Virginia Natural Gas responds to fears over underground Norfolk pipeline via letter

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Should Norfolk residents really be worried about plans for a natural gas pipeline that would run through the city?

Signs lining Tidewater Drive are making some nearby residents nervous.

A red arrow points to the ground where the line would run near a school and Tidewater Gardens public housing.

“They need to put them someplace else instead of putting them over here cause there’s a play park over there and then on top of that there’s another play park over here and it’s just too much kids around here to be right here where the pipeline is at,” said Precious McCleadon, a Norfolk resident.

Virginia Natural Gas is defending the pipeline in a letter sent out to some Southside residents.

VNG President Jim Kibler wrote that the pipeline, called the Southside Connector, would ensure greater reliability for gas service in the region.

He says it’s neither unusual, nor unsafe. He blames Colanna’s Shipyard for spreading misinformation.

Tom Godfrey, Colanna’s President and CEO, told WAVY.com that’s not true.

Godfrey said, “They (VNG) have a responsibility to serve the community and we respect that … they do not show respect for this community”

The pipeline will run through a main part of the shipyard and the two sides went to court over the eminent domain issue.

In the letter, VNG said Colanna’s is a self-interested party which has placed its own litigation and financial gain above the interests of Norfolk.

Colanna’s does want what’s best for business but, Godfrey says they also want what’s safe for their employees and Norfolk residents.

As this controversy continues, the next date to look for is November 20.

That’s when the results of a safety study are expected to be revealed at the Norfolk city council meeting.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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