Thursday, May 5, 2016

History Buffs Seek to Repeal 20th Century

Historic preservation group takes aim at threat from pipeline, power line projects
A state historic preservation organization is sounding the alarm over the potential threat posed by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and other proposed utility projects to a trio of sensitive assets in their paths — an early 19th-century archaeological site at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Nelson County, a community rooted in post-Civil War emancipation in Buckingham County, and a scenic crossing of the Rappahannock River near the Chesapeake Bay.

Preservation Virginia, in a pair of news conferences scheduled today in Nelson and Buckingham, released a list of Virginia’s Most Endangered Scenic Places that includes the three sites as one entry under a new category of “cultural resources threatened by utility infrastructure projects.”

“The potential cumulative negative effects on Virginia’s heritage tourism industry are substantial and unprecedented,” the Richmond-based group said in an announcement of the list.

The list also includes five other potentially threatened sites, among them the General Assembly Building scheduled for replacement on Capitol Square in Richmond and a vacant parcel, the Westwood Tract, proposed for development at Union Presbyterian Seminary in North Side.

The designation of the new category for utility projects reflects mounting concern among historic preservationists about the potential damage of large-scale electric and natural gas transmission projects to scenic, historic and cultural resources — a battle already pitched over an electric transmission line proposed across the James River near the Jamestown Settlement and still pending federal environmental review.

“We’re trying to look in an over-arching way at the collective threat to these resources on the ground, below the ground, and in terms of viewshed,” said Justin Sarafin, director of preservation initiatives and engagement.

At the center of their concern is the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a $5 billion project proposed by a Dominion-led company to cross 600 miles in three states to supply electric power plants and gas distributors in Virginia and North Carolina. The project is one of several natural gas pipelines proposed to carry low-cost gas from the Marcellus shale fields in West Virginia to markets along the East Coast.
If I could pass a law so to make people who oppose power and energy development pay double or triple for energy, I would do it in a minute.

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