From the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council (RACC)

 Dear Friends and Members of RACC – We’ve received action alerts (see below) from several partner conservation groups about the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) Board of Trustees meeting and public hearing this Thursday, February 9th.

 

VOF will be considering Dominion Resources Inc.’s application to route the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) through 10 private properties protected by Conservation Easements, and place additional property in Conservation Easement “in exchange.”

 

VOF’s decision in this case will set precedent for private pipeline construction on privately owned property in Conservation Easement throughout the State including Rockbridge County.

 

The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) has provided a very clear description of the issue and instructions with live links for sending comments to VOF in their announcement included below this messagePlease scroll down to find out more, and submit your comments as soon as possible.

 

Comments received by VOF so far – included a few terrific ones from the Rockbridge area – are posted at: http://www.virginiaoutdoorsfoundation.org/event/february-2017-policy-easement-consideration/ and can be viewed by clicking on the “Public Comments”  headings (C1, C2, and C3 as of this morning). 

Thank you so much for adding your voice! 

 … and if you’d like to help with RACC’s pipeline efforts, please contact David Harbor at david.harbor@gmail.com, and see RACC’s webpage (http://rockbridgeconservation.org/pipeline.php ) for more information about the ACP gas pipeline proposal.

Rockbridge Area Conservation Council (RACC)

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 564, Lexington, VA  24450

E-mail: racc@rockbridge.net

Phone: 540-463-2330

Web page: http://rockbridgeconservation.org/

Facebook: Rockbridge Conservation – RACC

 

Winter 2016 Office Hours: Monday through Thursday, 1 to 5:30 PM and by appointment.  Please e-mail or call to verify schedule.

Office Location (please, no mail to this address): RACC is grateful to Wells Fargo Bank for generously providing office space in their building at 101 S. Main St., 2nd Floor, Lexington, VA

 RACC’s Mission since 1976: To promote the wise stewardship and sustainable use of natural and cultural resources through education, advocacy, and action to protect and enhance the quality of life for present and future inhabitants of Rockbridge County.

More information from the PEC:

The Piedmont Environmental Council

Dominion Takes Aim at Conservation Easements in Path of Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation will consider Dominion’s application to cross through ten protected properties at VOF’s February 9 board meeting. View PEC’s letter to VOF >>

A decision is being considered that could have a profound and lasting effect on the integrity of conservation easement programs in Virginia.

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF), the state agency that holds the vast majority of permanent conservation easements in the state, is being pressured by Dominion Resources, Inc. to allow the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) to cross through 10 protected properties.

The ACP is a high-pressure gas pipeline that would extend across Virginia, from West Virginia to North Carolina.If allowed, this pipeline would be the largest intrusion on to protected properties in the 50-year history of Virginia’s conservation easement program.

Urge VOF to Continue Standing Up for Its Easements

Our partners at the Shenandoah Valley Network have set up an advocacy campaign that makes it easy to contact VOF (we’ve also included direct contact info below if you prefer).

The Proposal Fails to Pass Muster

On Thursday, February 9, 2017, VOF is scheduled to consider Dominion’s application to remove acreage from and permanently impair the conservation values protected by 10 separate VOF easements in exchange for other conservation lands. Virginia state code (Va. Code Ann. §10.1-1704) provides very clear and specific guidance for such exchanges, requiring that the proposed project be “in accordance with the official comprehensive plan for the locality” and “essential to the orderly development and growth of the locality.” The proposed gas transmission pipeline meets neither requirement, as the counties affected have made clear to VOF.

Please join with us and citizens around the state who have submitted comment, urging VOF to:

  • support the clean water, wildlife habitat, working farmland, rural character, and scenic views protected by the conservation easements,
  • preserve the essential trust that exists between landowners and VOF, critical to the future of land conservation in Virginia, and
  • deny Dominion’s unprecedented request to permanently impair conservation values on 10 conserved properties.

How to Weigh In

You can use SVN’s advocacy campaign to weigh in today. Or if you prefer, send your comments by mail, direct email, or by fax prior to the February 9, 2017 VOF board meeting. Include your mailing address and phone number, and address your comment to:

Ms. Stephanie Ridder
Chairman Virginia Outdoors Foundation
39 Garrett Street, Suite 200
Warrenton, VA 20186
By email:
bcabibbo@vofonline.org
By fax:
(540) 347-7711

If you’re interested in attending the meeting in person, the public comment opportunity begins at 10 AM and you should plan to arrive by 9:30AM to sign up in advance. The meeting will be held at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 7870 Villa Park Drive, Suite 400, Henrico, VA. See www.virginiaoutdoorsfoundation.org for details.

If you’d like to learn more about the issue, or read letters that have already been submitted, visit www.svnva.org/vof. You can also contact Kate Wofford of the Shenandoah Valley Network at kwofford@svnva.org or 540.244.7809.

And finally, if you’re on Facebook, please consider sharing this post with friends and family!

Sincerely,

Mike Kane
Director of Land Conservation
The Piedmont Environmental Council
mkane@pecva.org

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