PAMPLICO, S.C. (AP) — The land agent who arrived at Reatha Jefferson’s door in May, unannounced and unmasked in the middle of the pandemic, told her he was giving her one more chance.
The agent was there on behalf of Virginia-based utility giant Dominion Energy. He wanted to see if Jefferson would let Dominion run a new natural gas pipeline through the land her great-grandfather, a rural Black farmer, had bought more than a century ago in Pamplico, South Carolina.
Jefferson sent the agent away and in July, the utility served her with court papers in an attempt to use eminent domain to build the pipeline.
The proposed 14.5-mile-long (23-kilometer-long) gas line is small in contrast to projects like the recently canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline, or even a 55-mile-long (88.5-kilometer-long) pipeline Dominion built recently in the state. But for Jefferson, it threatens to stain the land where her relatives once