Thursday, January 15, 2015 - Updated: 10:28 AM
Don't Underestimate Minden's Residents
By JOSHUA THOMAS
At tonight's Thursday, Jan. 15, Minden Town Board meeting, the council could potentially decide whether to request a detailed Environmental Impact Statement by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in regards to the Dominion New Market Project, aimed at adding onto the existing Brookmans Corner compression station in Minden, facilitating expanded underground pipeline capacity.
I have high hopes that the board will -- especially after hearing the impassioned pleas of Minden's residents -- decide to request the EIS rather than endorse the Environmental Assessment that has been proposed.
There's been a lot of talk about the potential pollutants that may result from the facility's expansion, and while my full understanding will require more research, I think that even if these alarming assertions hadn't been made, an EIS would be absolutely necessary in a case such as this.
The fact that a simple Environmental Assessment (closer to a set of guesses than actual, study-based projections) has been requested instead of an EIS speaks volumes. You'd think that any company aiming to do no wrong, which Dominion has asserted numerous times publicly, would be in full support of an EIS.
If there's nothing to fear, the EIS will determine that, and the company has a clean start.
Why would the community continue to worry about the expansion, which will take place entirely on property Dominion already owns, if a proper EIS proves that their families, the land and the area's future generations are in no danger?
I find the community's motives, which consist entirely of protecting themselves and one another from potential harm, to be substantially more valiant than the money-making motives of the company heading the expansion.
The EA, a public document prepared by the Federal Action Agency, was originally created to be used in rare instances where it was unclear if the significance of an action or project required an EIS. It's a generic document, which includes five main sections -- summary, introduction, alternatives, environmental consequences and consultation. Outlined in the introduction would be the project's background, purpose, proposed action, decision framework, public involvement and a statement of issues.
The detailing of environmental consequences is the fourth subject, with no bullet points underneath outlining necessary facts that must be detailed. An EA's findings can be quite vague.
Luckily, even if an Environmental Assessment is approved instead of an EIS, the assessment's results could determine that an EIS is absolutely necessary, which I think anybody with half a brain should be able to see is the case here.
In my experience, the people of the area are generally on board with the non-harmful expansion of any business, and when they have a problem, it's indicative that there's truly something to worry about. I don't think the intelligence of the local community, or their desire to get to the bottom of whatever's going on where they live, should be underestimated.