Yes, the Appalachian Trail crosses lots of roads and infrastructure. But wilderness and untrammeled land are at a premium in the Anthropocene, especially in the U.S. eastern seaboard, and the increasingly rare experience of solitude is being threatened by a proposed gas pipeline.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline would run 300 miles across West Virginia and Virginia, carrying natural gas from Bradshaw to south of Lynchburg, where it would connect with another pipeline.
“Cutting through one of the most celebrated hiking trails in America, the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline threatens wildlife habitat, recreational lands and the health of local Appalachia communities, while setting a terrible precedent of building energy infrastructure through our national forests,” wrote the Wilderness Society.
It would also violate the 2001 U.S. Forest Service roadless rule, which blocks construction of roads and other infrastructure in the 58.5 million acres of national forest that have been inventoried as roadless.
The pipeline also is unnecessary. A study conducted in fall 2016 looked at the MVP project and another proposed 550-pipeline and found that current capacity is more than enough to last through 2030 at least. “Additional interstate natural gas pipelines, like the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley projects, are not needed to keep the lights on, homes and businesses heated, and existing and new industrial facilities in production.” wrote the researchers.
“The dilemma for communities up until now has been figuring out where these pipelines would be built,” said Greg Buppert of the Southern Environmental Law Center. “But today we know they don’t need to be built at all. Despite what we have heard from the utilities, we will have plenty of power and heat without them.”
Whether to allow the pipeline is up the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is taking comments through December 22 here.
Photo of McAfee Knob by Frank Kehren.
Camp Notes is a big high five to the fun of sleeping outdoors and all that comes along with it. You know, camping and stuff.