Category Archives: Dominion

HDD: A Limited Review by a Company Working for Dominion

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

On April 17, 2017, the US Forest Service submitted a supplement to a filing made on April 6, 2017, which transmitted Forest Service approval of the primary and contingency proposals for the horizontal direct drilling (HDD) drilling under Reeds Gap and the Appalachian Trail near the sole entrance/exit for Wintergreen. The supplement provides the documents the Forest Service received from GAI, the 3rd-party contractor who conducted the review.

The GAI review should have included – but didn’t – the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC) report, A High Risk Proposal: Drilling Through the Blue Ridge Mountains for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Instead of being comprehensive, GAI’s review is limited, stating only, “Based on our review of the geotechnical and geological data provided for the proposed HDD, GAI believes an HDD in this location is feasible.”

DPMC’s Rick Webb says there is, “No real discussion or analysis of the issues or even reference to most of the issues – just an opinion – no reference to the lack of geophysical info for most of the drill-path or the extreme conditions.” The DPMC report on drilling through the mountain includes detailed information on how the HDD could fail, which GAI seems to have ignored, and GAI did not address at all the extreme environmental footprint of the project.

Webb continues, “I expressed concern about an obvious conflict of interest to the Forest Service when I heard that GAI was the reviewer. GAI works for Dominion on the ACP. See: https://gaiconsultants.com/project/atlantic-coast-pipeline-project/

Webb adds, “GAI reps were at the open houses during the EIS scoping period – assuring us of the high-environmental standards and technical capacity of Dominion and the pipeline industry. GAI was also the company that prepared the Erosion and Sediment Control Plans for the recent Stonewall Gathering Pipeline in WV (notable for poor behavior with respect to implementation of the ESC plans on the ground; see http://pipelineupdate.org/2015/08/28/stream-zero/; also in the path of the ACP).”

Note added on April 21, 2017DeSmog reported on April 20, 2017, that after DeSmog’s story linking GAI to Dominion, GAI removed mention of its link to Dominion from its Web page.

Demonstration Outside Dominion’s Annual Shareholders Meeting


The demonstration outside Dominion’s Annual Shareholders Meeting on May 10, 2017, 10:45-12:45, is a great time to send a message to Dominion’s Shareholders and Executives like CEO Tom Farrell and VA Power President Bob Blue that Virginians will not tolerate Dominion’s manipulation of our politicians and DEQ, who allow this corporation to poison our water and our air.

Local groups will be gathering early, 7:45- 8am (TBD), to greet Shareholders and general commuters as they enter the vicinity.  Assemble at the Richmond Convention Center, 5th and Marshall Sts, as the shareholders meeting is about to end, then march to a local Park (TBD) for a Rally with Speakers from the front lines of the Dominion Resistance.  Find further information and details as they are settled on the Facebook event page

SELC Files Legal Opinion: Not Enough Demand for ACP

The Southern Environmental Law Center filed a last-minute opinion saying there isn’t enough market demand for a $6 billion pipeline. PJM Interconnection, the group that controls the electricity grid in Virginia, provided data to SELC on current and future electricity needs showing significantly less need than that claimed by Dominion. The difference of 3,515 megawatts is a gap between Dominion’s claims and the PMJ data that is the equivalent of two massive power plants Virginia doesn’t need.

C-Ville interviewed SELC’s Greg Buppert, who told them, “I think the bottom line here is that Dominion is rushing forward with a project that has real questions about its public necessity. FERC is also not looking at the issue. Once this pipeline is in the ground, ratepayers will be stuck with it. Landowners will have lost their property to Dominion, and, at that point, it’s going to be too late to say this project wasn’t really needed. The problem is no one is looking; no regulators are asking this question right now.”

Read the C-Ville article here.

WhoWhatWhy Article

“Will Activists Be Able to Stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline?” That’s the question discussed in this excellent article in Who.What.Why. The article accurately reviews both Dominion’s claims about the benefits of the pipeline and the evidence on both lack of need and resulting damage presented by the many organizations and individuals opposing it. It is a fine summary of the arguments – a good article to send to anyone who has not followed the day-by-day pipeline developments.

Excellent Pipeline News Coverage

The Recorder, the weekly newspaper for Highland and Bath counties, provides continually excellent coverage of many issues associated with the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Note:  Access to full text of articles is by subscription only.

The April 6, 2017, issue includes these articles:

  • Citizens group demands withdrawal of pipeline statement — “A citizens group has filed a motion to rescind and revise the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. In a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission posted Monday, Friends of the Central Shenandoah states the draft EIS either needs to be withdrawn and revised or supplemented to meet the letter of the law.”
  • Stop the Pipeline’ campaign under way — “The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and chapters will take to the highways and byways of North Carolina and Virginia for eight days in April on a barnstorming tour of communities threatened by natural gas pipelines.
  • Things are getting real around here – “Highland County supervisors deserved a meeting much sooner. Dominion Resources, which plans to construct an interstate gas pipeline through part of southern Highland, came before the county board last week — three months after a draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project was issued in late December. Finally, they were given an audience with Dominion officials to ask some questions they’ve posed before, and more specific questions that have not been addressed until now. Of course, the answers were not satisfactory, the way we see it.” The article goes on to discuss in detail the many negatives of the proposed pipeline (and Dominion’s less than helpful answers), including how it goes counter to the county’s comprehensive plan in many aspects, how movement of workers to the proposed construction site would be “equivalent to a third of our entire residents traveling one of only two main arteries into this county, for 10 hours a day, six days a week, for about two years,” Dominion’s lack of specific answers on source of the millions of gallons of water needed for testing. And many more issues.

Conflict of Interest?

According to an April 2, 2017, report in DeSmog, Merjent, an environmental consulting company hired by FERC as an independent third-party contractor to assist in the review of the proposed ACP, has strong ties to Natural Resource Group, Dominion’s main environmental and engineering contractor for the proposed ACP.

Dominion records submitted to FERC say that Dominion hired Natural Resource Group for a variety of tasks, including environmental and permitting services and field surveys, and Natural Resource Group was behind many of the resource reports for the proposed ACP.  But Natural Resource Group, which has been working on the ACP since 2014, is one of Merjent’s clients.  Additionally, “DeSmog has also found that eight Merjent employees currently reviewing the Atlantic Coast pipeline — more than a third of its team members for the project — previously worked for Natural Resource Group.” Is Merjent an independent third-party contractor? Not really!

Read the full article in DeSmog here – and also here in Truthout.