Author Archives: Ellen Bouton

1,000 Streams, 800 Wetlands: Send Your Comments

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline will cut through 1,000 streams and rivers and damage almost 800 acres of wetlands in Virginia, traversing rugged mountain terrain, steep slopes, and sensitive habitats, threatening water sources for both rural and urban Virginians.

Take action to tell Governor Northam and his state agencies to halt construction on these pipelines and require complete stream-by-stream analysis of their impact on water quality.

Governor Northam and his Department of Environmental Quality are asking for public comments on the impacts these pipelines will have on Virginia’s water quality — and they need to hear from you.

Comment period ends at midnight on May 30, 2018.

Send your comments to DEQ (instructions and addresses here).

Note: As of this writing (8 am on May 25) the DEQ Website has been completely down and offline since May 22. This causes a significant problem for people who are trying to use DEQ’s chart to find the official identifiers so that they can reference the specific crossings that they want to comment on. Friends of Nelson has posted the chart of ACP crossings here. You consider submitting comments through the USPS if the website problem persist.

Call the Governor’s office and demand a halt to construction until stream-by-stream analysis on construction impact is complete: 804-786-2211

Sign a petition (or sign all of them!) asking for stream-buy-stream impact studies:

New Videos from BXE

In preparation for their annual three day sharing/training, art-build and action in Washington DC, Beyond Extreme Energy has produced a series of educational videos on FERC, fracking, and extreme energy, created by Maren Poitras and Andrew Geller. (For information about the BXE weekend event, Crack FERC Open, June 23-25, 2018, go to the BXE Web page.)

Video 1: Are Oil and Gas Pipelines for the Public Good? Through the voices of those directly harmed, this video introduces eminent domain abuses and the growing movement of people from many regions fighting back.  View on YouTube.  View on Facebook.

Video 2: Is Natural Gas a Clean Alternative? The notion that fracked gas is a clean transition fuel is widespread. This video debunks the lie.  View on YouTube.  View on Facebook.

Video 3: Greed Pays: Pipelines and Profits, about how greed and profit are baked into the system.  View on YouTube.  View on Facebook.

Video 4: What is FERC? The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is the most dangerous federal agency many Americans have never heard of. We care about FERC because it is in charge of approving–or not–interstate gas pipelines and infrastructure projects. FERC has turned down only 2 gas pipeline projects out of over 500 submitted over the past 30 years. In a world where the impacts of fossil-fuel induced climate change are so clear, and so devastating, it’s absolutely necessary that FERC be replaced with an agency dedicated to an active and just transition off fossil fuels.  View on YouTube.  View on Facebook.

Important Upcoming Events

Environmental Justice for Union Hill
Come join concerned citizens to stand with Union Hill and Buckingham residents as they present the environmental justice issues to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice.  Wednesday, May 30 at 9 AM – 6 PM, VCE Building, Buckingham Courthouse.  Additional info here.

Native Plant Rescues for Landowners on the Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline Route in Nelson County, June 2-3, 2018.  Blackberry Botanicals (BB) in conjunction with United Plant Savers is in the process of coordinating several plant rescue operations due to the destruction imminent in the path of several fracked gas pipelines that are slated to come through West Virginia and Virginia. On June 2-3, 2018, they will meet with interested landowners to walk the proposed pipeline route located on their property to identify and mark native medicinal plants.  If you are a landowner and would like to participate in having plants saved or if you would like to be a volunteer please contact Sara Agelasto at

An art exhibition JUM JIRAPAN, BOSSA NOVA Sidetracks Music – 310 2nd St SE, Charlottesville, VA. June 2 – 30, 2018 Art Opening & Pop Up Café – Saturday, June 2 from 2 to 5 PM.  The event benefits Friends of Nelson.

FERC Extends Comment Period on Policy Review

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has extended the comment period for receiving input from the public on the agency’s review of its policy on certifying natural gas pipelines and related facilities. The parameters of the FERC review and the original comment deadline of June 25 was set forth in an April 25, 2018 Federal Register Notice. The new deadline for comments to be filed is July 25, 2018. Further details here.

Impact Table of Waters Crossed by ACP

All written comments submitted to DEQ by the May 30, 2018, deadline must refer to a specific wetland or stream crossing, and comments must reference exact wetlands and streams crossings by the identifiers.  Unfortunately, as of May 24, 2018, the DEQ Website has been down for over 24 hours, meaning no one can access the chart of identifiers on that DEQ Website.  Friends of Nelson has put the table on our Website for your convenience and use.

Here is the table of crossing identifiers for the ACP project

We are waiting to hear whether the May 30 deadline for comments will be extended because of the problems people have encountered with the DEQ Website.  Stay tuned.

Upcoming Public Hearing on Nelson Water Sale

In its issue for May 24, 2018, the Nelson County Times reported, Public hearing set on water sale as Service Authority, Atlantic Coast Pipeline near $3.5M deal. The Nelson County Service Authority’s Board of Directors made no decision on a contract with ACP, but at their recent meeting moved forward in the process by setting a public hearing on the water rates set forth in the potential contract, which could result in up to $3.5 million for the Authority. The hearing will take place at 2 p.m. June 21, 2018, at the Service Authority Administrative Building, 620 Cooperative Way, Arrington, VA 22922, in the Colleen Industrial Park.

According to George Miller, the Service Authority’s Executive Director, under the preliminary, “not yet” finalized contract ACP would pay a rate of more than 10 cents per gallon, which is 10 times what all other Service Authority customers in the area pay. Sourcing the water from Lake Monacan at Stoney Creek, the Service Authority would contract to provide 200 gallons per minute, up to 40,000 gallons of water per day from July 2018 through June 2020 at a pressure of 60 pounds per square inch. ACP would pay $500,000 for installation and connection of a 3-inch meter (compared to approximately $64,000 connection fee to other customers for a similar meter). Miller said a contract of this size would provide a little more breathing room when it comes to dealing with the authority’s monetary obligations.

The Nelson County Times article notes that, “The contract specifies provision of water is subject to Wintergreen’s water conservation and emergency action plan, which would prioritize the provision of potable water for human consumption in the event of an emergency water shortage.”

The water would primarily be used for the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) process that would bore a path for the pipeline under the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail at Reeds Gap, but could be used for other construction as well. ACP says purchasing water from the Service Authority would eliminate the need to haul in water every day, and that about “10 trips by tankers per day would be eliminated, reducing traffic and wear on Nelson roads.” DEQ requires that all water be treated before discharge, and ACP says that “water that will be used as part of the HDD drilling fluid will be ‘hauled off.'”

No information was provided on how many tanker trips per day would be required to “haul off” the water, nor on where the water would be discharged.

A relevant letter to the editor in the Nelson County Times asks Nelson County officialdom, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, to Think before selling our water.  Another in the Daily Progress says Pipeline negotiations questioned.