Category Archives: Dominion

Even Dominion Says MVP Contractor Is Incompetent

Writing in Blue Virginia on May 28, 2018, Jon Sokolow reports that yes, Even Dominion Energy Says Mountain Valley Pipeline Contractor Is Incompetent. Mounting evidence that that MVP and its contractor, Precision Pipeline, LLC were wreaking havoc on Virginia’s water and land resources led the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to order a temporary stop at a construction site in Franklin County.

Sokolow writes, “It turns out that Dominion’s wholly owned subsidiary, Dominion Transmission, Inc. (“DTI”) has been fighting Precision Pipeline in federal court for almost three years in a battle royale over a pipeline that Precision built for Dominion several years ago in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. That fracked gas pipeline, which was part of Dominion’s larger Appalachian Gateway Project, was a relatively small 30 inches in diameter and ‘only’ 55-miles long. The case is pending in federal court in Richmond and is expected to go to trial in October.

“Precision completed and was paid for the project – and then sued Dominion for $86 million in additional charges that it claims it is owed. Dominion denies it owes anything more and points, in part, to a series of expert reports that it says document Precision’s incompetence in building the pipeline.”

One report, prepared for Dominion by Civil & Environmental Consultants, published for the first time in Blue Virginia, includes a long and meticulously documented list of Precision Pipeline’s incompetencies that caused landslides:

  • At least thirteen landslides occurred during construction of the pipeline built by Precision for the Appalachian Gateway Project.
  • Fill composed of unsuitable materials and improperly compacted contributes to landslides
  • “Landslides occurred due to failure to install subsurface drains in high-risk or seepage areas, failure to provide adequate surface water controls, failure to remove wood chips and other organic debris from fill slope areas, failure to properly construct ESC features, and failure to adequately compact fill.”

Sokolow points out that the words in the report are “not the words of activists, or tree sitters, or affected landowners. These are the words of an engineering firm hired by Dominion!”

And he notes that the report deals only with landslides, not with sedimentation problems, nor with damage to drinking water, property values, tourism, and the local economy.

He concludes, “So Governor Northam – and I cannot believe I am writing these words – maybe on this one you should listen to Dominion!  Stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline before Virginia’s future – and your legacy – are drowned in a muddy landslide.”

Dominion Delivers Response to FERC

On Tuesday May 22, 2018, Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (ACP, LLC) hand-delivered to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) its response to the agency as to how it proposes to proceed with constructing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in light of the May 15 order from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacating the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) biological opinion on the project as it relates to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The documents, originally due on Monday May 21, were hand-delivered because of issues with FERC’s website on Monday.

In an email-press release, ACP said:

“We have filed our response, identifying by milepost the areas we are committing to avoid. Per (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) and (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), because this information contains the locations of sensitive species which are customarily treated as privileged and confidential, this information is not being released to the public.”

For more, see the WV Exponent Telegram story.

Dominion’s Desperate Efforts at Deception


At a recent breakfast banquet for its retired employees that Dominion sponsored in Stoney Creek at Wintergreen, they asked everyone who attended to sign letters (see above and below) before they left. Dominion is resorting to this kind of propaganda in order to deceive our public officials and make them believe the general public is in support of this pipeline. Notice the letters do not state that the person signing is a retired employee.

Appeals Court Orders Halt to ACP Construction


Late in the day on May 15, 2018, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that, “A federal appeals court has ordered a halt to construction of the 600-mile Dominion Energy-led Atlantic Coast Pipeline, following a legal challenge by environmental opponents who argued a review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was inadequate. A three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit agreed, striking down the review, known as an incidental take statement, which is meant to set limits on harm to threatened or endangered species during construction.”

The court’s order states, “Petitioners seek review of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Incidental Take Statement, which authorized the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project to take certain threatened or endangered species. As to five of the affected species, Petitioners argue that the agency failed to set clear limits on take as required by the Endangered Species Act. Exercising jurisdiction pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 717r(d)(1), we conclude, for reasons to be more fully explained in a forthcoming opinion, that the limits set by the agency are so indeterminate that they undermine the Incidental Take Statement’s enforcement and monitoring function under the Endangered Species Act. Accordingly, we VACATE the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Incidental Take Statement.  See 5 U.S.C. § 706(2). We reserve judgment on the parties’ remaining disputes until our forthcoming opinion.”

D.J. Gerten, the Southern Environmental Law Center attorney who argued the case for the Sierra Club, the Defenders of Wildlife, and the Virginia Wilderness Committee, said, “This puts a stop to any work that could threaten rare and endangered species and that’s much of the pipeline route.”

In the Washington Post report, Dominion talks about continuing construction [italics added].  “‘We remain confident in the project approvals and the ACP will continue to move forward with construction as scheduled,’ spokeswoman Jen Kostyniuk said via email. ‘We will fully comply as required while we continue to construct the project. Although we disagree with the outcome of the court’s decision, and are evaluating our options, we are committed to working with the agency to address the concerns raised by the court’s order.'”

In a statement to the press, Friends of Nelson said, “We are of course pleased with this decision from the 4th Circuit regarding the US Fish and Wildlife review of the ACP. Residents and groups fighting on behalf of impacted communities have long held that thousands of pages of documents do not necessarily end in a thorough review. Errors and omissions have been rife among agencies in charge, and political pressures have been glaringly obvious. We will wait for details of the court’s full opinion, but are most grateful for the Southern Environmental Law Center’s steadfast dedication to the communities all along the route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It is indeed a pleasure to hear a court confirm the deficiencies in at least part of the review of this project. Given the opportunity for all of the many challenges to be heard by the courts before this pipe is laid, we are confident that this project will not be built.”