Author Archives: Ellen Bouton

News You May Have Missed

There’s been a lot going on – here are some news items from our In the News page you may have missed (many additional interesting news articles on that page):

Spruce Creek Camp Speaker Schedule, October 12-14

Spruce Creek Camp for the October 12, 2018, weekend: another lineup of great speakers and interesting activities.  Registration required, but there is still time to register!

Friday evening:

7:00 pm Richard Averitt – video of presentation given recently to the Congress on how this destructive project has affected his family.

8:00 pm VSEC – update on MVP tree sits


9 am Woody Greenberg – Brief history of Nelson, discussion of 1969 Hurricane Camille devastation and parallels to pipeline construction

10-11:30 am – Walk the property with Joyce Burton and Richard Averitt

11:30 am – Friends of Buckingham – compressor station at Union Hill

Lunch – Doug Wellman – alternatives to gas and coal power generation

1:30-5:00 – offsite activity – visit to steep slopes of proposed pipeline route on Roberts Mountain; visit to proposed HDD site at Wintergreen

5 pm – Circle of Protection


7 pm – Ben Cunningham on CSI

Campfire and musicians

UN Report Predicts Dire Consequences From Climate Change

A new report issued October 8, 2018, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body within the United Nations, found that a continuation of greenhouse gas emissions at their current rate could warm the atmosphere by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) by 2040.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of one of the IPCC working groups.

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and farreaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

Concerns about global warming have been one of the major arguments voiced in opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline due to the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, through leaks from natural gas pipelines, and because the construction of more natural gas pipelines encourages the expanded use of fossil fuels at a time when a greater reliance on renewable sources of energy should instead be encouraged.

[Thanks to the ABRA Update for this story.]

Spruce Creek Camp: Speakers and Events

Oct. 8th, 2018
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jill Averitt 434-262-3417,

Spruce Creek Camp: Speakers and Events

Nellysford, VA: Activists opposed to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) are inviting the public to camp on property in its path the first three weekends in October to learn why Nelson County residents are fighting to prevent its construction.

During the first weekend of camp, attendees heard talks and presentations from a number of Nelson County citizen experts, toured local properties that would be affected by the pipeline, and participated in selected topic discussions.

Woody Greenberg, a former reporter, retired Lynchburg College professor, and former member of the Board of Supervisors, and current Secretary of the Nelson Historical Society, gave a brief history of the county and described in detail the devastating effect Hurricane Camille had here due to the intense flooding and landslides that killed 124 people. He emphasized that unstable soils on our steep slopes could fail again during or after construction of a massive 42” pipeline.

Joyce Burton, Friends of Nelson land owner liaison, described how individual properties in the immediate vicinity would be impacted by the pipeline. Effects include contamination of drinking water, wetland and stream bed degradation, ridgetop and old growth tree removal, the economic impact on a newly built country inn, and in one case, elimination of an entire residence due to the proximity of the ACP pipe to its septic and water systems. She also described the inherent pitfalls of ACP’s plan to tunnel under the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway using the Horizontal Drilling (HDD) technique.

Peter Agelasto, President and Founder of the Rockfish Valley Foundation, led a tour of an old mill site near Spruce Creek in the historic area of Wintergreen Village and showed how the proposed pipeline would run thorough the valley’s only archeological site.

Host landowner and anti-pipeline activist, Richard Averitt, described the camp property and his family’s plans to build an eco-resort there. He led a tour of the site and showed the group the deleterious effects the ACP would have on Spruce Creek waterbody. He also showed a slide presentation given recently to the Congress on how this destructive project has affected his family.

Susan McSwain, a Nelson County master naturalist, led the group on a nature walk where she identified native and invasive plants.

Randy Whiting, a resident of Horizons Village adjoining the camp property, led a tour and showed the group where the pipeline would destroy a forest wetland in that community.

Todd Rath, a local cidery owner, related how the project would endanger the water supplies so necessary for his business and, in turn, impact local tourism.

Doug Wellman, vice president of Friends of Nelson, offered the group local alternatives to gas and coal power generation. There are a number of roof top solar projects in the county and nearby, on residences, schools and community centers. There are also solar alternative projects being done by the utilities and electric coops themselves as well as many nearby commercial projects. The energy source profile is changing but many laws and regulations still need to catch up. Off-shore wind, a stable energy source in many European countries is just now beginning to be exploited in Virginia. He also said that energy conservation remains an effective strategy especially for low income residents who would benefit from paying less in utility bills.

Ernie Reed, former president of Friends of Nelson and current member of the Board of Supervisors, discussed how the attendees could influence decision makers and the media in this fight and the importance of continuing to mount legal challenges. He advocated having as many tools as possible to fight pipelines in order to preserve our environment and property rights.

During the weekend of October 12-14, speakers will discuss Nelson County legal challenges, highlight our Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) program, and give a presentation on the proposed Buckingham compressor station; there will be more tours of local properties, and a “Circle of Protection” at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The Camp, which is free, will be held Fridays through Sundays the next two weekends of October. Pre-registration is required:  REGISTER HERE. “We feel finances should not be a barrier to enjoy the beauty of our area. Donations will be gratefully accepted for Friends of Nelson and Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice.”

Army Corps of Engineers Suspends MVP Permit in Virginia

On October 5, 2018, the US Army Corps of Engineers suspended the permit allowing the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross all streams and wetlands on its route in southwest Virginia. A similar permit for West Virginia water crossings was vacated on October 2 by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals. In his letter to MVP, William Walker, chief of the regulatory branch of the corps’ Norfolk division, said, “Effective immediately, you must stop all activities being done in reliance upon the authorization under the NWP,” referring to the Nationwide Permit 12 authorization that was issued to MVP in January 2018.

Because there have been and continue to be massive amounts of muddy runoff and other environmental risks from MVP construction, lawyers for Appalachian Mountain Advocates, which represented the Sierra Club and other conservation groups in the successful legal challenge of the West Virginia permit, sought an immediate suspension of the federal authorization they describe as inadequate to protect Virginia’s clean water.

After winning the case in West Virginia, Appalachian Mountain Advocates sent a letter to FERC asking it to issue a stop work order for the entire MVP project, since the MVP’s October 2017 FERC approval was conditional on it having all required permits from both state and federal agencies. With the Army Corps permits invalidated, Appalachian Mountain Advocates argued that FERC’s stop work order must apply to all construction along the MVP route, not just the pipeline’s water body crossings.

Read the press coverage in the Roanoke Times here.

SELC Asks FERC to Deny Dominion’s Tree Cutting Request

Photo by Marion Kanour

On October 3, 2018, Dominion, on behalf of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, asked FERC for permission to proceed with tree felling in certain areas of Virginia that FERC had not already authorized. On October 5, the Southern Environmental Law Center filed a letter asking FERC to deny the request and to issue a stop-work order in light of the fact that the Fourth Circuit has issued a stay of the Forest Service permit. Because much of Dominion’s filing was “privileged” and not available to the public, SELC also urged the FERC to make publicly available the maps referenced in the ACP request showing where tree felling would occur.