Davidson College, PNG reach pipeline agreement
by Staff Writer
A gas pipeline planned to cut through Davidson College won’t interfere with wetlands on the college’s ecological preserve.
Davidson College and Piedmont Natural Gas officials reached an agreement last week that will run the planned 5,100-foot section of the 127-mile pipeline through an alternate route on Davidson College property. Most of the new route will run through an existing utility corridor near the southern end of the college’s property. The route will turn east before crossing a pasture and exiting the campus.
The agreement gives Piedmont a new easement between 65 and 75 feet in width, in addition to Piedmont’s 40-foot easement already on the property.
“The route won’t be as damaging as cutting right through virgin forest,” college spokesman Bill Giduz said.
However, the new path will interfere with parts of the college’s cross-country trail. Piedmont has agreed to replant some trees that will have to be removed during construction.
An announcement from Piedmont following the agreement states the outcome was “the result of numerous productive discussions” and addresses the college’s concerns “while also meeting Piedmont’s needs for the proceeding period.”
When the college learned about the initial plan in January, Piedmont had already acquired 40 percent of the right of way for the line. Davidson College officials said plans to run the pipeline in an eight-mile loop through the preserve, the site of sensitive streams and wetlands, hardwoods and ongoing research, would damage the preserve and ruin experiments. The preserve covers one-third of the college’s 600-acre property.
Davidson officials had accused Piedmont of failing to follow correct and open procedures, keeping them uninformed about the company’s plans to build the pipeline.
Piedmont and Davidson College entered into negotiations around February and announced the agreement July 30.
Construction will begin in the fall and continue on into the spring. The line supplies gas to a power plant in Wilmington.