Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 26, 2012

Leaders, officials eye natural gas pipeline in Tazewell County

TAZEWELL, Va. — A natural gas pipeline across Tazewell County could soon become a reality.

Business leaders, elected officials and members of the Tazewell County Public Service Authority met Wednesday afternoon to discuss the possibility of bringing natural gas infrastructure to businesses and residences across the county via a countywide pipeline.

Don Dunford, member of the Tazewell County Public Service Authority Board of Directors, said there is great potential for natural gas in the county.

“Tazewell County is a producer of natural gas,” Dunford said. “We have about 600 natural gas wells in Tazewell County. That gas is produced and goes out of state. I felt we ought to keep it here at home and use it in Tazewell County, to make it available to our homes, businesses and schools in the county. It is the responsibility of the PSA to provide public services like water and sewer to people. We provide water and sewer from Lowe’s to Lowe’s in Tazewell County, so why not provide natural gas from Lowe’s to Lowe’s in Tazewell County.”

Dunford said natural gas infrastructure has the potential to bring new businesses to the area and reduce costs for schools and county-operated vehicles.

“This could help attract industry to Tazewell County,” Dunford said. “Many industries like to have natural gas. It’s relatively clean, it’s plentiful and it’s generally more cost-effective to use. There are a lot of industries already in Tazewell County that could make use of that. Every industry that comes to mind could benefit from this. All of the schools could make use of it. Every county vehicle and school bus could be modified to run on natural gas.”

Dunford said area residents also could benefit.

“It’s a great fuel source for Tazewell County,” he said. “Natural gas can seriously decrease the amount residents pay on their electric bills because natural gas can be used for heating and cooling. It is much more cost-effective now. I would like to see this made available to every business and home in Tazewell County.”

Natural gas is already being used in Bluefield, Va., but Dunford said he would like to see it expanded.

“There is natural gas in businesses in Bluefield, Va., and homes there as well,” he said. “There is also small usages in other places throughout the county. Appalachian Natural Gas has the rights to distribute natural gas to Bluefield, Va. The new Bluestone Industrial Park near Springville will have natural gas within a year there. That will be advantageous for industries looking to come in who need natural gas for manufacturing process.”

However, Dunford said there is still some work to be done.

“The county could get in contact with distributors and look into the possibility of building a natural gas pipe line across the county,” Dunford said. “The Tazewell County PSA is going to keep going and keep researching this because it’s our responsibility. This is a great opportunity to move Tazewell County forward.”

— Contact Kate Coil at

kcoil@bdtonline.com�

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