This blog post was written by POWHR’s Communications Director Denali Nalamalapu. Much of the content was gathered during an interview with Dr. Robert Jones.
April 22, 2016.
That was the day Dr. Robert M. Jones found out the Mountain Valley Pipeline would be rerouted over his land.
His response? “You don’t want to hear the words because you can’t print them.”
Dr. Jones is a retired engineering professor at Virginia Tech. Jones and his wife Donna built their home in 1983 and it has since been the center of their family life.
The news of the pipeline’s new path triggered several concerns for Jones. By placing a pipeline 174 feet from their home, it drastically reduced the value of their home, promised irritating disturbance from construction, interrupted their view with the pipeline’s scar, endangered their drinking water, and caused them to fear a possible explosion.
One of the first thoughts Jones had was: If this pipeline gets built, we can’t have another family gathering here because there’s a chance the pipeline will explode and kill the whole family.
With that thought in mind, Jones became active in the fight to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline. From a young age, Jones was interested in construction. He uses this interest and his background in civil engineering (with a doctorate in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics) and extensive training as a military engineering officer to study the pipeline route and construction in a technical manner.
Recently, he channeled his activism into a book about the MVP: Fighting Pipelines and Government Agencies, published by Bull Ridge Publishing. The book begins with the initial public participation process and travels to the present moment of stalled construction.
“People whose property is targeted by a pipeline suffer great stress because of that unwanted invasion of their privacy and their property rights. Government agencies simply don’t help us,” said Jones. He shares this frustration with many people who are impacted by unwanted fossil fuel projects.
Moreover, he adds, “Many agencies actually seriously oppose us and don’t even read the facts we send them, proving themselves agencies captive to the very entities that they are supposed to regulate.” This reality motivated Jones to record what he has witnessed with efforts to build the MVP.
Jacob Hileman, environmental hydrologist with a doctorate from the University of California, Davis, attests to the rigor of the book: “[It is] a detailed and eye-opening account of the chaos wrought by the MVP, and of the failures of our public agencies to regulate the pipeline industry in any substantive way. Dr. Jones speaks to the dangers of this situation with the authority of an engineer and the clarity of an impacted landowner. This is a tremendous resource for all individuals and communities with the misfortune to find themselves on the path of a proposed pipeline.”
If you would like to get a copy of Dr. Jones’ new book, visit Bull Ridge Publishing. Stay tuned for a special POWHR event featuring Bob Jones’ book!