Farm owner voices concerns over pipeline - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Farm owner voices concerns over pipeline

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    For more than a year and a half, WVVA has been reporting on the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline. We are following up with Georgia Haverty, who owns a 400-acre farm in Giles County, Virginia, directly in the pipeline's path.

    When we last visited Doe Creek Farm, it was full-on spring, and the apple trees were green and leafy, but almost a year later, reality for Georgia Haverty has set in.

    "I feel like all of our elected officials and our government agencies have let us down, have thrown us under the bus, have not listened to reason and i feel that the private gain, private money has been the driving force for everyone," said Haverty.

    And there's a lot of money at stake: $3.6 billion. The same amount that British Theater Chain Cineworld paid for Regal Entertainment Group and its 561 theaters in the U.S. So when an apple grower in Giles County, Virginia, says no to the pipeline people, it's a David and Goliath.  In this case, Goliath wins.

    The blue and white markers now on Georgia's property are like little flags of surrender.

     "It's kind of like Germany going through Poland at this point," said Haverty.

    In addition to pick-your-own apples, Doe Creek Farm offers itself as a pick-your-own wedding spot and with the season getting underway April 1st.  Georgia asked for the project to be postponed until the very last vow in late summer.

     "And the answer from the pipeline was no. we don't care," said Haverty. 

    She busies herself making coffee while she tells me what the future holds.

    "And they want to run this operation 24/7. which means I have to go out and beg a subcontractor in my field to please stop the machinery for a couple of hours, so the people in my front yard can hear their vows," said Haverty.

    Meanwhile, the developer is storing tens of thousands of pipes at various spots in the Two Virginias and cutting trees at a furious pace to finish ahead of the migratory season for bats and birds.

    Along Doe Creek Road, the chainsaws have moved on, now the only sound is rushing water, but Georgia still wonders why the tree-cutting jobs didn't go to locals.

     "Haven't seen any Virginia trucks. I've seen them from Texas, from Oklahoma, from Wisconsin, from Pennsylvania, from Ohio. from the Midwest. Those are the people coming in," said Haverty.

    For the longest time, Georgia thought she might be able to hold off allowing MVP on her property, but a seismometer behind her barn tells her otherwise.

     "Hopefully this will work. but that's how close my barn is to this thing. they have to put a machine behind this thing to make sure the vibrations don't disturb it," said Haverty.

    Not everyone is against the pipeline, proponents say the country is rapidly embracing natural gas, the way it once did coal but to landowners like Georgia Haverty, the pipeline is like having an unruly neighbor.

     "They could show up at 3 in the morning and start boring through my field," said Haverty.

    So standing at the kitchen window, she keeps the memories close, wistful but still unbowed.

    Haverty says if there's one good thing that's come out of the controversy over the pipeline, it's that she and other like-minded people have formed a coalition. They plan to fight to keep another project like the mountain valley pipeline from ever darkening their doors.

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