pulled for the chickens or heavily mulched with hay for maybe some spring regrowth.

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The chooks laid just enough eggs while the kids were here to provide us with a delicious breakfast each morning and to make the pumpkin pies.  Yesterday there were only 3 and today 6.  It seems that the dozen hens are not really going to be laying enough for me to sell many this winter, but should keep us fulfilled.

Love our life on our mountain farm.

An Energy Rant

OK, I’m basically liberal in my leanings.  I do think that the overabundant use and collection of fossil fuel is ruining the environment between mountain top removal for coal extraction and greenhouse gasses from the burning of it and natural gas as well as the fracking for that gas.  The fracking process is poisoning ground water and the waste from it dumping chemical laden water in holding ponds and radium and radon sludge being dumped above ground.  Once this coal or gas is extracted, it is transported to a coastal port via train and pipeline primarily to be exported overseas.  All the while, the highways are clogged by petroleum guzzling semi trucks hauling goods around the country that could be more economically transported by rail.

If you have followed me for a while, you know that we are in the path of a proposed fracked gas pipeline, 42″ in diameter.  Our region is limestone, karst topography, full of caves, sinkholes, 3 fault lines and every resident relies on groundwater from springs or wells for our water supply.  Our immediate community is a Historic Preservation region with more than 300 historic and historical sites including two covered bridges, many that are also in the path of this pipeline.  There are 3 significant caves on the path within 5 miles of our house, one containing endangered albino bats and all home of bat populations already threatened by the fungal white nose disease.  In the meetings we have attended to learn more about this pipeline and to work to organize to oppose it, we have learned that a pipeline of this size, should it leak, causing an explosion, that the blast zone would be 2000 feet.  That the industry accepted loss from these pipelines is 1% (probably higher if that is what they are reporting) and that methane would leech into our groundwater.

The company that is already using divide and conquer techniques and threatened lawsuits trying to force this through has a bad reputation for shoddy work and accidents and has many fines and a major lawsuit against it for damages in Kentucky.

To say we don’t want this in our backyard is an understatement, but we don’t want it anywhere, not just in our backyard.  The years and dollars spent on this project would be much better spent on clean, alternative energy.  Natural gas, especially fracked natural gas is not clean.  It produces more greenhouse gas than burning coal.  Don’t be deceived by the “Clean Coal” and “Clean Natural Gas” advertisements, it is not clean, do some research.  Watch the video Gaslands.

We are fighting this, with peaceful opposition at meetings with the companies, through letter writing campaigns, with voting for politicians who are against these practices.  We need help.  Yesterday, the Keystone Pipeline was narrowly defeated, but will resurface as soon as the new congress is in office.  Also yesterday, it was announced that fracking was going to be allowed in the George Washington National Forest.  This is where parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive are located.

To frack or build a pipeline, acres of forest will be destroyed, herbicides will be sprayed to keep the undergrowth controlled, herbicides that will affect the health of the fauna and the human populations near the areas and anyone who receives their water from the groundwater or the watersheds that these areas serve.

What can you do?  If you live in any of the counties affected by any fracking or pipelines, join the organized fight against them, attend the meetings, stand up and be heard.  If you don’t live near them, but want to continue to enjoy our natural resources, write your politicians and be heard.  It is going to take a national community to stop this desecration of our country by these practices and to stop our natural resources from being shipped overseas.  For the funds being spent on these projects to go toward true clean energy that doesn’t destroy the environment.

If you are local, we need an auditorium full of people at Giles County High School, November 20, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. to peacefully show opposition by our numbers and our signs.  Questions of the pipeline companies will be allowed by filling out a 3 X 5″ card with your question.

If you want to see more about fracking and pipelines, look on Wiki or check out www.preservethenrv.com.

Please help.  This is our dream retirement home, built with our lifesavings and we don’t want to see it despoiled or destroyed, nor do we want any environment poisoned or destroyed.

Sunday Thankfulness

Weekends bring the Farmers’ Market and breakfast out. We live near a major university town and university towns have bagel shops, except this town didn’t. You could get a bagel at one of two local coffee shops, but they were made in a city nearly an hour away. Those bagels could also be bought at the natural foods stores, but they are only delivered once a week. You can get Panera’s idea of a bagel. A new vendor at the Farmers’ Market is now selling bagels, I haven’t tried them yet and yesterday was much to cold to stand outside and eat a cold bagel. On Monday, however, the town got it’s first made on the premises, get them fresh bagel shop. Welcome Hello Bagel. We ventured in instead of going to the usual diner which has been so busy the past few weekends that we have had to stand at the door and await a table. Yesterday’s bagel was hot and delicious, buttered with a cup of coffee. They do need more cream cheese varieties, but lots of bagel flavors.
Fueled with breakfast I braved the market while Mounntaingdad sat in the car and finished his newspaper. My favorite meat vendor was back and was saddened to hear her absence was due to the death of her father. She had just left his side to return home when he passed.
A few meat items and a large cabbage were purchased from her, potatoes and almost 4 pounds of Daikon radishes from another vendor. I had kimchi or more correctly, Maangchi in mind.
Growing up, I had never heard of fermented food, wasn’t a big fan of canned sauerkraut, and yoghurt wasn’t in every dairy case. Upon buying our farm we found, with son#1’s help, a Korean Restaurant in a tiny town west of us and I experienced my first kimchi and though I don’t like all kinds, I do love Maangchi, the radish kind, and a turnip one that is similar.  Most all of the fall harvest of radishes were made into Maangchi and it is nearly gone.  Daikon’s make a better version and since they were available, I knew I could have more.

 

 

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Such an easy process.

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Not many ingredients.

 

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Like kraut, the radish mix must be packed down to remove air.  It can be eaten right away or let to sit on a dark shelf for a few days to ferment before putting in the refrigerator for enjoyment later.

I do think that next year the garden will contain Daikon radishes instead of the smaller cousins.

I am thankful for discoveries, for an awesome local market, for good food and as we are leaving shortly for another organization meeting against the pipeline, for “neighbors” who also want t o stop the desecration of our beautiful environment by this abhorrent potential project.

 

 

 

 

SAY NO TO THE PIPELINE

Last night Mountaingdad and I attended the county Board of Supervisors meeting in opposition to the proposed “natural” gas pipeline.  We were heartened that the gallery was full to overflowing with residents of our county, the adjacent county, and the county that successfully blocked it.  There were more than 100 people in attendance and 16 spoke, including Mountaingdad.  Though this wasn’t a hearing on the topic, I feel the Board was given some good information, not just the sales propaganda from the Mountain Valley Pipeline people.  We were also heartened to learn that we don’t have to try to start the resistance moving in our community, that there is already a group made up of folks from 4 counties and we just need to jump on the band wagon.

The statistics and data that we heard are frightening, regarding the dangers of even a smaller 30-32″ pipeline and they are talking about an experimental 42″ pipeline.  The map showing the proposed route and the question and answer sheet that was provided from the presentation they made to the county representative several days ago, shows that they are not going to directly use the power line easement, but rather take land near it by eminent domain and depending on which side of the easement they choose, they could be on our land or very near our farm and perhaps will take our land for the road access as they come in to destroy a 125 foot wide swathe of forest and dig a 10′ deep trench through the rock and karst topography and along a fault line of our county.  Needless to say we are alarmed.  Construction blasting and digging or a pipeline accident with a pipeline of that size could wipe out from our home past the only major road through the county, virtually isolating some of the county residents.  This in a large mostly rural county with only 4 small volunteer fire and rescue companies.  The route crosses the New River and two major creeks feeding the New River numerous time, threatening over 250 historical sites including 2 of the 3 covered bridges.  The estimated property impact is in the billions of dollars.  This is for a pipeline to carry gas recovered through fracking (a groundwater destroyer) and they won’t guarantee that the gas won’t be shipped overseas instead of for domestic use.  The estimated lifetime of this pipeline is only 20  years.

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The Cascades
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Bridge built in 1912 and designated as a Historical Landmark.
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Built in 1916, designated as a Historical landmark.
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Historical farmhouse
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Historical farmhouse

The two bridges and the two houses are all within the probably easement as are many other historical sites.

There have been over 360 incidents resulting in at least $40,000 damage to property per incident (the figure that is put on declaring it an incident) in the US alone including one that killed 8 people and destroyed an entire neighborhood in California just within the past few years from fracking or the transmission of the gas recovered by this process.

This pipeline won’t even be giving jobs to our region as the installation of such a pipeline requires specially trained workers that are brought in with their own temporary housing during the construction.

Our county has been striving to present itself as a recreation, vacation and wilderness area with over 45 miles of the New River for kayaking, canoeing, tubing and fishing; the wonderous Cascade Waterfalls, Mountain Lake and Lodge, and more than 50 miles of the Appalachian Trail including one of the trail towns.  The forest destruction will definitely impact the desirability of this area as a vacation spot or wilderness retreat.

If you are one of my local readers, please join the cause against this pipeline and share this information with friends and neighbors.  We need all of the support that we can get.  More info is available at Preserve the NRV on Facebook.