Take the bus to Richmond for the Water Is Life Rally and Concert! Two buses are chartered to travel to Richmond on December 2nd for the Rally and Concert. There are 40 free bus tickets available for people to travel to Richmond. Bus stops in Harrisonburg, Staunton and Charlottesville for riders.
Friends of Wintergreen announced today that nearly 1,000 Wintergreen property owners, a number that is growing daily, plan to individually sue the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for damages to their property if the pipeline company seizes land used by the Wintergreen community. These actions follow a rare split-decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve the 600-mile, 42-inch compressed natural gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and grant the private pipeline company the power to use eminent domain to seize private land, including 7-acres of common land at Wintergreen.
“By approving the ACP, FERC effectively guarantees a 14% profit (or over $200 million a year) to the Dominion-managed pipeline company, a return that comes at the expense of many unwilling, uncompensated or under-compensated Virginia landowners”. In the case of Wintergreen property owners, the land to be seized by the pipeline will come with no compensation to individual property owners, but significant inconvenience and damage to their property values” said Jonathan Ansell, Chairman of Friends of Wintergreen, Inc.
Most of the individual “inverse condemnation” lawsuits will be managed by the Norfolk-based eminent domain law firm, Waldo & Lyle PC. According to Brian Kunze, Partner at the firm: “Under the US Constitution and Virginia law, no private property can be damaged or taken for public use without just compensation to the owner. If a property owner does not receive compensation for the taking of land, as is the case for nearly 4,000 individual Wintergreen owners, these owners are entitled to obtain compensation under a legal procedure known as “inverse condemnation”. We intend to file these cases the day after the ACP takes Wintergreen property”.
Separately, Friends of Wintergreen and the Wintergreen Property Owners Association (WPOA) filed a legal action with FERC to halt the construction of the pipeline until a full rehearing is completed. “We believe that FERC’s approval of the pipeline was arbitrary, capricious and not supported by the substantial evidence and alternatives we and others have provided”, said Jay Roberts, Executive Director of the WPOA. “On October 13, the FERC Commission voted 2 to 1 to approve the ACP, a rare split-decision in a federal agency where 98% of votes are unanimous”, noted Ansell. The dissenting opinion was issued by a Commissioner with seven years experience on the FERC Commission; the two Commissioners who approved the ACP were each on the job for about 60 days.
Friends of Wintergreen, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to protecting and enhancing the value, beauty, integrity, and sustainability of the Wintergreen VA area.
Kay Ferguson with ARTivism speaks about the December 2, 2017 Water is Life Rally and Concert
An editorial in the Charlotte NC News & Observer, published on November 18, 2017, says the ACP will slow conversion to renewable energy.
“The pipeline will not be a lifeline for eastern North Carolina. It will instead delay Duke from more urgently converting to renewable sources. This is not a theoretical issue. Eastern North Carolina has felt the flooding from hurricanes intensified by global warming, and it is feeling the encroachment of rising sea levels. What’s in eastern North Carolina’s best interest with regard to energy sources is the same as what’s in the world’s best interest. Build more wind turbines and solar arrays and encourage the rapidly improving battery technology for storing solar power. Those steps – not running a 50-foot wide swath through eastern North Carolina for the pipeline – represent the best path for the state’s energy future.”
A November 18, 2017, article in the Buckhannon WV Record Delta is titled “Pipeline starting April 1.” It begins, “Construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project is expected to begin on April 1, 2018, and that is not an April Fool’s joke. Mike Cozad, a third-party contractor for ACP, came to the Upshur County Commission’s weekly meeting Thursday to provide commissioners with a timeline and update on the building of the 42-inch, 600-mile natural gas pipeline that will extend from Harrison County, West Virginia to Robeson County, North Carolina.”
The article notes that out-of-state people working for the ACP or it’s contractors are already arriving, as the vanguard of the expected influx in March 2018. “In the latter part of March, you’ll see a whole lot of people coming in here and getting set up with the anticipated start date (of construction) 1 April 2018. Prior to that, we will be dropping trees, but that’s a much smaller impact – they’re just going out, felling the trees and moving on. …. Each construction spread will be 400 to 600 people, depending on the contractor.”
Also at the County Commissioner’s weekly meeting was April Pierson-Keating, a member of Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance. She pointed out “a few things that might counter the rosy picture that Dominion (ACP) is painting of this project. There are numerous permits that this pipeline still needs. The certification from FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) is being challenged by several community groups and then lawyer groups that are helping them take the case.”
She reminded the Commissioners (and Mr. Cozad) that North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality has not yet issued Section 401 Water Quality Certification to ACP, and that ACP/Dominion contractors won’t necessarily hire Upshur County workers, but rather, employees from other counties in West Virginia or elsewhere. And, she said, “We believe that the tax money that is going to be coming in and the few jobs that are going to be going to West Virginians are offset by lower property values, damage to the water and long-term damage to our economy in terms of tourism and other things. I’m not asking you to do anything today. I’m just trying to provide a counter and a balance to the happy-dappy, rosy picture and also to let you know that there are a lot of permits outstanding, there are hearings and trials coming up, so the timeline they expect may be pushed back.”
Mr. Cozad, the contractor for the ACP, actually agreed that most benefits would be short term, saying, “The bigger impact is going to be short term, of course, while construction is going on. There will still be some long-term jobs, but she’s correct that the number’s probably not that much. They are intending to hire as many local people as possible. They may come from other counties, but they are, in my mind, local people.”
Few local jobs, especially few long-term jobs – just as we’ve been saying here in Virginia!
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality must conduct a site-specific review everywhere the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would cross a Virginia lake, river, or stream.
Write to Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward and DEQ Director David Paylor:
Molly Ward: email@example.com, 804.786.0044.
David Paylor: firstname.lastname@example.org, 804.698.4020.
You can sign a petition to Governor McAuliffe and members of the State Water Control Board here: http://appvoices.org/fracking/protect-va-waters/
Attend the Water is Life Rally & Concert on Saturday, December 2nd, in Richmond. Event details here.
Show up in solidarity and protest at the Virginia Water Control Board final hearings on the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines:
- Mountain Valley Pipeline: 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, December 6, 2017, and Thursday, December 7, 2017. Location: Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA 23222.
- Atlantic Coast Pipeline: 9:30 a.m., Monday, December 11, 2017, and Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Location: Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA 23222.
You can find the agendas here.