FERC Accepts Public Comments on Pipeline, Individually

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

fcROCKY MOUNT - A public meeting set up by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Wednesday evening to hear comments about the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline project at Franklin County High School resulted in around 75 comments, one at a time and behind closed doors. 

"I wasn't expecting it," Preserve Franklin County Chairman and local business owner Mike Carter said, referring to the format of the session, "Let's face it, this is America and this is a meeting that should have been open for the public and media to hear other's comments."

FERC invited the public comments one at a time in a classroom along with a stenographer so the comments could be taken and recorded accurately. The comments were limited to three minutes each.

Many opposed to the pipeline argue the project would decrease property values, public safety, and hurt the environment. There is also concern over the pipeline taking away from the natural Franklin County setting.

Supporters of the pipeline point out the potential for economic growth and jobs in the area.

The pipeline would start in northern West Virginia and through Franklin County, connecting with an existing pipeline in Pittsylvania County just east of Chatham.

Franklin County Rev 5-0-0 10-12-2016At a meeting on October 18, the Franklin County Board of Supervisors decided not to take any action for now, voting against selling land in the newly-acquired business park for $91,785.81 for a right-of-way-easement to the pipeline.

"There are a lot of people that are very opposed to the pipeline," Gills Creek Supervisor Bob Camicia told Dick Shoemaker on Cable 12's October 19 "Rise and Shine" program.

"The decision process is one that unfortunately, none of us have a lot of input into," Camicia continued. "It's difficult because you're dealing with the federal government."

"I think as they do additional surveys, as they listen to public comment, they [FERC] find ways to adjust it to make it less obtrusive or damaging as it comes through," county administrator Brent Robertson said on "Rise and Shine" October 19. Robertson said he would be asking FERC to explain the latest changes to the pipeline route, including the pipeline only crossing the Blackwater River once instead of twice. 

FERC held another public comment session in Roanoke November 3. At the Franklin County meeting, tables were set up outside of the auditorium for people to submit written comments and sign up to give verbal comments. FERC called individuals by number to give their comments.

"It's just another way of FERC controlling things for their benefit," Carter said, citing the format of the meeting.

On the "Rise and Shine" program October 19, Camicia explained the importance of the sessions.

"The individual inputs have a lot more impact than do inputs from politicians," Camicia said. "There are a lot of people who think it's a good idea... but they are very quiet." 

Mountain Valley Pipeline says construction on the project would start in mid 2017 with a late 2018 completion date.




Smoke From Forest Fires in Tennessee & Kentucky Travels into Virginia

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

fire222FRANKLIN CO. - If the first thing you noticed when walking outside was the smell of smoke Thursday, you're not alone. Wildfires burning in eastern Kentucky and Tennessee are to blame. 

The latest fire detection information (above) shows the hot spots to our west and southwest, not too far away, in eastern parts of Tennessee and Kentucky, where conditions are very dry. An expanding area of drought covers much of the SE US. 

The same weather pattern that warmed us back up into the 80s with record highs is also sending smoke and fine ash from these fires in our direction from the west and southwest.

As a cold front nears late Thursday, breezes will continue out of the west, so the smoke will continue to be an issue until the front passes us to the south late Thursday night into early Friday morning. 

In Alabama and Georgia the situation is even worse. The latest drought monitor (shown below) shows exteme to exceptional drought over much of the area, with no rain in sight for at least a week. 

For Virginia, high pressure will set up again next week, however, so the smoke may return at some point.

The weather pattern is a dry one for our area as well, and fire concerns will grow into November without signigicant moisture. 

Only a few showers are expected Thursday evening along the cold front. 

Windy weather behind the front Friday will enhance fire risk in our region. 

In Virginia, the fall fire season started October 15 and continues through November. The Virginia Department of Forestry offers these tips to reduce the risk of fire:

If you have to burn, take precautions before igniting a fire. Precautions include:

  • clearing the burn spot and surrounding area down to mineral soil;
  • keeping the burn pile small;
  • having tools like a shovel or a rake on hand;
  • ensuring a charged water hose or other water source is at the ready;
  • having a working cell phone with you so that you can call 911 as soon as the fire escapes your control, and remaining with the fire until it’s completely out. 
  • You must also check the weather conditions in your area before you start to burn. If it’s been several days since it’s rained, humidity levels are low and the winds are higher than 10 miles per hour, wait until conditions improve; otherwise, it’s quite likely your fire will become a wildfire.

If a fire does escape a person’s control or is left unattended, that person is financially liable for the cost of suppressing the wildfire as well as any damage that occurs as a result. Depending on the size and complexity of the wildfire, suppression costs alone could range from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Add to that the cost of burning down your neighbor’s home or barn, and you could be looking at millions of dollars.

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F.C. Sheriff's Dept. Warns of Phone Scam Using Their Own Number

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

scamFRANKLIN CO. - Thg Franklin County Sheriff's Office says to look out for a new phone scam using their own phone number.

A resident recently reported a phone call from caller ID "540-483-3000" claiming to be from the Franklin County Courthouse stating that a debt was due.

The caller, however, is not the sheriff's office.  The caller claims to be "Adam", and says the Sheriff's Department will be called if the bill is not paid.

The sheriff's office urges people not to give out any personal information or other sensitive information out over the phone.

The call is being investigated.

If you believe you have been contacted by the scammer, or any other scammer, call the sheriff's office at 540-483-3000.