Proposed energy infrastructure projects continue to raise concerns about impacts to scenic, historic and other resources in highly valued landscapes. One of the latest involves Mount Vernon and a Dominion Energy proposal for a natural gas compressor station in Charles County, Maryland. Officials at Mount Vernon, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and others expressed concern the development would intrude on views from the national historic landmark, located on the Virginia side of the Potomac.
Here’s the good news, at least for the time being: the Washington Post reported last week that Dominion Energy and Mount Vernon have agreed to work together to find an alternative site for the proposed compressor station. Mount Vernon officials stated they will share further information as it becomes available.
Mount Vernon, the National Park Service, the Accokeek Foundation and other partners have collaborated for decades to protect the viewshed of George Washington’s estate. The 5,000 acre Piscataway Park, a unit of the National Park System, was created in 1961 expressly for the purpose of conserving land in Maryland within the Mount Vernon viewshed. Piscataway is generally regarded as one of the earliest efforts to protect a particular scenic vista as a national park.
This is one of many energy infrastructure projects impacting highly valued landscapes that have made the news of late. The Chesapeake Conservation Partnership continues to work on several initiatives to help partners address these issues and conserve valued scenic and cultural landscapes in the Chesapeake watershed.