In response to the domestic natural gas boom, the energy industry has made a major effort to extending pipelines to ensure that its lines of supply are not interrupted and are capable of handling an increasing flow.
However, it is impossible to extend these lines without giving due consideration to the impact that such pipelines might have on the environment. Sometimes, it becomes necessary for project stakeholders to change their plans altogether and move a pipeline away from its originally proscribed route.
Consider, for example, the proposed Dominion Resources natural gas pipeline located in North Carolina. According to a report by the News Observer, the original plan for the project called for the 550-mile pipeline to be built from West Virginia to North Carolina, with one lateral extension passing through Raleigh. This has since been changed.
"The route will adapt," Dominion Resources spokesman Jim Norvelle told the news source. "The route will continue to evolve as we survey to identify the best possible path to meet the needs of our customers with the least impact to environmental, historical and cultural resources along the way."
One issue was that many homeowners were concerned that this section of the pipeline would cross into their properties. This would not only affect values, but also increase the risk that a leak in the pipe could affect them directly. The new proposed route will avoid this area.
Ensuring that the effects of energy development on residents is minimal is crucial goal for the industry. That's why it is so important for stakeholders to work with environmental consultants to ensure that risks are minimized.