What: Virginia Marine Resources Commission Public Hearing on Atlantic Coast Pipeline When: 9:30am – ? , Friday, March 16 Where: Newport News City Council Chambers at 2400 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia
A public hearing will be held by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) beginning at 9:30 a.m. on March 16, 2018, in the Newport News City Council Chambers at 2400 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia, to consider an application submitted by Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC to install a natural gas pipeline beneath the bed of 48 non-tidal streams and/or rivers with drainage areas greater than 5 square miles, which are considered to be State-owned subaqueous bottomlands of the Commonwealth, beneath 3 tidal streams and approximately 1.6 acres of tidal wetlands along the designated pipeline corridor in Highland, Bath, Augusta, Nelson, Buckingham, Prince Edward, Cumberland, Nottoway, Dinwiddie, Brunswick, Greensville and Southampton Counties and the Cities of Chesapeake and Suffolk for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project (ACP).
Copies of the application may be examined at the VMRC Office, Habitat Management Division.
Send comments/inquiries to: Marine Resources Commission, Habitat Management Division, 2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor, Newport News, Virginia 23607.
Utility regulators at the State Corporation Commission have refused Dominion Energy’s request to strike expert testimony that claims its contentious Atlantic Coast Pipeline will cost its Virginia ratepayers as much as $2.3 billion extra on their bills.
Surveyors mark the route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Deerfield, Va., Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. Dominion Energy has gone to great lengths to build support for its approximately $6.5 billion dollar Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The Associated Press has documented the energy giant’s immense public outreach and lobbying efforts by obtaining public records and interviewing company officials, supporters and opponents of the pipeline, which would run through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
In an order released Monday on Dominion’s integrated resource plan, the long-range forecast on how the company will meet customer needs between 2018 and 2032, the commission allowed testimony by natural gas industry analyst Gregory Lander to remain part of the record.
Lander, retained by environmental groups opposed to the 600-mile project, which Dominion has said will cut utility bills and boost employment, used the company’s own data topredict the pipelinewill increase bills for Dominion’s nearly 2.5 million ratepayers between $1.6 billion and $2.3 billion.
“We deny any objections we took under advisement and admit all evidence, including the testimony of … Lander,” the commission said. “We have given this evidence the weight due when making our finding herein.”
Environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington and the Southern Environmental Law Center in Charlottesville, took it asvindication of claimsthat the pipeline is a bad deal for Virginia. Full story HERE
Lumbees tell their side in Atlantic Coast Pipeline documentary By John Murawski,The News&Observer
Opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are deploying an increasingly common weapon in advocacy campaigns: a documentary film.
Their 19-minute production, “Robeson Rises,” features Lumbee Indians and an African American who live near the route of the planned 600-mile natural gas pipeline that is set to run through eight North Carolina counties. At times resolute and tearful, the local residents are shown organizing against the interstate energy project that they say threatens their ancestral land and their cultural identity.
The film’s organizers say their project is unusual even by the standards of the political documentary, which takes sides by design. They agreed to cede artistic independence to empower the subjects of the film to make editorial decisions to tell their own story in their own way.
“The community brings its own intentionality as to who owns the narrative,” said Andy Myers, campaign coordinator of Working Films, a Wilmington organization that coordinated the project. “It hasn’t been without some challenges because we were balancing the artists’ autonomy as a filmmaker with the needs of the community.” Full story HERE
Group plans to keep watchful eye on Atlantic Coast Pipeline By Johnny Oliver – March 3, 2018
STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — As the Atlantic Coast Pipeline inches closer to final approval, people concerned with its development are looking at ways to keep track of it.
A meeting ofPipeline CSI on Saturday in Staunton drew more than 100 people. The group discussed the possibility of members of the community serving as whistleblowers if the pipeline does get built, using drones and planes to monitor construction.
“This just reflects the amount of public support that the opposition forces have had all along against the pipelines,” said David Sligh the conversation director for Wild Virginia and one of Pipeline CSI’s organizers.
The group said it has already checked in on tree felling in Bath County using planes.
Sligh said all the people that showed up to the meeting are determined to continue the battle against the pipeline.
Developers behind the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are confident its construction will be safe to the public, citing “multiple, overlapping layersof protection”, including placing hundreds of inspectors on site every day. A spokesperson with Dominion Energy told WHSV the project has already gone through one of the most thorough regulatory process in recent history.
Pipeline developers are pushing forward with a construction start date of Spring 2018 — eventaking several landowners to courtto gain access to their properties. A federal judge granted immediate usage of several properties, and deferred a decision on others. For full video HERE
The only good byproduct of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Citizen activism in our region Editorial Board, The News Leader March 2, 2018
In the nearly four years since we began reporting and writing about the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, never did it seem unlikely that Dominion Resources would eventually get its way, ripping up our mountainsides, sawing through forests, bulldozing across streams and digging its way through the Shenandoah Valley.
Perhaps Dominion has its own version of the state seal, with a motto beneath a vanquished opponent that’s edited to read, “Thus always to those who oppose Dominion.”
If they do, it’s because they bought it and paid for it, along with the rest of our state government. That they’re willing to pay one landowner $360,000 to use his land for staging for two years is no surprise. That they’re reportedly willing to pay pretty much what any landowner wants for land restoration or spring for bovine medical bills related to mistakenly munched boundary markers shows that either Dominion is the best of neighbors, or that the costs to create the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are just chump change compared to the profits they’ll reap once it’s done. We tend to think it’s the latter, making us the chumps.
But they’ve created something else, unintentionally. Their project has given rise to a group of citizen activists who are not likely to stand down any time soon. Take for exampleSaturday’s gathering of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, a group that is determined to hold Dominion responsible for its tepid environmental promises, even if the official regulators don’t have the stomaches or wherewithal to do it themselves. Others fought to a rare victory this week in a zoning battle over an ill-placed work yard along a busy state highway in a rural agricultural area. Dominion could appeal, or just decide to drop cash on someone else with land nearby. Continue story HERE
Pollution Control Permit allows for Atlantic Coast Pipeline inspection February 15, 2018
UPSHUR COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV) — A State General Water Pollution Control Permit has been issued from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Waste and Water Management.
The permit was brought up in today’s Upshur County commission meeting and it’s meant to regulate storm water runoff that comes from oil and gas related construction, in particular, building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. According to the D.E.P, proper engineering and other accepted methods will be installed during the pipeline construction. These installations will be able to control pollutants of storm water runoff even after the project is completed.
“It’s very important. Whenever you’re crossing a stream or going under a stream, you want to make sure you do the least amount of disturbing to the environment as possible” says Upshur County Commission President Sam Nolte.
The Construction Storm Water Permit gives the DEP the ability to enforce and inspect at any part of the construction process.
Communication director for the D.E.P says that these inspections ensure that work is being done properly and safely, but there are only so many inspectors, so if you see something, say something.
“If they see something that they think may not be right, if they see muddy water in a stream, if they see runoff from the pipeline to go ahead and give us a call and let us know, because even though we have a lot of inspectors, we can’t be everywhere at once” says Communication Director for the Department of Environmental Protection Jake Glance.
North Carolina environmental agency delays decision on water quality permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Duncan Adams, September 16, 2017 The Roanoke Times
Heightened scrutiny of the water quality impacts of two controversial natural gas pipelines appears to be the trend in West Virginia and North Carolina.
In response, pipeline opponents in Virginia hope the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will amp up its review of the projects and adjust a related timetable many environmental watchdogs have characterized as rushed.
Both the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the separate but similar Atlantic Coast Pipeline would begin in West Virginia and cross into Virginia. The Atlantic Coast project would continue into North Carolina, ending in Robeson County near Lumberton.
Each would transport natural gas through a 42-inch diameter buried pipeline that would cross hundreds of streams and wetlands in Virginia.
On Thursday, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality notified Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC that the department needed more information about a host of water quality concerns before it can process the company’s application for Clean Water Act 401 water quality certification. Previously, a decision on the certification had been expected Monday.
The 401 certification essentially offers verification by a state that a project will not degrade state waters or violate water quality standards.
Last week, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection reported it was withdrawing and re-evaluating the 401 water quality certification granted in March to the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
That action came after a lawsuit by Appalachian Mountain Advocates on behalf of plaintiffs who argued the DEP’s analysis of the project’s effect on water quality in West Virginia was woefully incomplete.
Protesters speak out against Atlantic Coast Pipeline Steven Graves, September 13, 2017 WVEC
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WVEC) — About two dozen protesters met to voice their opposition of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Wednesday. It was part of a statewide effort called the “People’s Pipeline Vigil.” Participants prayed for Hurricane victims and state leaders.
They gathered feet from Virginia Beach’s Department of Environmental Quality office.
Many were pushing for official denial of water permits needed for Dominion Energy to move forward with construction of the natural gas line. If constructed, it would go through parts of Hampton Roads.
“We really have to get a commitment, a political will and a commitment to renewables and off of fossil fuels. They’re not sustainable,” said Teresa Stanley with the Interspiritual Empowerment Project. “We don’t need them. It’s not helpful.”
Protesters have planned a “sit-in” at DEQ offices on Thursday.
In response to the protests, Dominion Energy spokesperson Aaron Ruby said in-part, “We understand not everyone supports it, but the vast majority of Virginians do. They want cleaner electricity, lower energy costs and new jobs, and they understand we need new infrastructure to make that possible.”
Atlantic Coast Pipeline: The Keystone of the East Laura Ingles. June 30, 2017Blue Ridge Outdoors
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is the Keystone of the East.
Dark clouds over pipeline construction in hilly landscape, Slovenia, Europe.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a proposed 600-mile natural gas pipeline with a route stretching from Lewis County, West Virginia to Northampton County, North Carolina. It’s a collaborative venture between five of the largest utilities in the Mid-Atlantic—Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, Virginia Natural Gas and Public Service Company of North Carolina. Since Dominion Energy is the partner with the leading ownership percentage, Dominion is responsible for constructing and operating the pipeline.
Supporters of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline say it will boost the economy and meet a growing demand for natural gas energy. Opponents say it will violate the Clean Water Act and private property rights, threaten drinking water supplies, and put natural resources at risk. The pipeline also is a massive investment in a fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when renewables are on the rise. The opposition is vocal and ready to file appeals if the project is approved. Full Story HERE
Dominion touts Atlantic Coast Pipeline progress, mountain construction concerns opponents Emily Brown
Despite avid opposition from some residents along the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, including some Nelson County residents, Dominion executives on Thursday outlined important milestones and progress made on the project.
“I am pleased to say the project continues to move forward on all fronts,” Diane Leopold, president and CEO of Dominion Energy, said of the $5 billion, 600-mile natural gas pipeline that would cross West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.
In Nelson County, the route crosses 27 miles.
During a teleconference Thursday morning, Leopold said to date, Dominion has completed production on more than 65 percent of the steel pipe that will be used for the project, and the company expects to complete pipe production later this year.
She added Dominion has procured almost 85 percent of the land, materials and services it needs to build the pipeline.
Additionally, Dominion has completed more than 98 percent of land surveys, which has resulted in more than 300 route adjustments to avoid environmentally and otherwise sensitive areas. Dominion also has signed mutual easement agreements with 60 percent of landowners along the route.
“We’re very pleased with the progress we’ve made,” Leopold said. “We expect that progress to accelerate as we get closer to construction.”
Leopold cited a favorable draft environmental impact statement, which was released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in December 2016, and a favorable preliminary approval from the U.S. Forest Service for drilling underneath the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail as important milestones for Dominion.
Leopold also briefly talked about support for the project.
“Opponents may receive much of the attention,” Leopold said. “It is their right to speak out. But it is clear that the majority believes this project should and must be built.”
Leopold cited bipartisan support in all three states the pipeline would cross, as well as support from labor unions and local governments, as evidence for her statement. Story continues HERE
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Dominion and environmental groups spent much of Thursday and Friday sparring over claims that construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would lead to significant damage to 38 miles worth of ridge line in West Virginia and Virginia–even going so far as to invoke images of mountaintop removal.
“For a 50 foot wide strip on some of these ridge lines, there won’t be trees replanted,” Dominion Spokesperson Aaron Ruby said in a phone interview Friday. “Otherwise, you would not notice. I mean, the contours of the ridge lines will remain exactly the same as they always have been, which is obviously not the case when you are talking about strip mining or mountain removal.”
A number of environmental groups offered criticism of Dominion and the proposed construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in a conference call Thursday morning–specifically looking at 19 miles of ridge lines in West Virginia and an additional 19 miles in Virginia.
“This is the best available data that is consistent across our entire study area,” Dan Shaffer, Communications and Research Coordinator for the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, said Thursday. “That study area is from the initial point of the pipeline in southern Harrison County southeast to the eastern border of Buckingham County in Virginia.”
A new five-page briefing paper highlights the work done using GIS mapping software, which finds that mountaintops would be removed between 10 and 60 feet along the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
“The whole point of this was to characterize areas of concern and get an idea of just how much of an issue ridge top removal is going to be,” Shaffer said. “And we were really surprised at just how much of this was going to happen and it’s geographic distribution throughout the route in West Virginia and western Virginia. It’s going to be a mess.”
Aaron Ruby shot back though, saying that the groups involved used the term mountaintop removal to invoke an image that is completely different than what Dominion is planning.
“The reality is we are not removing the tops of mountains,” he said. “That is a gross exaggeration and a total mis-characterization of what we are doing.” Story continues HERE
MANSFIELD OH- Judy Handmaker says she has cried over the Rover natural gas pipeline cutting through her family’s almost 80 acres of farmland on Ohio 545. Handmaker, 73, of Louisville, Ky., said her ancestors including Samuel Osbun, who served in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, settled in Richland County after the war, having owned farmland stretching from Richland Shale Road to Franklin-Church Road. “They came to Ohio because the land is good and rich,” she said.
Handmaker said she and her sister, Beth Houston Statzer of Virginia, are very distressed about what has happened to their family farm because of the pipeline. “We fought it. We hired an attorney to speak for us. I can’t begin to tell you how much our family is linked to the area,” said Handmaker. Their property is located next to Dayspring, the county home.
This serves as notice that a Motion to Rescind and Revise the DEIS has been filed by Friends of Nelson, Wild Virginia, Heartwood and Ernest Reed, intervenors, on Docket#CP15-554-000 et.al.Appendixes are available on the FERC library site.
On December 2, We The People held hearings to investigate the abuses of power and law being inflicted by FERC in communities across America.
The People’s Hearing was held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on December 2, 2016. 63 representatives from 15 states and the District of Columbia came to testify to the abuses of power and law inflicted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Over 150 people were in attendance of the hearing including reporters and congressional staff members.
We thank the legislators who sent representatives to join us:
Congressman Frank Pallone (Democrat from NJ, Ranking member on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce),
Congressman Morgan Griffith (Republican from Virginia),
Senator Maria Cantwell (Democrat from Washington, Ranking member on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources)
Senator Bob Casey (Democrat from Pennsylvania).
For more information and videos of hearings, check HERE
Residents voice concerns at Atlantic Coast Pipeline meeting in Elkins
ELKINS, W. Va. (WDTV) – A controversial issue that’s been going on in our area for sometime now involves the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The pipeline is a 600-mile long natural gas line that will go through Harrison, Lewis, Upshur, Randolph and Pocahontas counties. Wednesday night, many got to voice their thoughts on the project.
Ever since this has been brought about many have been concerned about the pipeline and its impact on water, safety and property owner’s rights. Wednesday’s meeting was designed to hear comments and concerns from folks in Randolph county. Many citizens were there voicing their concerns about the environment and the natural water ways of Elkins
“The destruction of the underground karsts, the springs, the water table. The steepness of the pipe. It’s a 42 inch pressure pipeline. Elkins Spring is going to be in the evacuation zone and the blasting zone. It’s taking out a lot of our friends cabins and homesteads. Just mass destruction to an area and the watershed. Just destroying the underground water tables,” said Daron Dean, of the Elkins Spring Resort.
A Dominion representative at the meeting says the pipeline is a good idea.
“The environmental impact study has indicated from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that these problems to the pipeline are minimal to the point where it really doesn’t expose any real environment significant impact,” explained Bob Fulton.
On May 21, 2014 –Marvin Winstead got something that changed his life.
“I’m sitting here minding my own business when one day a letter shows up from a company, telling me that my property is identified as being in the corridor of a proposed, natural gas pipeline.”
He did not receive the news well.
“It was infuriating. It’s saying, in their letter, what a big company they have. They were saying, as far as I was concerned, they were trying to intimidate me. ‘We’re a great, big company. We got the biggest this and the biggest that and so many billions. You know, we’re the big corporate bully and you’re the little guy we’re going to push around. That’s how it made me feel.”
Winstead is a farmer and Nash County Native. With the pipeline tunneling his property, he’s concerned about the impact it will have on his crops and the general safety of his community.
“If there is ever a leakage problem with that pipeline, if there’s ever an explosion, those people will be, you know, the potential is their home will be blown away and if they’re home, they’ll be blown away with it.”
Winstead helped organize a three county walk in November to oppose the project that included about 40 people.
Now he and an estimate 50-60 people are about to embark on a longer trek – 200 miles along the entire length of the pipeline in North Carolina. Organized by Walk to Protect Our People and the Places We Live (or APPL). The journey begin Saturday, March 4.
This massive pipeline would carry unnatural gas from the fracking fields of West Virginia across the Blue Ridge mountains to southeast Virginia and North Carolina traversing more than 20 steep mountains, requiring clear-cutting of our National forests, and crossing more than 1,900 streams and rivers. Yet FERC’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) doesn’t come close to addressing the pipeline’s potential for irreparable damage to wetlands, creeks, forests, and farmland. It also fails to acknowledge that the pipeline would encourage more fracking, lock us into costly, redundant infrastructure, and accelerate climate change for decades to come. Full story HERE
Community and Conservation Groups Blast FERCFindings on Fracked-Gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline
America’s next big pipeline fight is emerging in the mountain towns and farming communities of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. With federal regulators poised to rubber-stamp the proposed fracked-gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline, landowners, community leaders and their allies are taking inspiration from the water protectors at Standing Rock and vowing to stand together to stop it. In response to requests from numerous elected officials and organizations, FERC has extended the usual 45-day period for public comments; the deadline is April 6, 2017.PRESS RELEASE WITH CONTACT INFORMATION FERC DEIS
Greater Greenbrier Conservation Focus Area The Greater Greenbrier CFA encompasses the Greenbrier River watershed from the joining of the East and West Forks at Durbin downstream to the confluence with the New River. In the Allegheny Mountains Ecoregion, it includes a globally significant karst landscape surrounded by ridges and valleys of shale and sandstone.Complete PDF of Conservation Focus Area Plan (Draft)
Are the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline Necessary? An examination of the need for additional pipeline capacity into Virginia and Carolina’sComplete PDFPrepared for Southern Environmental Law Center and Appalachian Mountain Advocates
Landslides and the ACP December 28, 2016
Two reports have been submitted to FERC that substantiate the dramatically increased probability of landslides following the extensive excavation associated with construction of the proposed ACP and related access roads.
We will get back to you December 16, 2016 by Rick Webb
Dominion officials acknowledge that the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline faces significant environmental challenges due to construction across steep, highly-erodible, and landslide prone mountain landscape. They assure us, however, that project construction will adhere to the highest standards, and that the company will go “above and beyond” legal requirements. Yet they will not discuss details. Although Dominion representatives are available to discuss environmental issues with the public or the press, they are not actually prepared to provide answers to substantive questions. Continue
ACP Station not wanted or needed December 8, 2016
The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Buckingham County compressor station are not needed and not wanted by the communities they threaten and the Virginia counties they impact. There is growing opposition to the ACP project proposed to run some 600 miles through Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. For more information visit Friends of Buckingham County
Allegheny – Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA) Weekly Updates December 16, 2016 ABRA 109 December 9, 2016
Forest Fragmentation and the ACPThe Atlantic Coast Pipeline would pass through areas of outstanding biodiversity in Virginia and West Virginia, fragmenting core forests and threatening species that depend on interior forest habitat.