Friends of Wintergreen (FOW) has requested the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to require the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC to perform the same analysis of the undue risk of resource damage along the pipeline route in Nelson County, VA (where Wintergreen is located) as the U.S. Forest Service has requested of the company for its proposed route through the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests. The November 22 letter states:
FOW submits that the risks associated with this portion of the Proposed Route equal or exceed the risks associated with the Forest Service’s Selected Sites because:
- The steepness of the slope on Piney Mountain – 66%, 69%, 78% and 85% in several locations – exceeds the “very steep to extremely steep (30 degrees [58%] short slope” in GWNF Site 5 and, overall, equals or exceeds the steepness of the slopes that are encountered in all or portions of 9 of the 10 Forest Service Selected Sites.
- The Piney Mountain area and adjoining areas in Nelson County have a history of extreme weather events. For example, in 1969 Hurricane Camille dropped up to 31 inches of rain in Nelson County, mostly in a 3-5 hour period. This resulted in catastrophic flooding and mountain slope failures. In all, 153 people were killed, 8,931 people were injured, 5,662 homes were destroyed and another 13,915 homes experienced major damage.
- The risk associated with the path of the Pipeline on Piney Mountain are magnified by the fact that Piney Mountain is in a much more populated area than Forest Service lands. If a landslide occurred on the side of Piney Mountain, the boulders and other debris would be swept into the South Fork of the Rockfish River (a designated “Virginia Scenic River”) and across Beech Grove Road (State Route 664), a designated “Virginia Scenic Byway” that carries as many as 10,000 residents and guests to the entrance to Wintergreen Resort and is a major connector between Augusta County and Nelson County.