Gubernatorial invite: Will McAuliffe visit pipeline foes?

Nelson County may soon welcome Governor McAuliffe for a tour of the pipeline's proposed route. Photo: Prensa Internacional/ Nelson County may soon welcome Governor McAuliffe for a tour of the pipeline’s proposed route. Photo: Prensa Internacional/

While many out-of-towners plan tours of Nelson County to learn the land by way of winery and brewery, Governor Terry McAuliffe has been extended a much more somber, or rather, sober, invitation.

Over 1,200 Virginia residents signed Friends of Nelson’s request for McAuliffe to join locals and business owners on a tour of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s proposed route through the county. McAuliffe outwardly supports the development of the pipeline.

“I am aware that you pride yourself as being a business-minded individual,” the letter said. “We believe that you have been severely misinformed about the situation here and that a visit would give you the first hand experience necessary to respond clearly and truthfully to your constituents here.”

Some concerned citizens, including Kathy Versluys of Nellysford, signed comments with their names. Versluys, who has run an inn in Nelson for 28 years, wrote: “I can assure you that guests don’t come here to see pipelines and the related ugliness of a new industrial corridor. Our county and numerous business leaders have been creating Nelson’s bursting tourism industry for decades. Dominion’s pipeline threatens our economy and the health and safety of all of us. Let’s talk!”

Along with jeopardizing the economy, which depends on agricultural, tourist and recreational dollars, the letter also cites the threat a 42-inch, high-pressure natural gas pipeline poses to the mountains, watershed and overall livelihood of Nelson County.

Schedulers at the governor’s office did not immediately respond to multiple calls about whether or not McAuliffe will accept the invitation.