Bent Mountain residents highlight historic resources in fight against pipeline

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ROANOKE CO., Va. (WDBJ7) On steep hillsides and open meadows, survey teams have marked the proposed path of the natural gas pipeline.

Residents of Bent Mountain say along with the natural resources, there is human history that will be affected by the project.

The pipeline corridor is just a stone's throw from the 19th century homestead that Karen Scott's family has been restoring.

"This is the spring house and these are the troughs that were used for cooling and for refrigeration for milk and for dairy products," Scott told us.

And the corridor passes through the apple orchard that has been in Inky Martin's family since 1935,

"There's a lot of rich history here," Martin said. "This is our history."

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has designated two historic districts on Bent Mountain reflecting its agricultural heritage, and settlers who arrived in the 1700s.

And pipeline opponents say there is archeological evidence of earlier inhabitants.

Kathy Chandler is another Bent Mountain landowner, whose property lies in the path of the pipeline.

"We're describing times that go back as far as three to ten thousand years," Chandler said. "Until somebody really gets in there and looks at that, no one is sure what might be missed."

Landowners on Bent Mountain are calling for a pause in any construction activities.

A spokesperson for the Mountain Valley Pipeline says one of the company's primary objectives has been to design a route with the least overall impact on landowners and their communities.

The company released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

"Since the onset of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project, one of our primary objectives has been to design a route with the least overall impact to landowners and communities; and to preserve and protect sensitive species, streams and wetlands, and historical resources. In doing so, MVP has worked closely with state and federal environmental agencies to provide accurate, comprehensive information that would allow for a thorough environmental review and approval of the project. In fact, the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) noted MVP’s adoption of hundreds of route adjustments, the majority of which were based on various landowner requests, avoidance of sensitive and/or cultural and historic resources, or engineering considerations.

The MVP project team has worked with residents and landowners in our Virginia and West Virginia communities to make sure the Mountain Valley Pipeline was designed, and will be constructed, safely and responsibly. We value each landowner’s property; and we value the safety of our employees, contractors, and every single person that lives in the communities along the route.