Category Archives: Construction

“The ACP in a Nutshell”

Thomas Hadwin, who spoke on February 12, 2017, in both Buckingham and Nelson Counties, has kindly shared his PowerPoint presentation from the workshop in Buckingham, “New Pipelines:  Do We Need Them?” (the answer is no!), as well as two other documents he has written, “Purpose and Need for the ACP,” and “The ACP in a Nutshell.” In “The ACP in a Nutshell” he carefully refutes Dominion’s inflated claims of local economic benefits, reminds us that, “The Department of Energy states that adequate capacity exists in the existing pipeline system to serve this region throughout the multi-decade planning horizon of their studies,” notes that, if built, “ratepayers would pay higher transport fees for the ACP compared to existing pipelines,” and concludes that eminent domain requires landowners “to sacrifice their individual interest in order to serve the greater public good. In this case, the greater public good is better served both economically and environmentally by using existing pipelines.”

For additional information and resources by Thomas Hadwin, see “Atlantic Coast Pipeline: A Question of Need.”  This story map posted by Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition includes detailed charts and information.

High-Risk Proposal to Drill Through Blue Ridge at Reed’s Gap

[Photo by John Claman:  Piney Mountain,Three Ridges, Reed’s Gap]

The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition has submitted a report to FERC on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed ACP and the proposal to drill through the Blue Ridge Mountains at Reed’s Gap, going under the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the National Forest.

The report, A High Risk Proposal: Drilling Through the Blue Ridge Mountains for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, points to the many ways in which the information provided in the DEIS is insufficient to support evaluation of the proposed Blue Ridge drilling operation. It details missing information as well as MISinformation. For example:

  • The scale of excavation is not fully disclosed or considered, and the results of critical geophysical investigations have not been provided.
  • Identification of geohazards and evaluation of mitigation measures have been deferred until later, precluding a meaningful opportunity for informed review of the project.
  • The published DEIS fails to meet the information needs of of the public or the governmental agencies that have responsibilities related to the ACP project.

DPMC says FERC must release a revised DEIS to:

  • prove that boring through the Blue Ridge is a practicable option, by providing reliable and complete geophysical data
  • disclose the real extent of land disturbance and water quality damage the proposal would create
  • include detailed, site-specific plans and pollution control measures for all alternatives for crossing the Blue Ridge

South Korean Steel for the Proposed ACP

The pipes for the proposed ACP are being fabricated in Pennsylvania, but the Richmond Times Dispatch reported on January 30, 2017, that “the Dominion-led pipeline company acknowledged Monday that it is purchasing heavy-duty steel for the project from a company in South Korea. ‘Some of the large-diameter, heavy-walled pipe we needed was simply not available domestically at the specifications we require for the project,’ said Aaron F. Ruby, spokesman for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC and Richmond-based Dominion, the managing partner for the $5.1 billion project. The pipeline company is buying the steel from POSCO, a multinational company based in Pohang, South Korea, for fabrication by Dura-Bond in Pennsylvania. Dura-Bond began building 30- and 42-inch-diameter pipe at the end of 2015 under a $400 million contract that the company called the single biggest order in its history.”

Read the full article here.

VA Sierra Club Statement: Executive Order on Infrastructure

The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club issued a statement on January 26, 2017, on the inclusion of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the President’s executive order on infrastructure.

“Once again, Donald Trump is looking to take credit for something he had no part of, only this time, it’s a dirty and dangerous project that will deliver pollution to our communities. There is no need for this project, and it is baffling to include an enormous 42-inch fracked gas pipeline in a proposal of general infrastructure projects. Clean energy investments would create more long-term career jobs in our communities throughout Virginia and wouldn’t require large swaths of private property to be taken through eminent domain.

“Dominion Resources’ stranglehold on Virginia’s energy policy has been unacceptable for decades, and Dominion should not be given the opportunity to dictate our national energy policy as well.”

See our earlier post on the executive order here.

DPMC Posts Reports on Landslides

Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC) has posted two reports on their Web page that substantiate the dramatically increased probability of precipitation-induced landslides following the extensive excavation associated with construction of the proposed ACP and its related access roads. DPMC says that, “Much of the proposed ACP corridor route and related infrastructure, including access roads, is on slopes greater that 40%, with segments exceeding 58%” – including numerous areas in Nelson County.

The Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline Route through Little Valley in Bath County, Virginia: An Assessment of Landslide Risk and Slope Stability Factors, prepared by Malcolm G. Cameron, Jr., Coordinator of Geohazards Analysis, Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition. This report, submitted to FERC by DPMC, notes the presence of several landslides on both sides of the valley resulting from a heavy rain event in July 2015, ranging in size from small slumps along ravines up to a one-quarter-acre rotational slide that traveled over 450 feet down the upper east slope of Little Mountain. “With slopes averaging 30 to 55 percent and up to over 80 percent combined with unstable soils, any construction involves a high risk of landslides during heavy rainfall events.”

The report also notes that map sheets submitted to FERC by Dominion in August 2, 2016, reveal “a cursory and incomplete documentation of geologic hazards related to slope steepness, bedrock type, and groundwater conditions in the Little Valley area,” and did not identify existing landslides documented in the DPMC report.

The Little Valley/Bath County report “concludes that mitigation efforts by Dominion to avoid slope failures will be difficult or impossible to accomplish in steep mountain areas along the ACP pipeline route. To date, there is no indication that site-specific investigation of landslide risk and development of mitigation or risk-avoidance plans will be completed and made available on a schedule that allows informed agency and public review and comment prior to permitting and construction.”

Landslide Analysis, Monongahela National Forest Flood Event (June 2016), prepared by the USDA Forest Service, Monongahela National Forest. The report analyses 48 landslides that occurred during the flood event of June 23, 2016 in areas with soils, geologies, and slopes of all slope classes similar to the proposed route of the ACP corridor on the Monongahela National Forest. Report conclusions:

  • Flooding and landslides related to storm events are common in the Central Appalachian region, and the June 2016 event should not be considered unusual.
  • Even more stable land forms and geologies are susceptible to landslides under the right conditions (amount and intensity of precipitation).
  • Disturbed soils can be highly susceptible to mass movement resulting in landslides.
  • Forest Service standards and guidelines must be followed when operating on steep slopes and soils that are susceptible to slides.