From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update #276, May 14, 2020
The Rockbridge County, VA Planning Commission approved on May 13  a site plan for a proposed construction storage yard for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) in Goshen, VA. The 4-0 vote (with one abstention) came despite 95 of the 99 written comments received by the Commission expressing opposition to the yard plan. The County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider the issue on May 26.
From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance ABRA Update 275, May 7, 2020:
A proposed storage yard for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be the subject of a May 13 meeting of the Rockbridge County (VA) Planning Commission to discuss its possible approval. (See Concerns Expressed About Proposed ACP Yard in Goshen, VA.) The proposed contractor yard, to be located in Goshen, VA, would be an active hub for pipe welding, fuel storage, pipeline worker rendezvous, material storage, and construction vehicle travel to pipeline installation locations in neighboring Bath, Highland, and Augusta counties.
Action is needed! ABRA members and activists are urged to file comments in opposition to the proposal with the Planning Commission in advance of the May 13 meeting.
For more information, click here for an alert and share it with others.
From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update 274, April 30, 2020:
A proposed construction storage yard has drawn expressions of deep concern from a coalition of Rockbridge County citizens plus ABRA, Augusta County Alliance and the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, both of whom are ABRA members. The proposed yard site is proximate to wetlands and streams on the edge of Goshen that empty into the Calfpasture River and then the scenic Maury River.
In an April 28 letter to the Rockbridge County Planning Commission and County Administrator (with copies to the County Supervisors), Rockbridge resident Molly Petty wrote on behalf of the coalition,
“We are especially concerned that the absence of an open public hearing and further limits on public comment under pandemic guidelines will prevent adequate opportunity for scrutiny of the concerns many of us have about the construction yard. The public will have access to the entire Planning Commission packet only one week prior, and in an unknown form (online?) and place (since the public library is closed, the packet will be unavailable for the usual viewing of Planning documents). These conditions are not conducive to public transparency. In addition, presumably ACP will make a presentation at the May 13 meeting and answer commissioners’ questions. The public should be able to hear this entire presentation and discussion and participate fully; unfortunately, citizen participation will be nigh impossible for those who have bandwidth or cell phone issues from their rural homes.
“Given the public health and safety issues at stake, we respectfully request that the Planning Commission postpone consideration of the site plan or any other site work until full public participation and hearing can take place; given the Governor’s Executive Order 55 et al. and positive developments on COVID-19, that could likely be in early summer.”
For a copy of Ms. Petty’s letter, click here.
On July 11, 2019, the Lynchburg News Advance reported that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline seeks to lease Amherst site for storage, transporting workers.
The site the ACP wants to lease “is about 45 acres in the back of the industrial park, which is a short drive from U.S. 29 Business in Amherst and directly on the U.S. 60 corridor. The use of the land is for storage, placing equipment and mobilizing workers to bus to Nelson and Buckingham counties, which are among about 30 localities on the pipeline’s route through Virginia and North Carolina.”
The Amherst Town Manager and the County Administrator both spoke positively of the improvements they believe would be made to the site and of the short term revenue for the town. The article notes that, despite opposition to the ACP across Virginia, “Amherst has been relatively quiet with pipeline debate as the route has steered clear of its foothills and valleys.”
Public hearings are required any time public town-owned land is leased or sold. According to the News Advance article, the required public hearing is expected to take placed during council’s 7 p.m. meeting Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the Amherst town hall meeting room, 174 South Main St., Amherst.
In a 4-1 vote at their meeting on November 1, 2018, the Augusta County Board of Zoning Appeals denied the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s proposed special use permit for a pipeline storage yard just south of West Augusta. The proposal had been tabled at the Board’s September and October meetings. The action marks the second time this year that the BZA rejected a storage yard in the county, having denied a permit on March 1 for a similar facility that would have been located north of Churchville.
See press coverage in the Staunton News Leader here.
In her guest column in the September 21, 2018, Staunton News Leader (West Augusta pipe yard is putting the ‘cart before the horse’), Nancy Sorrells discusses Dominion’s request to the Augusta Board of Zoning Appeals for a proposed pipe yard in West Augusta. She notes that when FERC was contacted to verify Dominion’s Emmett Toms’ statement to the BZA that they had approval to “leave the thousand dump truck loads of contaminated gravel from the parking area in a pile in the field after construction, rather than take the cleaned gravel to an approved landfill as is standard procedure,” they were told by FERC that “the contractor/pipe yard you referenced below has not been proposed to FERC.”
Further, the area where Dominion proposes the pipe yard (that FERC doesn’t know about) is one that has paved roads of “less than minimum design standards” because the county agreed in 2010 that the area is not to be the target of any development, and therefore should certainly not “have the kind of traffic and heavy equipment that would occur on this road for two years or more with ACP’s proposed construction yard.”
She concludes, “So there you have it: Dominion has proposed something that both DEQ and FERC are unaware of in an area that the county has legally promised never to develop. Cart before the horse? In reality there never should have been a cart or a horse proposed here.”