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):

Tell FERC: Time’s Up for Dominion!


Dominion has asked FERC for a two year extension on its expiring certificate to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. WITHOUT THE EXTENSION, NO ACP CONSTRUCTION COULD HAPPEN AFTER OCTOBER 13, 2020.

Submit your comments to FERC by 5 pm on Thursday, July 2, 2020, asking FERC to DENY Dominion’s request for an extension! Be sure to cite the ACP docket number in your comments, CP15-554.

In their June 17 Notice of Request for Extension of Time, FERC says, “The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and three copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20426.” Note that comments sent in paper must also arrive at FERC by 5 pm on July 2.

ABRA has put together a helpful sheet of information on how to file with FERC as an individual or as an organization.

For talking points, see:

The eight permits the ACP is still missing are explained here.

Forest Service Cautioned Against Relying on FERC’s EIS for the ACP


From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update #282, June 25, 2020

The U.S. Forest Service has been cautioned that it should not depend upon the reliability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) developed in 2017 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as the agency develops a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the project. The Forest Service announced on June 11 that it was developing a SEIS in response to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ vacating of the Forest Service permit for the ACP. While one portion of that opinion (e.g. authority to grant the ACP the right to cross the Appalachian Trail) was overturned on June 15 by the U.S. Supreme Court, several deficiencies in the permit for the ACP are required to be remedied by the Forest Service before it can issue the ACP a new permit. The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) stated in a June 22 letter to the Forest Service:

The Forest Service cannot continue to rely on FERC’s obsolete FEIS. The original analyses of potential alternatives to the project and the environmental consequences of its risky and costly preferred route are in question. Significant, new and relevant information related to endangered and threatened species, water quality, landslides and slope failures, environmental justice communities, and climate change demonstrates the original analysis is stale and incapable of allowing effective review of the environmental consequences of the project. Meanwhile, the energy landscape of the region the ACP purports to serve also has transformed dramatically, the costs of the project have ballooned, and its timeline has been pushed back.

A motion was filed with FERC on May 30 by SELC, Appalachian Mountain Advocates and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation asking that FERC conduct an SEIS for the ACP to address significant new information bearing on the project’s environmental impacts.

New Biological Assessment Filed With FERC, But Not Made Public

From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update #282, June 25, 2020

Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc. filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on June 22 a new Biological Assessment (BA) for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), but designated the information as “privileged and confidential” and thus not available to the public. The new BA, which was developed in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is a necessary step toward the issuance of a new Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement (BiOp/ITC) for the ACP, as required under the Endangered Species Act. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals had previously twice vacated the BiOp/ITC for the ACP, which led to construction activity on the ACP being suspended in December 2018.

Southern Environmental law Center wrote FERC on June 24 requesting that a public version of the new BA be posted on the FERC docket within five business days (by June 30), in accordance with statutory requirements.

“Robeson Rises” Film Screening and Panel


Join the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter on Wednesday, July 1 for a free film screening of “Robeson Rises,” followed by group discussion from panelists fighting pipelines across VA, NC and WV.  . The film, by Michael Pogoloff, is a project of EcoRobeson, Appalachian Voices and Green Hero Films.

Pre-register for free tickets here.  You will receive the link after registering.

The Sierra Club is honored to have as panelists: Donna Chavis of Lumberton, NC (Atlantic Coast Pipeline), Alma White of Chesapeake, VA (Southside Connector); La’Veesha Allen Rollins of Charles City County (Header Improvement Project, C4GT, Chickahominy Gas Plants); Lynn Wilson of Henrico, VA (Header Improvement Project); Chad Oba of Buckingham, VA (Atlantic Coast Pipeline); and Maury Johnson of Monroe, WV (Mountain Valley Pipeline)
*Please check back for event updates*

Wednesday, July 1, 6:30-8:00pm
6:40-7:00pm Film Screening
7:00-7:30pm Panelist Presentation
7:30-8:00pm Q&A
Questions? Please contact jessica.sims@sierraclub.org
The film is being presented through Working Films

New Report: Impact of Pipelines Crossing Streams and Rivers


From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update 281, June 18, 2020

West Virginia Rivers Coalition and Trout Unlimited have released a new report [June 2020] discussing the impact pipeline construction has on rivers and streams. Reducing Impacts of Pipelines Crossing Rivers and Streams notes that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline routes include over 2,600 waterbody crossings in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, including approximately 250 rivers and streams containing species of concern such as native and naturally reproducing trout, anadromous fish and sensitive mussels. The 7-page study discusses the various methods used for pipelines to cross streams and rivers and includes several case studies that document the environmental challenges posed by pipelines crossing water bodies.