Bill robs public of pipeline spill cleanup fund

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What are our governor and legislative leaders doing? Now they have thrown the school systems into the miry mix of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline nightmare!

On Jan. 26, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that Dominion and Duke Energy is giving North Carolina a $57.8 million environmental mitigation fund. Shortly before that announcement, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality issued the water permit Dominion needed to begin pipeline construction in North Carolina.

WRAL News reported that “the money will be held in escrow by a third party the governor picks and the money will be spent on environment mitigation, economic development and renewable energy projects along the pipeline route.”

Now we read that our legislators are working on a bill that will distribute the money to schools in the eight counties affected by the pipeline.

I am not opposed to our school system receiving money. I’m opposed to the tainted money being used to buy the general public’s approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. If the money in this fund that is intended for cleanup of the devastating mess (mitigation) that the construction and operation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will create is given to the schools, who will pay for the environmental cleanup?

Think about it — who’s paying the cost of the coal ash cleanup?

Once people hear our schools could benefit from the ACP project, all the facts that make this pipeline wrong for our state will be pushed aside. People will forget the negative environmental impact, pollution, contamination, high-consequence blast zones, which includes the town of Sims and anyone living within 1,000 feet of the pipeline route.

Don’t forget eminent domain, the taking of private property for public use. This pipeline is unnecessary. Dominion and Duke say it’s needed for future energy needs but in reality, it’s for big profits to these corporations and their stockholders. They stated in the beginning that the natural gas will stay in the United States, but now we know that export is on the horizon.

I would like to thank Sen. Angela Bryant, D-Nash, for voting against the bill.

Celena Bunn-Bissette

Rock Ridge