Salamanders on the Pipeline

Pipeline construction projects are large, complicated ordeals. Innumerable occurrences combine to make it all come together, and any number of things can derail those plans. Projects can be held up for years by politics. Or activists. Or market concerns. Or simply failing to use the most dependable beveling equipment, pipe clamps and welding tools can even cause delays. The list of potential problems is long, and once you think you’ve seen it all, you will be proven wrong in short order.

Amphibious Assault

This concept is evident in an area along the Virginia-West Virginia border where energy company Dominion is leading a push to build a $5-billion natural gas pipeline. What is causing the ruckus this time? It’s none other than the diminutive Cow Knob Salamander. Apparently, this amphibian is found nowhere else on the planet, and its habitat is protected under the Endangered Species Act.

photo of Cowknob Salamander

For their part, the folks proposing this project are complying with regulations and doing their part to protect this fragile ecosystem. In a quote published in The Daily Progress of Charlottesville, Virginia, Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle said it is working with federal officials and figuring out a solution.

“We are currently evaluating potential options and are planning to meet with the Forest Service to discuss these options that provide the avoidance it has requested,” Norvelle said.

Completing pipeline projects: complex enigmas filled with variables wrapped inside twisted balls of red tape or just regular enigmas filled with variables wrapped inside twisted balls of red tape?

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