Category Archives: Economy

“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.

More Workers in Solar than in Fossil Fuel Power Generation

A January 2017 report from the Department of Energy says solar power employed 42% of the Electric Power Generation sector’s workforce in 2016, while fossil fuels combined accounted for just 22%. According to a January 25, 2017, Forbes article, “The boom in the country’s solar workforce can be attributed to construction work associated with expanding generation capacity. The gulf in employment is growing with net generation from coal falling 53 percent over the last decade. During the same period, electricity generation from natural gas increased 33 percent while solar expanded 5,000 percent.” The graphic above is by Forbes/Statista.

Dominion claims ‘jobs’ as one of positives that their pipeline will bring to communities. But the pipeline builders will not be local folks, and after construction, required employment numbers will be minimal. Dominion’s cited “jobs” = Dominion’s propaganda.

The DoE report is here.  The Forbes article is here.

In the Pipeline’s Path

“The people of Appalachia, well accustomed to exploitation from moneyed outside corporations, are rallying against the loss of land, home values, and safety posed by the pipeline proposal. In fact, the pipeline has united communities across political and social spectra, in a fierce defiance against the project and a common goal to defeat its proponent, Dominion Resources.”

Dominion “has long been recognized for its outsized influence on Virginia’s government.” McAuliffe’s enthusiasm reflects “only the vaguest understanding of what the pipeline would entail for his constituents.” (and he has steadfastly refused to talk to opponents for 32 months now!)

“The revenue and job numbers Dominion has projected for the construction of the pipeline are staggering.” But “To some market analysts, this sounds almost too good to be true. In fact, environmental groups have challenged many of Dominion’s economic projections surrounding the project … [concluding] that Dominion’s claims regarding economic benefits were overstated and lacked adequate supporting data.”

“Furthermore, the ACP’s supporters reliably ignore the tedious environmental realities of this gargantuan undertaking.” The article explores environmental issues from clear-cutting and irreparable construction damage to endangered and invasive species to water quality and collapsing karst., and goes on to discuss threats to public health and safety.

And, not least, is the matter of Dominion’s taking of private property. One resident said, “Dominion has acted from the start as if people losing their rights and land are a nuisance along the way to bolstering its bottom line. Will Dominion get its way, trampling economic development and private property rights while giving little or nothing back to those it abuses?”

Read the excellent Earth Island journal article summarizing Dominion’s plans and the ever-rising groundswell of opposition to those plans. Communities along the ACP route are fighting back – and we are part of that fight!


ACP and Compressor Station Not Needed or Wanted

jeeva-graphic-8dec2016Joseph Jeeva Abbate’s December 8, 2016, Letter to the Editor in the Farmville Herald points out that people in Buckingham County don’t want the compressor station and don’t want the pipeline, and that economic studies show the pipeline isn’t needed. Furthermore, “More than 95 percent of all concerned citizens submitting letters to FERC understood the ACP and its compressor station would have a negative impact to the Virginia economy, a negative impact on Virginia forests, a negative impact on Virginia water, a negative impact on Virginia citizens’ health, a negative impact on Virginia citizens’ safety and a negative impact on Virginia culture. And 73.7 percent of all respondents expressed a negative viewpoint on the ACP overall.”

Study: Proposed Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines Not Needed

A new study by Massachusetts-based Synapse Energy Economics, released September 12, 2016, in Nelson County, reveals that neither the Atlantic Coast Pipeline nor the Mountain Valley Pipeline are needed because existing pipelines can supply more than enough fuel to power the region through 2030. The projects, both strongly opposed by local governments, businesses, and thousands of mid-Atlantic neighbors, would be financially beneficial to utility companies and their investors, but would burden customers with higher bills to cover the cost of the unnecessary construction.

“The dilemma for communities up until now has been figuring out where these pipelines would be built,” said Greg Buppert, a [Southern Environmental Law Center] staff attorney. “But today we know they don’t need to be built at all. Despite what we have heard from the utilities, we will have plenty of power and heat without them.”

“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission cannot approve any pipeline project unless it is absolutely necessary,” said Joe Lovett, executive director of Appalachian Mountain Advocates. “And in cases like this, where the government allows for-profit companies to take private property — family farms, people’s homes — that protection is especially crucial. This report shows the pipelines are not needed, so there should be no eminent domain for private gain. To do so would violate the law and the private property traditions of Virginia.”

Read the full press release.

Read the Synapse report: Are the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline Necessary?

Do we need the ACP? If not, why would Dominion propose a $5 billion pipeline that’s not needed? And why might our federal government allow it? See the new Story Map from Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition.

Using Electricity Customers to Pay for Pipelines

A new post on Power for the People VA by Ivy Main discusses how southeastern electric utilities find their way to higher profits through gas pipelines and captive consumers.

Dominion Resources is one of the companies that has adopted a growth strategy reliant on large volumes of fracked gas. For Dominion and other southeastern utilities, rate of return is only part of the attraction. “In a strategy that ought to concern regulators and electricity consumers, Duke, Dominion and NextEra all plan to use their regulated electric power subsidiaries to guarantee demand for the pipelines they’re building. The subsidiaries will build natural gas generating plants, paid for by electricity consumers, to be supplied with gas carried through the pipelines owned by their sister companies.”

BUT (the article points out), “So many pipelines are in development that analysts say there simply isn’t enough gas to fill them all. At the 2016 Marcellus-Utica Midstream Conference in February, attendees were warned that pipeline capacity ‘will be largely overbuilt by the 2016-2017 timeframe.’ ”

Further, “Linking pipelines to captive customers should prove a profitable arrangement for the utilities. For the customers who bear the costs and risks, it’s much more problematic. But state law gives them no say in the matter. In these southern states, the electric power subsidiaries hold legal monopolies in their designated territories. Once federal regulators approve the pipelines and state regulators approve the gas plants, the captive customers bear the loss if the bet turns sour.”

Read the full article here.