Letters to the Editor

Betsy Hester: Utterly opposed to pipeline

Regarding the Nov. 12 news article “N.C. neighbors wary of pipeline”: N.C. neighbors are notably more than wary. We are utterly opposed. Those who favor it are Pat McCrory, with direct ties to Duke Power, and many current legislators who are negotiating fracking and off-shore drilling behind closed doors. I was at that meeting in October in Rocky Mount, and the information from the spokespersons from Duke and Dominion was disconcerting.

The Duke representative met us with expensive brochures and a fancy PowerPoint, saying Duke is interested in enhancing its environmental stewardship. This was on the tail of the Duke coal-ash spill. The Dominion representative told us no fewer than three times that the best path from Point A (the starting point in W.Va.) to Point B (Robeson County) is a straight line. When we questioned the less-than-straight line that will loop through Eastern North Carolina counties but not make a path through Wake County, he deferred that to his team of lawyers. When we questioned why, if it is such a boon, it isn’t going through Wake, he deferred to his team of lawyers. We later learned that Wake fought it with another team of lawyers and won. So who gets it? Eastern North Carolina.

When we asked why they were pushing this on counties in economic decline, he once again deferred to his team of lawyers. When we asked repeatedly who would be liable in the event of an accident, we were told they would have to defer to their lawyers. They are slated to go through neighborhoods, through 100-year-old historic homes and through farms that have been in families more than 200 years and close to schools and unstable landfills.

The Dominion rep also said that once the Federal Mining Commission rules in its favor, it takes the land through imminent domain; that only 8 percent of the “taps” are uncommitted, meaning 92 percent of the gas is already contracted up north; that the “taps” are allotted one per county and contracted only to counties that have an industry of “sufficient size”; and that the cost to tap onto the pipeline is between $1 million and $5 million, and this from communities with high unemployment and a low-tax base.

We do not have a team of lawyers to fight this. The economic boon will be short-term construction jobs and day laborers, most of whom will be the company’s own employees. We will get bursts of business from workers in hotels eating fast food, which will not bring us back from economic decline. He could not deny there will be no more than 52 permanent jobs in N.C. from this pipeline.

This is not about bringing economic prosperity to our state. It is about making money for an unsustainable industry and about paying stockholders large dividends. Even worse, it is about moving shale gas from “fracking” sites, a dangerous environmental catastrophe-in-waiting. Stop the pipeline.

Betsy Hester


The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the article.