A Strategic Approach to Planning the Mountain Valley Pipeline
Monday, July 17, 2017
3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. EDT
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This session will explore how local government can actively address citizen, and elected official, concerns regarding pipeline projects by creating new forums for public engagement and using GIS applications to inform decision-making. In October 2014, Roanoke County received a proposed route map for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) that would run along the western border of the county. In March 2015, the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors (Board) appointed a 16-body Roanoke County Pipeline Advisory Committee (PAC) to provide key stakeholders to assist the Board in its review of the potential benefits and impacts to citizens, businesses and natural resources within the County. In addition, Roanoke County designed the MVP GIS Pipeline Viewer application to show proposed MVP routes with parcel information. The Viewer application was simply designed but conveyed a sophisticated level of effort that reassured the public that the County was invested in its analysis of potential MVP impacts. The PAC further served to engage citizens and allow Board members to study the MVP project with staff outside of formal boardroom meetings. This process enabled a constructive review that positioned Roanoke County in the role of an intervenor in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval process.
This session will outline the process that Roanoke County used to assess its options for addressing MVP, and then examine the results of employing a citizens advisory committee instead of engaging directly with the pipeline organization. It will include a "real people perspective" with stories about the impacts of the pipeline on landowners, and demonstrate the advantages of using GIS applications to convey information to the public. The session will also review the County's legal strategy and the effective use of outside counsel in the FERC process. As pipeline projects (and pipeline fights) become more common across the state of Virginia, this session will provide a case study for engaging in the planning process as a public entity and empowering citizens to influence the outcome of pipeline routes.
Ruth Ellen Kuhnel
Eldon James, firstname.lastname@example.org