Category Archives: Clean Energy

Charlotte NC Editorial Opposes Pipeline

An editorial in the Charlotte NC News & Observer, published on November 18, 2017, says the ACP will slow conversion to renewable energy.

“The pipeline will not be a lifeline for eastern North Carolina. It will instead delay Duke from more urgently converting to renewable sources. This is not a theoretical issue. Eastern North Carolina has felt the flooding from hurricanes intensified by global warming, and it is feeling the encroachment of rising sea levels. What’s in eastern North Carolina’s best interest with regard to energy sources is the same as what’s in the world’s best interest. Build more wind turbines and solar arrays and encourage the rapidly improving battery technology for storing solar power. Those steps – not running a 50-foot wide swath through eastern North Carolina for the pipeline – represent the best path for the state’s energy future.”

McAuliffe’s Folly: The Atlantic “Trump” Pipeline


The November 12, 2017, Huffington Post asks, “Is outgoing Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe a climate change denier?” It notes that just asking the question “is bound to offend the governor and some of his supporters,” who list his efforts to reduce emissions and his very recent return from the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23), where he signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing Virginia to reduce carbon emissions (after he leaves office) as part of the Under2Coalition.

But, the article continues, “Never mind that close observers have called McAuliffe’s record on climate change ‘abysmal’ and ‘marred by contradictions and empty rhetoric,'” that by joining in November 2017 Virginia came very late to the Under2Coalition, formed in May 2015 and already including 180 jurisdictions. And “never mind that McAuliffe has spent the past three years as the state’s biggest cheerleader for two massive and controversial fracked gas pipelines, that, according to recent estimates, will produce greenhouse gases equivalent to that produced by 45 coal fired plants or 158 million metric tons per year, more than doubling Virginia’s carbon footprint.”

The article goes on to discuss

  • A Moment of Choice for Virginia and Terry McAuliffe – How the Water Control Board hearings in December are an opportunity for “an historic choice for climate change action – or climate change denial” as McAuliffe, after belatedly signing on to the Under2Coalition, is “trying to write the final chapter of his gubernatorial narrative – or the preface to his next campaign.” But, “If these pipelines are approved, Terry McAuliffe will forever be where any Democratic politician does not want to be, particularly in a Democratic primary – firmly on the side of climate change denier in chief Donald Trump.”
  • The Atlantic “Trump” Pipeline – Less than a week after taking office, Trump released a list of top 50 domestic priorities, including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, saying the permitting process was done. Actual fact, of course, is that the process is not done, and since January “the public debate and the legal, regulatory and political terrains have shifted decidedly against these pipelines. The tide has started to turn – and smart politicians are catching on fast.”
  • The Anti-Pipeline Movement Grows Strong – “The opposition to these pipelines is growing and is not going away. Indeed, the scope of opposition activity over the past few months has been breathtaking.”
  • The Legal Terrain Shifts Beneath McAuliffe’s Feet – In August two different federal appeals courts issued rulings on two different pipelines (in New York and in Florida) making it “much more difficult for these pipelines to survive judicial scrutiny,” and in early November a court issued an order halting a third pipeline.
  • Regulatory Agencies Start to Balk – Both NC and WV state environmental agencies delayed approvals and demanded new and additional information from pipeline proposers. Two brand-new Trump appointees to FERC, who gave FERC a quorum of three, approved both the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines, with an almost unheard of stinging dissent from veteran FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. On election day, “Virginia Democrats swept all three statewide offices and erased what many thought was an insurmountable 66-34 Republican majority in the House of Delegates.” Dominion also lost big: “Thirteen newly elected members of the House of Delegates – fully one quarter of the caucus – were elected on a platform that included signing the Activate Virginia pledge. Justin Fairfax, who also took the pledge and ran as a pipeline opponent, was elected Lieutenant Governor.”
  • It is Time to Choose Sides – “But more importantly, by acting now – before the December State Water Board hearings – McAuliffe could stop these two massive environmentally irresponsible, job killing, social justice destroying methane projects. He would be doing Virginia a world of good. That would transform his signature on the Bonn agreement into a new beginning for real action on climate change. McAuliffe can join Obama’s FERC appointee, Senator Tim Kaine, Lieutenant Governor-Elect Justin Fairfax, the newly elected anti-pipeline Democratic delegates, supported by landmark anti-pipeline federal court rulings, and stop these pipelines, or he can stand with climate change denier Donald Trump.”

Read the full Huffington Post article here.

Energize Appalachia


Join Appalachian Voices on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, at 7:00 p.m., Light House Studios @ Vinegar Hill Theatre, for Energize Appalachia, an evening about energy transition in Appalachia and beyond.

The event will feature: award-winning journalist, author and long-time Appalachian Voices board member Clara Bingham, who will screen her film The Last Mountain, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; a short film by the Light House students; and a panel discussion with Clara, Kate Boyle of Appalachian Voices, and Logan Landry from Sigora Solar. This event is free and open to the public.

TO RSVP: fill out the form online, join the Facebook event, or contact Susan Kruse susan@appvoices.org

About Energize Appalachia

For more than a century, Appalachian coal built our infrastructure, our universities, and powered our technological advancement. But it came at an enormous cost for mountain communities. Coal companies have blown up more than 500 of the oldest, most biologically rich mountains in the world and buried over 2,000 miles of headwater streams. Appalachian communities located near mountaintop removal mines have double the cancer rates of nearby counties with no mining activity.

Now, with the Trump administration’s commitment to revive the coal industry, West Virginia’s Coal River Mountain—known as the Last Mountain—is facing renewed threats from mountaintop removal mining.

Appalachian Voices is working to Energize Appalachia by putting solar power on schools, low-income housing communities, hospitals, and old mountaintop removal mine sites in the heart of Southwest Virginia’s coal country. By creating a clean energy economy in the coalfields, we can build more vibrant, healthy communities for future generations.

 

Dirty Energy Dominance


A new report by Oil Change International reveals that U.S. taxpayers continue to foot the bill for more than $20 billion in fossil fuel subsidies each year. These subsidies amount to billions in wasteful spending propping up an industry responsible for a climate crisis that has contributed to lives lost and hundreds of billions in damages this hurricane season alone.

The October 2017 report lays out a comprehensive analysis of U.S. federal and selected state subsidies supporting the production of oil, gas, and coal. The analysis highlights some of the $14.7 billion in annual federal subsidies and $5.8 billion in yearly state-level incentives.

The report presents a number of key recommendations, including an immediate end to all tax breaks supporting fossil fuel exploration and production, halting efforts to extend and expand tax credits for unconventional fossil fuel production technologies, and rejecting campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry.

Report: http://priceofoil.org/2017/10/03/dirty-energy-dominance-us-subsidies/

Blog: http://priceofoil.org/2017/10/03/trumps-20-billion-a-year-hand-out-to-dirty-energy/

The SCC Wants Your Input

The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is reviewing Dominion’s plan for Virginia’s energy future — known as the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) — and they are seeking input from Virginians until September 18, 2017.

If you’ve seen Dominion Energy’s website or ads lately, you might think the company produces a lot of solar power. Don’t be fooled. Dominion’s long-term plan relies mostly on more dirty fossil fuels. The plan would increase climate pollution and lead to higher electricity bills.

In its plan, Dominion vastly overestimates future electricity demand to justify its preference for “cheap” natural gas. Yet experts estimate that building the company’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would actually increase customer costs by up to $2.36 billion. Meanwhile, the company restricts the amount of solar that can be added to the grid and pays little attention to the benefits of energy efficiency, distributed solar or wind energy.

If Dominion has its way, we’ll have an outdated electric system that relies on fossil fuels like coal and fracked gas, results in carbon emissions and air and water pollution, and ignores the benefits of clean and cost-effective renewable energy sources. And Virginia will continue to lag behind its neighbors, like North Carolina, in terms of installed solar resources.

Now is the time for Virginia to invest in a clean energy economy. Prices for wind and solar energy have never been lower. Solar and energy efficiency in particular are creating far more jobs than coal, oil and natural gas nationwide. But Dominion plans to invest predominantly in fracked-gas pipelines and power plants.

While Dominion claims a commitment to clean energy in Virginia, the IRP falls disappointingly short. We need to let the Commission know that Virginians want Dominion to incorporate more clean energy sources like wind and solar, not lock our state into another half-century of fossil fuel burning.

Both the Sierra Club and Appalachian Voices have petition pages where you can submit your comments:

Blue Virginia Articles: Doing the Math, Approval Process a “Sham”

Two recent articles from Blue Virginia are particularly interesting:

  • 8-10-17  Dominion Fracked Gas Pipeline Approval Process All a Big “Sham”; “The propaganda of big business is just overpowering.”  The article includes full audio of an August 10, 2017 conference call organized by Interfaith Power and Light about Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, with Rev. Laura Martin, Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ (Arlington), Jamshid Bakhtiari, Virginia Field Coordinator at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), Rev. Morris Fleischer, Newport-Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church (in the path of proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline), and Pastor Paul Wilson, Union Hill & Union Grove Baptist Churches (Buckingham County, in the path of proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline). The article summarizes the comments of the participants and includes a link to the full audio.
  • 8-11-17  Doing the Math: Dominion’s and FERC’s Own Numbers Tell Us the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a Budget Buster. “You don’t need to rely on environmentalists’ climate calculations to know the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is carbon budget buster. Just look at the numbers provided in the past month by Dominion Energy Virginia and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. On July 14th, Dominion responded to interrogatories filed in the matter of the power company’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) now being considered by its regulator, the State Corporation Commission. In its responses, Dominion provided estimated carbon-pollution emissions through the year 2042 for eight different scenarios, Plans A – H. Dominion disclosed that its 2017 carbon pollution emissions will be 40 million tons per year, and that every one of its eight alternative plans will increase carbon pollution over the next 25 years.”