A Strategic Approach to Planning the Mountain Valley Pipeline

APA Virginia Chapter


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.


David Perry

Invited Speaker

David Perry is executive director of the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy, a Roanoke, VA-based non-profit which works with rural residents to conserve land and water. He is the chairperson of the Roanoke County Pipeline Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy in 2006, he held management positions ... Read More

David Wray

Invited Speaker

David Wray joined Roanoke County CommIT in April 2012 to develop and lead a GIS Services team as GIS Manager. David has over 25 years of IT and GIS technology experience. Previously he served as a GIS Consultant in the Homeland Security arena, Director of Information Support Services at North ... Read More

Ruth Ellen Kuhnel

Invited Speaker

A 24-year resident of the Roanoke Valley, Ruth Ellen began working for the Roanoke County Attorney’s Office in 2007 representing the County in a variety of matters, specializing in land use, contracts, and litigation on behalf of the Department of Social Services. She assumed the County Attorney position in ... Read More

Richard Caywood

Invited Speaker

Richard Caywood has served as the Assistant County Administrator for Roanoke County since 2013. He graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech, with a focus on construction engineering and management. Prior to entering ... Read More

Contact Info

Eldon James, ejames7@me.com