Category Archives: Dominion

SELC Asks FERC to Reject Request to Proceed

On August 13, 2018, Dominion asked FERC to ignore the stop work order FERC had issued for the ACP on August 10 and allow Dominion to continue construction on some segments of the ACP (see story below). On August 15, the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of multiple organizations, submitted a letter asking FERC

  • to reject Dominion’s request to proceed with construction of three separate segments, and
  • to reject Dominion’s request that the Commission’s stop-work order only relates to the vacatur of the National Park Service’s right-of-way permit, and not to the vacatur of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Incidental Take Statement

The letter states, “The Commission must not approve construction of portions of the ACP because the three segments proposed by Atlantic would constitute new interstate projects, distinct from the ACP, with different purposes and different potential customers. Atlantic has not submitted a certificate application to the Commission for any of these projects, and the Commission has not reviewed the public convenience and necessity of these segments as required by the Natural Gas Act.”

In a footnote commenting on the August 15 submission by Dominion of a second request to continue construction on additional segments on the basis of “independent utility,” SELC says the arguments in their letter “apply equally to this second, and any subsequent, request to continue construction.”

The letter further states that “the Fourth Circuit has resolved any ambiguity about the effects of its vacatur of ACP’s Incidental Take Statement: Atlantic will violate its certificate of public convenience and necessity if it proceeds with construction without a valid ITS. Again, the Commission must decline Atlantic’s invitation to make a finding that is squarely in conflict with the Court’s opinion on this issue.”

The letter continues with a detailed explanation of why FERC “must reject Atlantic’s request to construct segments of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on the basis of ‘independent utility,'” and why “all construction must stop until Fish and Wildlife Service approvals are in place.”

Read the full letter here.

Dominion Asks to Proceed Piecemeal

Immediately after FERC issued the Atlantic Coast Pipeline stop work order late on Friday August 10, 2018, Dominion issued a statement saying it was already working with agencies to resolve issues in the stop work order, and separate project sections not impacted by the court ruling could become viable gas infrastructure.

In a letter to FERC on Monday August 13, 2018, Mathew Bley, director of gas certificates for Dominion Energy Transmission, explained that independent segments unaffected by the court ruling could serve as gas transportation infrastructure by themselves.

“Natural gas received via (supply header project in West Virginia), at Marts, can be redelivered by the planned ACP pipeline to its Long Run delivery point into Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation LLC, in Randolph County, West Virginia … The Long Run interconnection thus would provide a substantial, viable, competitive supply option for existing Columbia Transmission shippers, even if other portions of ACP were not constructed. Subject to avoidance of any areas affected by the vacatur of the ITS … Atlantic should be allowed to proceed with construction of this useful component of the ACP.

“The ACP infrastructure from its Buckingham, Va., interconnection with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company LLC (Transco) to points downstream could be used for gas deliveries to markets in both North Carolina and eastern Virginia. These markets are chronically constrained in terms of natural gas supply. Independent of ACP’s proposed construction of pipeline upstream of the Buckingham – including areas affected by the Aug. 6 court order – ACP could receive up to 885,000 Dt/day from Transco for service on the ACP main line and the Virginia lateral.

“Depending on the availability of supply and relative operating pressures on the Transco system, ACP expects that its physical receipts at Buckingham could exceed 885,000 Dt/day. Although this approach would not provide the full benefit of access to the DETI system and the liquid South Point market hub (which customers expect upon completion of the ACP), this portion of the ACP infrastructure … would serve to redeliver gas to Hampton Roads and eastern North Carolina markets, where interstate pipeline capacity is either already fully subscribed, or nonexistent.”

Dominion asked FERC to “promptly allow construction to resume for the independently useful portions of the projects.”

It appears Dominion is tacitly admitting that the entire ACP is not necessary, and gas could be delivered to both existing and future markets by other means.

However, as pointed out by Southern Environmental Law Center in its letter of August 15, 2018 urging FERC to deny Dominion’s request to move forward on certain parts of the ACP, “If these segments do not serve the purpose Atlantic intended them to serve as interdependent parts of the approved ACP, they are separate projects that must go through the approval process set forth in the Natural Gas Act.” (See story above)

Send Comments: Air Quality Permit for Compressor Station


The proposed 54,000 + horse power Atlantic Coast Pipeline Compressor Station would endanger and diminish the health and land values of all residents of Buckingham County and destroy the lives of the historic African American community of Union Hill. This is the only compressor station planned for the Virginia portion of the ACP. The permits for the pipeline and its compressor station are not complete and the project is currently being challenged in the courts.

This compressor station, a giant one even by industry standards, would bring loud constant noise and release toxic poisons into Buckingham’s air and water. The health of children is particularly vulnerable to the methane, formaldehyde, arsenic, benzene, xylene and other compounds the compressor will regularly release. Above and underground storage tanks create a fire and explosion hazard completely beyond the capacity of distant volunteer firefighters. The station has few staff on site and would be built on a former slave plantation atop the unmarked slave graves of Union Hill ancestors.  Please note that although the information provided by the Va Department of Environmental Quality puts this compressor station in the minor category, that is a technical term based on the amount of pollutants it can emit.  The environmental regulations do not protect our air water and health; they allow ACP to pollute up to very high levels that impact human and all life, especially those most vulnerable, the elderly and children.

There will be a community meeting on August 6, 2018, to discuss the air quality permit and how to comment on it at Union Hill Baptist Church, 1496 Union Hill Rd., Buckingham 23921.  Friends of Buckingham phone contact: 434 969 3229 ( Chad).  More information on the Friends of Buckingham Web page.

There will be a DEQ briefing on Thursday, August 16, 2018, 6-8 pm, Peter Francisco Auditorium, Buckingham County Administration Building, 13380 W. James Anderson Highway. The informational briefing will be a DEQ presentation to inform the public of the draft air quality permit review. An opportunity for questions related to the air quality permit will also be provided. No oral comments on the draft permit will be received at this briefing. [Come at 5 to pray and sing together.]

There will be a public hearing on Tuesday, September 11, 2018, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. or until all comments are received, whichever is earlier. The hearing on the air quality permit will be at Buckingham County Middle School, 1184 High School Road in Buckingham.  It is important to come as early as you can to sign up to speak!  [Come at 4 to pray and sing together.]

The public comment period for the compressor station draft air permit is August 8, 2018 until September 11, 2018.

HOW TO COMMENT: DEQ accepts comments by hand-delivery, e-mail, fax or postal mail. All comments and requests must be in writing and be received by DEQ during the comment period. The Director of DEQ has determined that the permit will go before the Board in accordance with 9 VAC 5-80-25 F.

DEQ contact for public comments, document requests, and additional information: Ann Regn; Phone: (804) 698-4442; Postal Mail: Piedmont Regional Office, RE: Buckingham Compressor Station, 4949-A Cox Rd, Glen Allen, VA 23060; E-mail: airdivision1@deq.virginia.gov; Fax: (804) 527-5106.

The public may review the draft permit and application here.   [Note: do not be confused by Dominion’s arrogant use of past tense for events that have not yet happened, e.g. “A public hearing was held on September 11, 2018. The required comment period, provided by 9VAC5-80-1170 D expired on September 11, 2018.” This is a bad deal but not a done deal!]

Comments to DEQ must include the following information:

  • PERMIT NAME: Minor Source Construction Permit issued under the authority of the Air Pollution Control Board
  • APPLICANT NAME AND REGISTRATION NUMBER: Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC; 21599
  • FACILITY NAME AND ADDRESS: ACP – Dominion Energy Buckingham Compressor Station; 5297 S. James River Hwy, Wingina, VA 24599
  • Submissions must include the names, mailing addresses and telephone numbers of the commenter/requester and of all persons represented by the commenter/requester.

Project description (presumably from Dominion): Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC has applied for a new permit to build the Buckingham Compressor Station (ACP-2). The facility is a natural gas pipeline compressor station. It will be classified as a minor source of air pollution. The maximum annual emissions of air pollutants from the facility under the proposed permit are expected to be: 34.2 tons per year (TPY) of nitrogen oxides, 39.2 TPY carbon monoxide, 9.8 TPY volatile organic compounds, 8.3 TPY sulfur dioxide, 43.2 TPY of particulate (PM10 and PM2.5). The applicant proposes to use approximately 4,550 million cubic feet of natural gas for fuel. The technology that will be used to control the air pollution from the facility is selective catalytic reduction for the control of nitrogen oxides; oxidation catalyst for the control of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and formaldehyde; natural gas, inlet air filters, and good combustion practices for control of sulfur dioxide and particulate; and a vent gas reduction system to reduce the venting of natural gas to control volatile organic compounds and hexane. The estimated effect on air quality near the facility from the proposed project is that all emissions will comply with all applicable ambient air quality standards.

For additional information, including links to images and tables from the ACP permit application, Dominion responses to questions about the permit, and Dominion’s Air Quality Monitoring Report for the compressor station, see Friends of Buckingham’s Web page on the compressor air permit.

Stand with Union Hill


The following is an account posted on Facebook by Water Is Life. Protect It on July 26, 2018.

Stand with Union Hill: The story of stark environmental racism gains and needs new allies to be told, to be shouted from the mountain top. This week’s meeting [week of July 23, 2018] between Union Hill and Dominion/ACP brought new allies and a terrifying glimpse of a complete disregard for safety on the part of Dominion Energy.

One Buckingham County witness wrote of the photos here: “Reverend Kevin Chandler, President of the Virginia NAACP came to Union Hill to announce that the powerful civil rights organization has taken a position against the ACP pipeline and the proposed Union Hill compressor station.

The uneasy looking group of white men in the foreground of the next photo—those are Dominion executives. They and five others had come to a community meeting in Pastor Paul Wilson’s Union Hill Grove Baptist Church to try to reassure the African-American community that the compressor station and the pipeline would be safe and would not hurt them. However, they seemed increasingly anxious when they were asked to describe the size of the kill zone in the event of a pipeline leak or a compressor station disaster. They said they just couldn’t answer the question which they were asked in three different ways. They also were forced to admit that they hadn’t even drafted their emergency response plan in the event that something were to go wrong at the compressor station they want to build in within yards of the homes of Union Hill—an historic African-American Community.

Meanwhile, a US Justice Department official, Suzanne Buchanan of the federal community relations service (with Pastor Paul) showed up. She said she realized that the people of Union Hill were feeling frustrated and unheard. She watched with what appeared to be astonishment when the dominion executives were unable to describe the dimensions of the Kill zone.

If the people of Union Hill were skeptical and even frightened at the prospect of the compressor station and its pipeline coming to their community before tonight by the time the meeting was over they were much more wary.

Virginia NAACP Calls for Halt to All MVP and ACP Construction

Rev. Kevin Chandler, VA NAACP President, at Union Hill

In a letter dated May 30, 2018, the Virginia State NAACP has called on the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to halt all construction activity for both the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines.

An article in Blue Virginia on July 30, 2018, says, “The state NAACP statement was submitted to the Virginia State Water Control Board on May 30 as part of a public comment period on the proposed pipelines. It was among thousands of comments submitted by concerned citizens and environmental and community organizations. The NAACP statement has remained hidden from public view because DEQ has failed to publish the ‘public’ comments, pointing to an unspecified security ‘issue’ with its website and the time needed to ‘process’ so many comments. DEQ’s lack of transparency left the NAACP statement and similar submissions largely unavailable – until now. It is yet another example of what has been called DEQ’s broken regulatory process under its longtime director, David Paylor.” (Note that although DEQ has been unable to make comments public, Wild Virginia and Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition obtained most of the 10,000 comments through a FOIA request, and have made them public, something DEQ has been unable or unwilling to do.)

The NAACP letter denounces DEQ for deferring to Nationwide Permit 12 water quality standards rather than applying the stricter Virginia standards, and calls on DEQ to conduct a “comprehensive site-specific stream-by-stream analysis that reviews the cumulative effects of the multiple crossings within individual watersheds.” The letter notes that “socio-economic data and wetland and stream information crucial to conducting accurate and unbiased assessments are missing, inaccurate and incomplete.”

The letter also points out the environmental racism inherent in Dominion’s plan to build the only Virginia compressor station in the African-American Union Hill community. “Established by freed enslaved people, Union Hill relies on a single-source aquifer for their drinking water,” and Dominion and DEQ gave “no consideration for pipeline ruptures which could pollute the single source aquifer which feeds the wells of Union Hill and most of Buckingham County.”

The Blue Virginia article details the many strong public statements by the NAACP against pipeline projects and the ways communities of color are particularly impacted by their construction and operation.