Category Archives: Citizen Activism

Many Comments Filed with FERC Opposing Extra Time for Dominion

Dominion 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. The comment period opened on June 17, 2020, and the deadline for comments was 5 pm on Thursday, July 2, 2020. We are pleased to report that many people submitted comments opposing a construction extension for this unnecessary pipeline.

Here are links to a few of the powerful submissions opposing the extension:

  • Southern Environmental Law Center, Appalachian Mountain Advocates, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Johns & Counsel PLLC filed a Motion to Intervene and Comments in Opposition to Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s request for extension of its Certificate in FERC Docket Nos. CP15-554-000 et seq. & CP15-555-000 et seq. The filing was made on behalf of Conservation Groups and Landowners.
  • Comments on behalf of Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA) submitted to FERC in opposition to the extension of the certificate for the ACP.  Note that the comments themselves are only 3 pages.  The rest are referenced attachments (Tom Hadwin’s paper released in January on need and the recently released landslide paper).
  • Comments from members of the Virginia General Assembly:  “As members of the Virginia General Assembly each representing tens of thousands of Virginians, we respectfully request that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission deny an extension of the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Further, we also request that the Commission deny any requests from Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, for permission to cut trees, clear land, or install pipe in the Commonwealth.”  [Signed by Senators Creigh Deeds, John Bell, Jennifer Boysko, John Edwards, Ghazala Hashmi; Delegates Betsy Carr, Patrick Hope, Elizabeth Guzman, Chris Hurst, Mark Keam, Ken Plum, Sam Rasoul, Danica Roem, Kathy Tran]
  • Comments from members of the North Carolina General Assembly, explaining why “The ACP is unnecessary to meet our energy demands in North Carolina, and we are concerned that harmful impacts on communities, the environment, and ratepayers outweigh any potential benefits to North Carolina’s citizens. We urge FERC to deny ACP’s request for a two-year extension to construct the pipeline and place it into service.”  [Signed by 8 Senators and fifteen Representatives]

There were many, many other eloquent and detailed comments in opposition from both individuals and organizations filed during the 15-day comment period.  To see all the comments, go to https://elibrary.ferc.gov/, set the date range to 06/17/202 through 07/02/2020, un-click “Issuance” (so the only checked category is “Submittal”), for Library click “Natural Gas,” enter CP15-554 in the Docket Number box, and then click Submit at the bottom of the page.  The results pages give a variety of options for viewing the individual submissions.

“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

Your Voice Is Needed

A request from Wild Virginia:

The Trump administration has acted to weaken Virginia’s ability to protect our water from projects like the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines.

We need your voice!

Please call Attorney General Mark Herring today at 804-786-2071.
Tell him to challenge an illegal regulation just finalized by the Trump administration to weaken state powers under the Clean Water Act

Background:
Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has now finalized a change to the regulation governing states’ authorities under section 401 of the Clean Water Act; a portion of the law through which Congress intended to retain historic state authorities over their own environments and to veto or alter federally-licensed projects that would damage their waters and their people.

Last October, Wild Virginia sent this letter to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring urging him to strongly oppose this regulatory change and many of you contacted him as well. We are grateful that AG Herring acted in our interest to preserve Virginia’s authority by joining 23 other states in comments to the EPA opposing this move. Predictably, EPA ignored those comments and others from thousands of citizens across the country, in favor of industry interests who seek to avoid proper environmental regulation.

Now, it’s time for our Attorney General to go to court to defeat EPA’s unlawful action. 

Please join us in calling on the Attorney General today! (and thank him for his previous action) As stated in our letter from last year: The Commonwealth of Virginia, since its founding, has a strong history of independence and we must not now defer to the wishes of a President who would trample our rights in favor of fossil fuel companies and others who would despoil our state for profit. 

Please take a moment to add your voice and urge Mark Herring to stand up for our right to protect our water 804-786-2071.

A Look Back

On May 28, 2020, we posted an Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance commentary, Six Years and Counting! reflecting on the six years of our fight against Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline. There was no real demand or need in 2014, and there is even less demand or need in 2020.

Take a look back with two videos, both made in 2015.  The arguments made in the videos are still good – and six years later, the ACP is nowhere near a done deal!

In 2015, Arlo Bloom was a 14-year-old Nelson County resident who would be a 9th grader at Nelson County High School in September 2015. For his 8th grade end of the year school project he created an 18-minute documentary about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the issues concerning it.  In the documentary, speaking about the ACP, Connie Brennan, then a member of the Nelson County Board of Supervisors and now Vice President of Friends of Nelson, says, “Young people really need to take this seriously because this is our land, this is our world, and we need all of you to stand up and say, ‘Hey! Hello! You’re leaving all of this to us! What can we do? What should we be doing? What do we want to see for the future?’”


Julie Burns’ brother and sister-in-law, George McCollough and Anna Savoia, made a wonderful video titled “No Pipeline, Say the Friends of Nelson.” You may recognize some of your neighbors in the 29 minute film, including the late John Ed Purvis, a passionate pipeline opponent.  After six years, Julie has just stepped down as Friends of Nelson Board member and Secretary – thanks, Julie!

Six Years and Counting!

From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update 278, May 28, 2020:

It was six years ago this week that Dominion Energy began contacting local officials in Virginia and West Virginia to advise them of the company’s plans to build a natural gas pipeline through their communities. Initially called the Southeast Reliability Project, the pipeline was to cost $4 billion and be operational by end of 2018. In September, the project was re-named the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Duke Energy was named as a partner. Also in September 2014, the organization of ABRA was announced.

In its briefings of county boards that summer, Dominion representatives stated:

  • The project would be the “energy equivalent of broadband infrastructure,” providing a “key driver in a community’s ability to attract economic development.”
  • It would promote price stability and enhance economic opportunity.
  • Substantial economic benefits including a substantial number of well-paying construction jobs and additional tax base in communities along the route” would be provided.
  • Dominion looks forward to working with affected landowners and communities “to ensure that we can optimize the balance of environmental stewardship and economic opportunity that is created” by the project.

As of May 2020:

  • The project, approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on October 13, 2017, is lacking 8 key permits, primarily as the result of lawsuits brought by ABRA members and allied organizations. The missing permits are those from the Forest Service, Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Air Pollution Control Board and needed permits from four Army Corps of Engineers Districts.
  • Construction on the project has remained suspended since December 2018, 17-months ago.
  • The estimated cost of the ACP is now $8 billion, twice the original estimate.
  • The ACP, if built, is not expected to be operational until 2022, 3-years later than planned.

The final chapter of this story has yet to be written. ABRA members and supporters can take satisfaction in the fact that they have had a major part in influencing the story so far.

Join ARTivism on Thursdays through June

Join ARTivism from 7-8 on Thursday evenings through June as they bring us the SUN SiNG in Place Concert Series (May 21, June 4, June 18) and Street SiNG Workshop Series (May 14, May 28, June 11, June 25).

STREET SiNG Workshops are bi-weekly hour long zoom workshops to cultivate skills, art and agreements for future environmental events in Virginia. Each workshop will have time for a teach in and time for participation. Pre-registration required. Additional information here.

“SUN SiNG iN PLACE” is an online concert series from ARTivism Virginia featuring music from individual SUN SiNG Collective members and those they’re quarantined with, as well as guest ARTivists and leaders in the fight against the Mountain Valley, Atlantic Coast, and MVP Southgate pipelines, and other threatening fracked gas infrastructure in our region.

Environmental resistance music, poetry, guest speaker updates, video and action alerts. Uplift promised.  Live on Facebook: www.facebook.com/artivismvirginia/ on Vimeo: www.vimeo.com/artivismvirginia/ and and on YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/artivismvirginia/ Event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/211320550098945/20550098945/

See the May 7 concert here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTL9prwtaoo