Some landowners express concerns about pipeline safety

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. This week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is holding public sessions for their Environmental Impact Study about the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Monday, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe asked a federal judge to "formalize" a request by the federal government for a halt on the Dakota Access pipeline construction in North Dakota. (photo by Tony Webster / CC BY-SA 2.0)

That has some landowners voicing concerns about safety

"Our home is in the blast zone of this pipeline. If it we to leak, rupture or explode, our whole home would be burned to the ground," said Carolyn Reilly, who is a landowner.

"I think the ways the plans appear, it's pretty safe going down deep," said Art Brunner, who is also a landowner.

Explosions have happened in our area in the past. An explosion occurred in Appomattox in 2008.

According to the Mountain Valley Pipeline's website, pipelines are the safest way to transport natural gas over long distances and have an outstanding record.

Wayne Garst is the Fire Code official for the Blacksburg Fire Department. Part of the Mountain Valley Pipeline is mapped to go through neighboring Montgomery County.

"The pipeline that have had problems have been older ones that have started to deteriorate or somebody had nicked them," said Garst.

Right now, Garst said they've only had issues with small pipelines and thinks communication with gas companies is key, if a problem arises.

"They're the ones that turn it off. Once the gas is turned off then the gas will automatically go out, it's the structures or whatever is burning in the air, the combustibles that are burning around it that we would have to put out. "

He said in the unlikely event of an explosion, they're ready to jump into action.

"It's just going to be basically a torch. So we would just protect the area around it. If it's in the mountains we'd keep it form spreading in the mountains. It would be basically a forest fire at that point," said Garst.

According to the Mountain Valley Pipeline website, regular inspections will occur to ensure integrity if the pipeline is built.

Melissa, FERC plans to hold their last meeting in this area tomorrow in Roanoke.