FERC Issues FEIS on ACP


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued its final Environmental Impact Statement on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on July 21, 2017. FERC has 90 days to make a decision on issuing a certificate of approval for the project.

The full statement can be found here: https://ferc.gov/industries/gas/enviro/eis/2017/07-21-17-FEIS.asp

The summary statement from FERC staff includes this paragraph:

“The FERC staff concludes that construction and operation of ACP and SHP would result in some adverse effects, such as impacts on steep slopes and adjacent waterbodies and associated aquatic resources; forested vegetation; Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, Roanoke logperch, Madison cave isopod, clubshell mussel, small whorled pogonia, and running buffalo clover; and karst, cave, subterranean habitat and the species associated with these habitats. Implementation of Atlantic and DETI’s respective impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures, as well as their adherence to staff’s recommendations in the EIS would further avoid, minimize, and mitigate these impacts. Most, but not all of these impacts, would be reduced to less-than-significant levels. These determinations are based on a review of the information provided by Atlantic and DETI in their applications to the FERC and supplemental filings in response to staff’s environmental information requests; field investigations; scoping; literature research; alternatives analyses; and consultations with federal, state, and local agencies, and other stakeholders.”

We note that the FERC staff makes little mention of input from the large number of experts in varied fields who have presented evidence of severe consequences, relying instead on “information provided by Atlantic and DETI in their applications to the FERC and supplemental filings in response to staff’s environmental information requests.”

Note also that these are a staff recommendations only; actual FERC permits need approval by the Commissioners (there is only one at the moment, with three more nominated but not yet approved by the Senate). and the ACP must receive other permits as well, e.g. from DEQ and the USFS.

Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA, of which Friends of Nelson is a member) issued a press release saying the EIS fails to assess whether the project is even needed (relying solely on the project developer’s claims of need), that numerous studies in recent years show the gas and utility sector is overbuilding natural gas infrastructure, and that the EIS glosses over the profound and permanent harm to water resources and drinking water supplies, forest ecosystems, wildlife and endangered species habitat, historic sites, agricultural resources, public lands including the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway, and local economies. A significant red flag for the ABRA is FERC’s reliance on Dominion’s pledges to mitigate harm to water resources rather than requiring the company to provide upfront detailed plans to be shared with the public prior to granting federal certification and the power of eminent domain. The press release also lists nine key points the EIS fails to adequately address.

Letter to Landowners on Nelson County ACP Route


Friends of Nelson has sent the following letter and invitation to Nelson County landowners on the ACP route:

Dear Landowner,

Do you have questions about eminent domain?

How the compensation amounts for landowners are determined?

What the legal process in eminent domain cases is?

What the timing of events is most likely to be?

What you can do to fight for your land?

What happens now?

If you have ever wondered about any of the above then please join Friends of Nelson, and lawyers from Appalachian Mountain Advocates for an informative Landowner Meeting on Thursday, August 3rd at 7pm, at the Rockfish Valley Community Center in Afton.

The guest speaker will be Chris Johns, a prominent Texas attorney who has not only handled many jury trials on pipeline cases but also teaches eminent domain and private-property rights at the University of Texas School of Law. He has created a primer on eminent domain and will be present to talk about the process of eminent domain and answer your questions on the subject.

Landowners who have property on the pipeline route or on an access roads are invited and encouraged to attend.

If you have any questions about this meeting please do not hesitate to contact Randy Whiting at 434-529-7247.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

DEQ Posts Info on Erosion & Stormwater Plans for ACP and MVP


Plans for erosion and sediment control, as well as for stormwater management, for the ACP and MVP were made available this week on the website of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The posting on the DEQ website states:

“Virginia state law and regulations establish that land disturbance associated with pipeline construction activities must meet Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) and Stormwater Management (SWM) requirements to protect surface water quality during and after construction completion. State law further mandates that natural gas pipeline utilities (and certain other utilities) meet the requirements for ESC and SWM under a DEQ approved Annual Standards and Specifications Program.

Under the required Annual Standards and Specifications Program utilities are not required to submit site specific ESC and SWM plans to DEQ for approval. However, as an additional measure to ensure protection of state waters DEQ has required the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) projects to submit their site specific ESC and SWM plans to DEQ for review and approval.

ACP and MVP site specific ESC and SWM plans will address every foot of land disturbance related to pipeline construction, including access roads and construction lay-down areas.”

Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition points out that, “The DEQ has previously stated it will review those plans (stormwater management and erosion and sediment control plans) separately from its review under the Clean Water Act Section 401. As a result, the State Water Control Board’s decision whether to certify that construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will not harm state waters will not be informed by the essential details that the erosion and runoff control plans should provide. This is a concern that ABRA and many of its members have voiced to DEQ and the Water Control Board.”

New Map: The ACP in Nelson County


Friends of Nelson’s Ben Cunningham has produced an interactive map showing the ACP route through Nelson County. See the map here (21MB so it may take a few moments to load). The 125 foot clear cut ACP right of way is shown in orange, the 1100 blast radius zone in light orange, and the access roads in red. You can zoom in by clicking control-+. Where is your property on the map?

Call Your State Representative: Tell DEQ to Protect Us


The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is currently speeding through the review of plans to cross hundreds of Virginia water bodies with the massive fracked-gas Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. Under the Clean Water Act, the DEQ has the authority to determine whether or not the pipeline mitigation plans meet our Commonwealth’s water quality standards.

Eight Virginia state representatives have already spoken to the DEQ asking them to protect Virginians and our water. We need you to call now and:

  • If your representative is one of the eight, thank them for their support
  • If your representative is NOT one of the eight, urge them to put Virginians over corporate profit and contact DEQ with our concerns!

An Appalachian Voices Web page lists the Representatives that have contacted DEQ, and those that have not, and provides contact information so you can call your representatives to thank them – or to urge them to protect the water we all rely upon.

Friends of Nelson Public Meeting, July 23, 2017


Join us at Rockfish Valley Community Center on Sunday July 23, 2017, 6:30 pm, for the latest updates on our pipeline fight and to hear David Sligh discuss Virginia Water Quality Permitting, the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Public comment period and public hearings and the current situation with the proposed route across National Forest Lands.