Pipeline Controversy Spurs Protest Song

Gene and Gayla Mills pen bitter ballad.

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You know that a controversy is really taking flight when people start writing folk songs about it.

Such is the case with Gene and Gayla Mills, a Richmond-based, husband-and-wife music duo who have written a biting ballad about Dominion Resources’ bitter fight to build a $5 billion natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina.

The 42-inch-wide pipeline will take gas produced through controversial hydraulic fracking methods over sensitive Appalachian Mountain habitat and on through the rolling hills of August, Nelson and other counties unaccustomed to industrial development.

The thorniest point of the issue is that the utility, which plans the pipeline with three other companies, is using an obscure Virginia law to force its way onto rural homeowners’ property to make surveys of the pipeline route. When people refuse, Dominion has sued them, resulting in counter-suits by the landowners.

The lawsuits have been created a tumult -- and some errors. Dominion was shamefaced to admit that it had sued the Nelson County sheriff by mistake.

The Mills have a tune on YouTube called, “No Dominion Over Me” that captures much of the grass-roots protest. Here is the chorus:

Hey Dominion,

You don’t have dominion over me

You don’t have the right to take my land

Against your lawyers, your lackeys, your money and your lies,

My neighbors and I will take a stand.

You might win,

But we’ll fight to save our land.

The Mills perform regularly in the region. He teaches philosophy at Virginia Commonwealth University, and she teaches writing at Randolph-Macon College.

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