Category Archives: Construction

Comment on ACP on Forest Service Lands


The April 6, 2017, deadline for commenting to FERC on the DEIS has passed, but you still have time to comment to the Forest Service! Their deadline is April 10, 2017.

The Forest Service has requested comments on the authorization of the ACP on National Forest lands and on the proposed amendments of the Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMPs) that would allow the ACP to be constructed across the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests.

Comments to the Forest Service regarding the authorization of the ACP through National Forest Lands and the proposed amendments to the LRMPs for the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests need to be submitted to FERC.  You can file comments online using FERC’s eComment feature (for brief, text-only comments) or eFiling feature (for longer comments).  You can also mail comments to FERC at the address below:

Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street NE, Room 1A
Washington, DC 20426

As always, remember to include the ACP’s project docket number when submitting comments to FERC: CP15-554-000.  Comments are due by April 10, 2017.

In order for the ACP to be built across National Forest lands, the Forest Service would need to authorize the pipeline crossing, issue a special use permit, and amend the LRMPs for both National Forests, as the current LRMPs do not permit such large-scale infrastructure construction.  Amendments to the LMRPs would allow the ACP to exceed current Forest Service standards for soils and water, cross the Appalachian trail, remove old growth trees, fail to meet current Scenic Integrity Objectives, and construct access roads in the National Forests.  For more information about the specific amendments to the LRMPs for the National Forests, please see the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the ACP

For background on Forest Service frustrations with Dominions incomplete and evasive answers to their questions, see the February 22, 2017 letter to Monongahela Forest supervisor Clyde Thompson from James Thompson, a West Virginia University professor and specialist in soils and land use who has been contracted by the Forest Service as a third-party reviewer for the pipeline project, discusses in detail Dominion’s failures.

Forest Service Satisfied with Feasibility of Reed’s Gap HDD

The April 6, 2017, Richmond-Times Dispatch article reporting on DEQ’s announcement that it will require individual water quality certifications also reported that “the U.S. Forest Service said it is satisfied with the feasibility of [Dominion’s] proposal to drill through the Blue Ridge Mountain to avoid the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway between Augusta and Nelson counties.” Further, “Clyde Thompson, Forest Service supervisor in the Monongahela in West Virginia, told federal regulators this week that the agency has concluded that the use of horizontal directional drilling and a contingency plan for a more conventional drilling method both would be ‘feasible at the proposed location.’ ”

Read the Richmond Times-Dispatch article here (scroll down to the second half of the article).

Sign on to the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition’s Objection to the DEQ’s Water Quality Certification Proposal

The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC) has filed an eight-page objection to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ’s) Water Quality Certification proposal that would allow all utility projects in Virginia to be regulated under a generalized Nationwide 12 permit.  The DPMC argues that the issuance of the proposed Water Quality Certification would be illegal, because the DEQ has not conducted the required analysis of the impacts on water quality standards; furthermore, the generalized conditions under the Nationwide permit cannot possibly protect the great variety of waters that would be affected across the state by utility projects, nor can they account for the large variation in project conditions encountered by the many different utility line projects (ranging from small to very large) that would be covered under the general permit.

Bold Alliance has created an online petition by which you can add your name to the DPMC’s objection to the DEQ’s Water Quality Certification proposal.  The petition is an easy way for you to voice your concern for the protection of Virginia’s streams and wetlands during construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and other utility projects across the state. 

The Virginia DEQ is currently accepting comments on the proposed Water Quality Certification, but the deadline is this Friday, March 17th!  Be sure to sign Bold Alliance’s online petition by this Friday.  You can also submit comments to the DEQ regarding the Water Quality Certification by email:  Comments should be submitted to Steven.Hardwick@deq.virginia.govAgain, the deadline for comments is this Friday, March 17, 2017 by 11:59 pm.

To learn more about the proposed Water Quality Certification, read our earlier post here at Friends of Nelson or read the DPMC’s detailed post about this issue, “Permission to Pollute.”

Tell the Virginia DEQ to Reject the Water Quality Certification of the Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide 12 Permit

The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC) reports this week that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is considering a proposal to issue a Water Quality Certification (WQC) that would allow parties to build utility lines, including large gas pipelines, through streams and wetlands across Virginia with only the limited, generalized requirements for waterbody crossings that are stipulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide permit (NWP 12).  According to the DPMC, such generalized conditions under the Nationwide permit cannot possibly protect the great variety of waters that would be affected across the state by utility projects, nor can they account for the large variation in project conditions encountered by the many different utility line projects (ranging from small to very large) that would be covered under the general permit.

Despite the fact that the DEQ is charged with ensuring that all Virginia water quality standards are met for such utility projects, the DPMC reports that the DEQ has performed no analysis to look at the impacts of NWP 12 activities on water quality standards. The DPMC requested all supporting documentation for the DEQ’s proposed regulatory action and received only five documents that show that no analysis of impacts was even attempted, let alone completed.

The DEQ has suggested that it may attempt to cover the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline under this generalized WQC if the Corps of Engineers deems them eligible for coverage under NWP 12.  The DPMC asserts that such an action would be illegal and argues that this proposal cannot be justified on legal or scientific grounds even for the many smaller utility projects that the WQC would cover.

The Virginia DEQ is currently accepting comments on the proposed Water Quality Certification, so you have an opportunity to make your voice heard on this issue.  Contact the DEQ and tell them to reject the Water Quality Certification of the Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide 12 Permit.  Comments should be submitted to Steven.Hardwick@deq.virginia.govThe deadline for comments is this Friday, March 17, 2017 by 11:59 pm.

To read the DPMC’s full statement on its position regarding the DEQ’s consideration of the proposal to issue a Water Quality Certification that would allow parties to build utility lines through Virginia’s waterbodies under a generalized Nationwide 12 permit, click here

Save

Save

“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