ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — For close to 60 years, 53 acres have belonged to Daniel Bollinger’s family.
“This is kind of our little piece of paradise here and we’re just doing everything we can to protect it,” Bollinger said.
It’s their oasis but it’s at risk.
“And hopefully one day build a retirement home right here overlooking the pond. Right where they want to put this pipeline through,” Bollinger said.
His land, and dozens of other properties, are in the line of the MVP Southgate project. It’s a natural gas pipeline extension starting in Virginia and ending right near Graham.
“It’s designed to bring more affordable natural gas to the region to help keep up with current demand,” MVP Southgate Spokesperson Shawn Day said.
He says the pipeline will have big benefits, including jobs, a boost to the local economy and it could also help bring in more big business.
“There’s very strong demand for natural gas in this region and additional infrastructure is needed to meet that demand,” Day said.
Day said this is also the safest way to transport natural gas and the area needs it.
“The system itself is designed to be, it is the safest way to transport fuel,” Day said.
But for homeowners like Bollinger, those rewards aren’t worth what he could be losing.
“God gave us dominion over the earth, this land to take care of it and we’re supposed to be good stewards of it. And we’re letting these big companies come in and do this to our land, we’re not being good stewards of it,” Bollinger said.
These plans are still in their very early stages. A start date of early 2020 is projected with construction ending at the end of 2020. But there’s still a long way to go before then. MVP Southgate still is working on pre-filing with FERC. They do not have an official application yet. They need state and federal approvals.
MVP Southgate says the property will still be usable after they’re through with construction. Day says the construction is very similar to building a water main. The pipe will be 24 inches in diameter. Crews will dig a five- to seven-foot trench, so the pipe will have three feet of ground cover.