An action alert from David Sligh, Wild Virginia’s Conservation Director:
We’ve just received word that a special deal may soon be attached to a bill in Congress to allow Dominion to change the rules in their favor so they can fast track the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. We need your help today to send a strong message to our elected representatives. We need them to know to watch for tricks like this from Dominion and to be ready to vote in opposition to any legislation like this.
The time is NOW to contact your senators and representative in Congress today and urge them to oppose any legislation that makes way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Don’t know your senators or representative? No problem! Find out here.
Note: We don’t currently have a bill number or specific information about the measure that is circulating in Congress but don’t let that deter you from making the contacts. Time could be of the essence and you shouldn’t wait – it is important that our legislators be looking for these attempts whenever they arise and act quickly.
The proposed route for Dominion’s 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been a mess from the beginning. It carves through family farms, steep mountain ridges, and public water supplies, and it is slated to cross the Appalachian Trail on U.S. Forest Service land, a move that federal judges say is not legal. Rather than reconsider their poorly-planned project, Dominion is asking the U.S. Congress to change laws to make way for its unneeded gas pipeline.
We will oppose Dominion’s efforts and call on you to do the same – TODAY! Tell your senators and your representative in Congress that you oppose legislation that would change the rules to make way for Dominion’s unneeded and destructive pipeline.
Thank you again for stepping up and taking action to protect the mountain streams, family farms, private property, water supplies, and Appalachian Trail.
On August 28, 2019, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) filed an opposition brief in the US Supreme Court on August 28, 2019, arguing that the Court should not agree to review the Fourth Circuit opinion as requested by the petitioners, US Forest Service and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The Fourth Circuit decision blocked the ACP from coming across Reid’s Gap. (See SELC Files Opposition Brief)
SELC has created two fine handouts to inform people about Dominion’s actions and the ACP:
- Oppose Dominion’s Attempts to Legislate the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Route: a one page handout discussing why Dominion’s planned Appalachian Trail crossing is unlawful, how Dominion wants special treatment from Congress, and why the ACP is unnecessary.
- The Case Against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: a two page handout (to print front and back) with citations discussing the ACP scheme, the fact that it is an obsolete project, Dominion’s self-inflicted permitting problems, and why Congress should give no special treatment for the ACP. This one is hot off the press, published 9/10/19.
Print copies and circulate!
From the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance ABRA Update 239, August 1, 2019:
Two witnesses appearing before a July 30 Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) hearing on the proposed fuel factor for Dominion Energy to use in calculating future customer rates testified that the company has sufficient pipeline capacity to meet future energy demands.
Greg Lander, an energy consultant representing Appalachian Voices (an ABRA member), testified that Dominion “has sufficient pipeline capacity to serve its existing generation fleet. Further, because of the frequency, magnitude, and duration of the non-power plant deliveries under its existing pipeline contracts, I conclude that the Company has ample pipeline capacity to serve additional power generation load should that be necessary.” Mr. Lander’s analysis was echoed by Bernadette Johnson, a consultant retained by the SCC staff.
Mr. Lander’s filed testimony is available here. Ms. Johnson’s filed testimony is available here and here.
The SCC is expected to decide about Dominon’s fuel factor proposal in 2-3 weeks.
On July 3, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requested that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC and Dominion Transmission, Inc. provide within 20 days toxicological environmental and health information on epoxy coatings associated with pipeline materials used in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. (see FERC Requests Toxicological Info on ACP Coatings)
On July 22, 2019, Dominion filed a response to FERC’s request – a two page covering letter, a two page response, and 315 pages of attachments, most of which are safety data sheets (SDS) from manufacturers.
In their covering letter, Dominion says the SDS information “is based on the products’ hazards before they are reacted and cured on the pipe. The warnings are based on the presence of substances at very low amounts in the powder or liquid prior to application and cure. According to the manufacturers, these substances are expected to be encapsulated in the polymer matrix when the coating is applied and fully cured onto the pipe and would be dispersed throughout the coating and not migrate onto the surface or leach out of the coating.” We note the careful wording: safety data sheets are based on hazards before they are cured on the pipe, and the substances “are expected to be encapsulated” when fully cured. Nothing about hazards after coatings have been exposed to UV and to weather for 3-4 years.
Continuing, the letter discusses two different 3M coatings, and says, “Although 3M has no conclusive evidence at this time to confirm their exact identity, the degradation products are generated in low quantities, have low water solubility, and are therefore not expected to enter the environment in amounts capable of producing an adverse human health effect.” Again, note the language” “no conclusive evidence at this time to confirm their exact identity,” and “not expected to enter the environment.”
Dominion says they will be doing evaluation of “composition, toxicity, and potential for environmental exposure” of the primary 3M coating, and will submit results by August 23, 2019.
In the past week there have been multiple news stories on the continuing demand by corporations for renewable energy and the ongoing unwillingness of utility companies, with Dominion singled out in particular, to provide it. Meanwhile, Dominion continues to insist the ACP is necessary to meet energy demands. Given the frequent insistence by utility companies that gas is needed to provide reliable and consistent energy supply, the statement in the first article below is particularly noteworthy: businesses consider renewables more stable and reliable than fossil fuels.
- 7-20-19 Clean Technica. Speakers At DCD-San Francisco Ask, “Why Won’t Utility Companies Give Us The Renewable Energy We Want?” “At this year’s Data Center Dynamics conference in San Francisco, speaker after speaker took to the stage to lament how utility companies refuse to provide even the largest corporations with the renewable energy they want. Utility companies are accustomed to having things pretty much their own way. Their attitude is ‘It’s our electricity, damn it. We will decide how it is made, how it is distributed, and how much you will pay for it!’ The tech industry and its data centers want renewable energy for two reasons. First, there will be no need of data if a warming planet leads to the extinction of humans. Second, businesses crave predictability. Renewable energy power purchase agreements mean stable long term electricity costs with no fluctuations if a hurricane shuts down refineries in Houston (as happened last week) or Iran seizes a tanker in the Straits of Hormuz (as happened yesterday). …. The DCD – San Francisco panelists agreed that changes are coming — albeit slowly — in the utility business. But there’s one utility company — Dominion in Virginia — that has been particularly stubborn. The company is a strong proponent of the highly controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, which has drawn the ire of residents and businesses along its proposed route.”
- 7-22-19 Virginia Mercury. Dominion Energy’s new programs are really about limiting choices. “[H]ere in Virginia, Dominion Energy expects to reduce carbon emissions less in the future than in the past, and it has no plan to produce 100% of its electricity from clean, renewable sources by 2050. For all the talk here of solar, Virginia still had one-seventh the amount of solar installed as North Carolina at the end of 2018 and no wind energy. Dominion has developed a few solar projects and new tariffs to serve tech companies and other large customers, but ordinary residents still lack meaningful choices. So this spring, Dominion decided to do something about that. The wrong thing, of course.”
- 7-23-19 GreenTechMedia. The Battle for Virginia’s Corporate Renewables Market Heats Up. ” Tensions are escalating in Virginia between Dominion Energy, rival electricity suppliers and the state’s growing list of big corporations demanding renewable power. Direct Energy and Calpine, two competitive service providers (CSPs) working in utility Dominion’s Virginia territory, alleged in separate motions filed Monday that Dominion has stopped processing their 100 percent renewable electricity enrollment requests for large customers in recent months. The two companies asked state regulators to swiftly intervene to restart enrollment. Virginia allows competitive service providers to offer 100 percent renewables to large customers as long as the regulated utility does not provide that option itself, which Dominion currently does not.”
- 7-25-19. Bacon’s Rebellion. New Front In Dominion’s War Against Competition. “So to review the three fronts: 1) Dominion has cut off transfers of its customers to two competitive suppliers offering a renewable product and asserts to the SCC they are operating illegally, 2) continues to contest efforts by medium size retail customers to aggregate enough load to depart the monopoly, and 3) is working hard to offer a lower-priced alternative to those customer who already have enough load to leave. One question common to all of the cases is whether customers who choose to remain with Dominion, or who have no choice under the law, end up hit with additional costs because the others have left or because the large users will have this new, lower-cost rate alternative. That is the reason the SCC has cited for denying most petitions by retailers for aggregation of their load.”
Lew Freeman, Executive Director, Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA), marked the fifth anniversary of our fight against the unnecessary and destructive Atlantic Coast Pipeline with this post in ABRA Update 231 for May 30, 2019. Friends of Nelson, a member of ABRA, thanks Lew and all the many individuals, groups, and organizations who have given and continue to give their time and energy and resources in the now five year fight! Onward!
“Holy cow” is how the chairman of the Highland County Board of Supervisors reacted to the news that Dominion Energy planned to build a natural gas pipeline through his county, according to a May 29, 2014 news story in The Recorder newspaper. A Dominion spokesperson quoted in the story said that the Southeast Reliability Project, as the company initially called what has become the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), was to cost $4 billion and be in operation by the end of 2018.
Dominion’s initial talking points in 2014 about the project said:
- The project would be the “energy equivalent of broadband infrastructure,” providing a “key driver in a community’s ability to attract economic development;”
- It would promote price stability and enhance economic opportunity;
- “Substantial economic benefits including a substantial number of well-paying construction jobs and additional tax base in communities along the route” would be provided;
- Dominion looks forward to working with affected landowners and communities “to ensure that we can optimize the balance of environmental stewardship and economic opportunity that is created” by the project.
Five years later, we have learned that the company’s words do not measure up to its stated talking points. At all! “Fake News” would seem to be a more apt characterization.
The ACP is now stalled due to it losing many of its key permits. By Dominion’s own admission, the project is over 2 years behind schedule and its anticipated project costs are nearly double the original estimate.
The extraordinary effort by ABRA’s more than 50 member organizations, dozens of cooperating organizations and thousands of committed volunteers are a significant reason for where we find ourselves today. But the fight is not over against the ACP. Our persistence and perseverance must continue! Thanks to all of our coalition participants for your past and future efforts.