CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) — Signs in Chesapeake read, “No Pipeline,” “Our children deserve better,” and “Methane gas=blast danger.”
Protesters gathered Friday morning in the Georgetown area of Chesapeake to speak out against the Southside Connector Distribution Project (SCDP).
The nine-mile-long, 24-inch pipeline will be placed through the Georgetown neighborhood. One portion of the pipeline will be across from the Thurgood Marshall Elementary School.
The city of Chesapeake has approved the completion of the project, and the pipeline is expected to start operating this fall.
Alma White has lived in her Georgetown neighborhood home since 1986. The pipeline will run a few feet away from the edge of her backyard. She, and other neighbors, said they fear the pipeline could put them in danger if a gas leak occurs.
"It's insane, and they expect us to sleep with this pipeline in our backyards," said White.
Although the pipeline is not on her property, it still makes her feel uneasy.
"These are our children, and it just appears that no one cares,” she added.
Another protester, Jim Hampton, said he bought his home to retire in it.
“Now, someone comes in and they’re going to forcibly put pipes in our neighborhood it’s gonna devalue the property, which is an economical impact. The health concern if these fumes leak, it’s methane gas and they’re very powerful,” said Hampton.
Virginia Natural Gas has stated that the pipeline project meets all safety and regulatory requirements. In a statement to 13News Now, a spokesperson said:
“As with all of our construction projects and daily operations, public, employee, and pipeline safety is our highest priority. While we respect the rights of those to peacefully assemble, it is our responsibility to make sure the utility corridor in the City of Chesapeake remains secure and the public is protected. As a precaution, we are working with law enforcement officials to ensure the safety of the people, pipeline and equipment associated with the construction of the Southside Connector Distribution Pipeline. Virginia Natural Gas has a long history of securely providing natural gas to our region and this project is no different. In Chesapeake, this pipeline is being located in the existing Dominion Energy electric transmission corridor. Co-locating utilities is an industry best practice and is encouraged by regulators.”
Neighbors said their plan is to continue having monthly meetings about the pipeline, and hiring an attorney is in the works.
Click here to learn more about the SCDP.