Activists gearing up ahead of Mountain Valley Pipeline meeting

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FRANKLIN Co., Va. (WDBJ7) People will be gathering at Franklin County High School Wednesday evening to give their two cents on the draft environmental impact statement for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. It was released in mid-September and says there aren't any major red flags with the pipeline.

Opponents say that statement is flawed. They got to speak individually Tuesday night at the first session in Chatham.

Dan Crawford with the Sierra Club out of Roanoke finds the report disturbing. He believes the biggest impact is to the community and freshwater resources. To him, it's now or never for people to voice concerns.

Dan Crawford, Sierra Club Roanoke, said, “The benefits of that are tremendous. We need public turnout. We need numbers. We need public engagement. Without that, we can't really expect to win this.”

Natalie Cox, a spokesperson for the Mountain Valley Pipeline says in part, “The draft environmental impact statement shouldn't be viewed as incomplete or missing because this is an ongoing process... one that helps us to refine the proposed route.”

Ahead of tonight's event in Franklin County, we spoke with a Mike Carter of Preserve Franklin County. He says there are inconsistencies in that draft statement. He believes the pipeline could be very damaging, hurting Smith Mountain Lake and tourism. In the end, he'd like support to make sure the pipeline project is dropped.

Mike Carter, Preserve Franklin County, said, “You know, in Franklin County they may think well this is a small group of people. We're really not. We're like raindrops but when we join up with Roanoke and Giles and Bent Mountain and the people in West Virginia, we've created quite a river.”

Cox said, "There are thousands of miles of pipeline that traverse coarse terrain," and they are addressing issues so that they, "Can construct a pipeline that has the very least environmental impact."

The event is Wednesday evening at 5:00 at Franklin County High School. There is another hearing scheduled for Thursday at 5:00 at the Sheraton Hotel in Roanoke.