VOF statement on proposed gas transmission lines

Update: The Highland Recorder reported in August that the Spectra proposal has been suspended.

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation has learned that three energy companies—Dominion Resources Inc., Spectra Energy, and EQT Corporation—are developing natural gas transmission line proposals that could traverse areas of Virginia where VOF holds a significant number of open-space easements. We want to make certain that any of these pipelines, if constructed, will not impair the conservation values protected by our easements.

It is our understanding that these projects are in the earliest planning period and that no determinations have been made as to the precise location or details of the pipelines. VOF has shared information with the gas companies regarding the location of our easements and, in order to ensure easement compliance, requested that we be consulted prior to conducting any survey work that involves clearing of vegetation, earth disturbance, or use of motor vehicles, self-propelled machinery, or power equipment. We will continue to gather as much information as we can on all of the proposed pipelines.

Whenever utility expansion is proposed on an easement property, VOF must take into account all of the protected conservation values as well as the clear language of the restrictions. Our current language for utilities in our easement template ensures that the construction and maintenance of public or private utilities will not impair the conservation values of the property.

VOF has permitted public and private underground lines to cross easements after analyzing the impacts to the protected resources and making the determination that those resources would remain unharmed. Some examples of protected resources that could be negatively impacted by an underground line include archaeological resources, karst resources, no-cut zones in forested areas, and specially protected habitat areas.

VOF will monitor the progress of the proposed projects, and we encourage our landowners and partners to keep us informed of new information they may receive.

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