Using criteria developed by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club’s board of directors has voted to oppose the Mountain Valley Pipeline due to its potential negative impacts on the AT and trail users. The board’s resolution voices “opposition to construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline as proposed across the Appalachian Trail on Peters Mountain and in the Appalachian Trail viewshed in numerous locations, including Angel’s Rest and along the Alternate 200 route.” (As already reported on this website, the US Forest Service has raised numerous concerns about the proposed route in its comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in March 2016.)
Established in 1932 by AT co-founder Myron Avery, the RATC is responsible for over 120 miles of the AT between Route 611 in Giles County and Black Horse Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Club bylaws require the group to support monitoring and managing lands that were purchased for trail protection, to participate in and encourage the development of laws and regulations that protect the AT and its related interests, and to use all legal mans to protect and defend the AT and its related interests.
- Necessity of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to examine cumulative impact of all proposed major natural gas pipeline crossings of the Appalachian Trail.
- Avoidance of threats to regional air quality and human health
- Satisfaction of criteria in the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s 2015 Policy on Pipeline Crossings of the Appalachian Trail.
- Avoidance of threats to regional water supplies and to drinking water for Appalachian Trail hikers
- Avoidance of karst topography and active seismic zones in the proposed AT crossing locations
- Avoidance of specific impacts, including scenic impacts, likely with currently proposed AT crossing alternatives
- Careful and realistic study of visual impacts of the proposed Alternate 200 route, with specific viewpoints and criteria noted in the club’s November 2015 comments.
RATC strongly believes that the pipeline is likely to be visible from numerous locations on the Appalachian Trail and poses potential safety hazards to AT users.