LUMBERTON — A year after the Robeson County Board of Commissioners granted a conditional-use permit to builders of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, it voted again Monday to correct the mistake that gave rise to a lawsuit.
A paperwork oversight required the commissioners to vote a second time to approve the construction of metering a station that regulates natural gas flow and a 350-foot microwave communications tower at N.C. 72 and Prospect Road at the existing Piedmont Natural Gas facility. The station and tower would be part of the $5 billion, 600-mile pipeline that would carry natural gas from West Virginia to a point near Prospect. Objections to the construction of the station and tower were left out a year ago.
The commissioners approved the request unanimously and without comment. The pipeline, touted as a boon to industry, is expected to bring in nearly $900,000 a year in property tax revenue.
The list of requirements to obtain the permit is long and includes training for local first responders. First on the list is that there will be no tax incentives granted by the county.
The proceeding was not a public hearing and only the Rev. Mac Legerton, of EcoRobeson, represented local opposition to the pipeline. Legerton emailed an attorney’s letter of opposition to The Robesonian.
“The county failed to follow the statutes when it originally granted the permit,” Legerton said after the meeting. “It may invalidate the permit when it goes to court on Monday.”
Nick Herman, a Chapel Hill attorney for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, called the omission of the opposition documents “inadvertent.”
The approval vote taken in August 2017 was challenged in court in early October 2017. As a result, the ACP’s builders, subsidiaries of Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and Southern Company, have not been able to build the monitoring station and tower.
The plaintiffs in the initial lawsuit were Dwayne Goins and Robie Joe Goins, owners of property near where the pipeline is to end in Robeson County. They claimed findings of fact and conclusions from a review of the proposed construction project were not contained in the approved permit. Other property owners and concerned residents have since joined the lawsuit.
In other action, the county agreed to pay half the price, or $5 per rabies vaccinations that are administered by local veterinarians during their clinics that will run Aug. 20 to Aug.24 at 32 Robeson County volunteer fire departments.
Dr. David Brooks, of Pembroke Veterinary Clinic, said five county vet clinics will participate in the sixth annual event. In 2017, 1,758 animals were treated and 714 were vaccinated.
“Rabies is at an all-time high in Cumberland, Lee and Moore counties, although we are not under a rabies alert,” Brooks said. “Robeson County Animal Control officers run 130 calls a month, and 85 percent of the dogs they see are not vaccinated.”
A spay and neuter program will be conducted Sept. 4 to Sept. 14 by Pembroke, North Star, Baird’s and South Robeson veterinary hospitals.
The Robesonian will provide dates, times and places for the rabies, and spay and neuter programs.
The county commissioners also granted conditional-use permits for a family cemetery, a trailer to be added to a 2.58-tract of land with two homes already on it, and a duplex to be built on a parcel of land zoned for single-family dwellings.
Carnetta McDougald was appointed to the Robeson County Public Library board of directors. McDougald replaces Frances Henderson, who has resigned.
Commissioners Tom Taylor, Raymond Cummings and Noah Woods were reappointed to the Transportation Advisory Board.
The commissioners agreed to contribute $2,500 to the Robeson County Jamboree. The sporting event features 10 high school football teams from North Carolina and South Carolina, including Lumberton, Purnell Swett, Red Springs and Fairmont high schools.
Reach Scott Bigelow can be reached at 910-644-4497 or [email protected]