Category Archives: Citizen Surveillance

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Noncompliance

DPMC photo – Randolph County WV, ACP milepost 60

Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition’s Pipeline Air Force, a component of the Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI), has conducted multiple surveillance flights over Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) construction areas in West Virginia in recent months.

The CSI photos of ACP construction reveal that installation of runoff and erosion and sediment controls is occurring after rather than before or concurrent with construction-related earth disturbance. Their studies of previous pipeline projects, along with continuing reports of problems with other pipelines under construction in the region, indicate that delayed installation of runoff and erosion and sediment controls is standard industry practice and a major cause of water resource degradation.

Dominion Energy has taken this delayed approach to installation of environmental controls in the first phases of ACP construction. Apparently it intends to build the entire project on this incautious and non compliant basis.

More information, including aerial photos, is provided on the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition website:  see Industry-Standard Noncompliance.

The report includes a small subset of the thousands of aerial photos of ACP construction obtained by the CSI. Consistent with observations of other pipeline projects in the region, these photos provide compelling evidence that citizen oversight of pipeline construction is needed.

CSI Drone Training – Buckingham

Friends of Buckingham and the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance are excited to announce the date of our first Buckingham Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) drone monitoring training on Saturday, August 4, from 10:00am – 2:00pm at Union Hill Baptist Church.

The purpose of this training is to introduce volunteers to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to monitor construction and preconstruction activities of the fracked gas pipelines that threaten our communities.

Topics to be covered are as follows:

  • Why use drones?
  • Which drones can you use?
  • Flying Safely: Do’s & Don’t’s
  • Flying Legally: Rules of the air
  • What and where to monitor?
  • Taking useful photos and videos
  • Advanced mapping missions
  • Networking with your neighbors

The CSI will have two DJI Mavic Pro drones present for demonstration. If you own or have access to your own drone, please bring it with you!

This training will include an indoor classroom-style presentation in the church Lounge followed by a flight and mapping-mission demonstration in the soccer field outside. Lunch will be provided, so please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions.

Important: It is our hope with this program to create a network of citizen aerial monitors across our region who can respond to and document construction non-compliance and environmental degradation at the hands of ACP and MVP developers. This training is not an end-all-be-all for how to fly, you’ll need to practice flying on your own to become proficient. If you cannot attend due to scheduling conflicts or distance, don’t fret, we plan on holding more of these trainings in the coming weeks and months in different communities along the proposed ACP route. We also plan to have a live-stream video of this training so stay tuned for updates on how to access that.

Space is limited to 50 people.

Please direct any questions or concerns to Ben Cunningham, at or 434-882-1893.

More Than 150 MVP Water Quality Violations Revealed

Citizens trained in water quality monitoring have been on the ground since early spring to keep tabs on Mountain Valley Pipeline construction work. They have documented more than 150 problems of failed erosion controls that have left streams and fields muddied and even closed one road down. Where is the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality?

July 13, 2018 press release from the Sierra Club. Contact: Doug Jackson, 202.495.3045 or

More Than 150 MVP Water Quality Violations Revealed by Clean Water Advocates’ New Map Project – Mountain Valley Watch’s Map Shows Location and Imagery from Route of Fracked Gas Pipeline

Today, Mountain Valley Watch, a volunteer organization of concerned community members monitoring construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, released its Incident Reporting Map, giving the public and decision makers the first-ever cumulative look at the project’s consistent and ongoing water quality violations. The map details locations, dates, descriptions, and photos of erosion control failures and evidence of water pollution caused by construction of the MVP.

More than 150 incidents are shown on the Mountain Valley Watch Incident Report Map.

Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Pipelines Campaign Coordinator Kirk Bowers said, “This map shows an alarming pattern of erosion control problems, with more than 150 incidents observed since mid-April. As you can clearly see from the photos taken by observers, there is no doubt that MVP and Precision Pipeline failed to prevent sediment from polluting our streams and wetlands.

“Even though they are responsible for construction inspection, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality was noticeably absent from MVP construction sites until mid-May. DEQ finally issued a toothless Notice of Violation, but it is too little, too late. There is no right way to build these fracked gas pipelines. The only way to truly protect our water, climate, and communities from the fracked gas MVP is to abandon the project, which is not even needed.”

Mountain Valley Watch Administrator Jason Shelton said, “Volunteers and landowners have shown the approved erosion and sediment control devices are consistently ineffective and overwhelmed by typical Appalachian storms. The incident mapping shows why Virginians needed DEQ onsite from the beginning of construction.”

Russell Chisholm with Protect Our Water Heritage Rights (POWHR) said, “The incidents shown in this map clearly indicate not only a need for increased presence of DEQ inspectors on the site of construction, but also for DEQ to be more willing to hold the corporation and its contractors accountable to the plans that were approved by the agency for the project. Volunteers have been doing a vast amount of work monitoring and reporting the issues they see in their own communities, but it’s time for DEQ to step up and take real enforcement action. DEQ should be enforcing the law, not managing mitigation after damage has already been done.”

CSI Resources

Friends of Nelson and the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance are striving to connect people with the resources and tools they need to scrutinize, monitor, and fight the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) is a program developed by the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance and its member organizations to support citizen efforts to ensure strict application of environmental laws and regulations in the construction and operation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The need for citizen oversight of pipeline construction has been made clear by observations of recent pipeline projects and inadequate regulatory agency response to repeated violations and water resource harm.

On Friday June 29, 2018, CSI held a drop-in training session at Rockfish Valley Community Center, designed to teach people about the CSI Mapping System and to introduce the many resources and materials available from CSI.

You can re-watch the livestream recording of the Mapping System Walkthrough by clicking here. Have a lesson in using our geographic information system!

Here are some links to resources and materials that should help you link into the CSI program as valuable community contributors:

CSI volunteer options include:

  • Citizen Observers
  • Stream Monitoring Program Volunteers
  • Research and Administration Volunteers
  • CSI First Responders
  • Pipeline Air Force
  • CSI Incident Review

For details see the CSI Outreach Flyer. And share the flyer with friends and family who might be interested! The more volunteers the better!

Please direct any further questions to Ben Cunningham, CSI Coordinator –, or contact Lew Freeman, Exec. Director of ABRA – or 540-468-2769.

Pipeline CSI Mapping Training

Friday, June 29, 2018, drop in, 10 AM – 4 PM, Rockfish Valley Community Center

Trying to stop the ACP but don’t have a map?

Ben Cunningham of Friends of Nelson and the Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) is teaching folks how to use the CSI Online Mapping System from 10am to 4pm Friday the 29th, with a group session at 2pm being broadcast for those who can’t make it. Stop by the Rockfish Lounge next to Trager Bros Coffee in the Rockfish Valley Community Center anytime Friday between 10 and 4 to learn your way around the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Whether you are a trod-upon landowner, a CSI volunteer stream monitor, a fired-up pipeline fighter, or a concerned citizen, this day of training is for you!

This Online Mapping System Walkthrough is meant to help you and your network feel confident and competent when navigating the CSI’s high-tech geographic information system (GIS), which exists to empower every-day people to protect themselves with good intelligence.

No sign-up necessary! Just show up anytime between 10 and 4 with whatever questions you might have about the CSI program and Ben will do his best to answer them and show you the ropes of the Online Mapping System. All are welcome, coffee and snacks provided!

Additional information on our Events page or on Facebook.

The Truth Is in the Proof

The Truth Is in the Proof
: excellent new video focusing on the Limpert property in Highland County.

What if anything can stop the construction of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines? The level of frustration is growing as more people wake up to the reality that the pipelines pose significant danger to fragile ecosystems along their paths. Concerned citizens, landowners, lawmakers, environmentalists and many government officials continue to protest.  Join them!