Category Archives: Environmental Impact

New Analysis: MVP and ACP Are Climate Disasters

Two studies released on February 15, 2017, find that if built, the controversial Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines would together contribute as much greenhouse gas pollution as 45 coal-fired power plants — some 158 million metric tons a year. The studies, released by Oil Change International, build upon a new methodology, also released today, for calculating the climate impacts of natural gas pipelines in the Appalachian Basin based on the evolving science of methane leakage and its impact on our climate.

The studies show that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is out of date on measuring climate impacts, and is failing to protect communities and citizens around the country.

“Our analysis shows that both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline are climate disasters. They threaten communities along the route and they would cause massive increases in climate pollution,” said report author and Oil Change International Senior Research Analyst Lorne Stockman, who is also a resident of Staunton, Virginia, close to the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “We don’t need these pipelines and we don’t want them. We need to move away from fossil fuels, not double down on the increased climate pollution they would cause.”

The pipelines studies can be found at the following links:

Read the full press release from Oil Change International.

High-Risk Proposal to Drill Through Blue Ridge at Reed’s Gap

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

The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition has submitted a report to FERC on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed ACP and the proposal to drill through the Blue Ridge Mountains at Reed’s Gap, going under the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the National Forest.

The report, A High Risk Proposal: Drilling Through the Blue Ridge Mountains for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, points to the many ways in which the information provided in the DEIS is insufficient to support evaluation of the proposed Blue Ridge drilling operation. It details missing information as well as MISinformation. For example:

  • The scale of excavation is not fully disclosed or considered, and the results of critical geophysical investigations have not been provided.
  • Identification of geohazards and evaluation of mitigation measures have been deferred until later, precluding a meaningful opportunity for informed review of the project.
  • The published DEIS fails to meet the information needs of of the public or the governmental agencies that have responsibilities related to the ACP project.

DPMC says FERC must release a revised DEIS to:

  • prove that boring through the Blue Ridge is a practicable option, by providing reliable and complete geophysical data
  • disclose the real extent of land disturbance and water quality damage the proposal would create
  • include detailed, site-specific plans and pollution control measures for all alternatives for crossing the Blue Ridge

Norman Bay Calls for Review of Shale Gas Development

In a five-page statement accompanying FERC’s February 3, 2017, ruling approving a 99-mile pipeline through Pennsylvania and New York, Commissioner Norman Bay, whose resignation from FERC was effective at the end of that day, gave his perspective on the impact of the shale gas revolution, praising it for helping reduce electricity prices and carbon emissions but expressing concern about methane emissions and the potential for pipeline overcapacity.

RTO Insider reports that “Bay called on the commission to ‘analyze the environmental effects of increased regional gas production from the Marcellus and Utica’ shale regions.

” ‘Despite the growing importance of Marcellus and Utica gas production — it was 22.5 Bcfd in 2016 and is projected to surpass 44 Bcfd by 2050 — the commission has never conducted a comprehensive study of the environmental consequences of increased production from that region,’ Bay noted. He said FERC should consider ‘the downstream impacts of the use of natural gas and … a life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions study.’ ”

Read the full article here.

Protect YOUR National Forest

The George Washington National Forest belongs to you!

Our forest is under threat from the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The ACP would cut across steep slopes, destroy intact forests, threaten drinking water supplies and impact sensitive species. Worse yet, the need for the ACP has yet to be demonstrated at all. That means, our forests could very well suffer all of these consequences for nothing.

To go forward, the ACP needs to secure an amendment from the Forest Service because the project is not consistent with the current 10 year plan for the George Washington National Forest.

We believe the Forest Service should not grant the Atlantic Coast Pipeline this amendment and change the plan for our public lands. Our forests should not be destroyed for the benefit of a private company.

If you agree – please speak up now during this comment period. Your voice matters!

1) Sign and share the Wild Virginia petition. Petition Link

2) Then, comment! Send statements of support to Forest Service Chief, Thomas Tidwell,, and Regional Foresters, Kathleen Atkinson,, and Tony Tooke, ttooke@fs.fed.usCopies of your letters should also be submitted to FERC’s online system to be included in the administrative record.   Wild Virginia has made you a guide to walk you through the process. Step-by-Step Comment Guide.  What should you talk about in your comments? Sample Comment Ideas   Comments are due by April 6, 2017. Remember to cite the ACP docket number, CP15-554.   You can also send comments to FERC by mail to: Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary, FERC, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

3) Don’t stop yet…sign up for a comment writing night.
Wild Virginia will help you create and file comments on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Work with your friends and neighbors to pull together and file these important comments. There will be snacks and drinks.
March 20 in Staunton or March 27 in Charlottesville.

Pipeline Fighters

Watch the trailer for Pipeline Fighters, a 98 minute feature length documentary, featuring Jane Kleeb, the XL pipeline killer, and Lorne Stockman of Oil Change International, a watch dog group, and Mekasi Camp-Horinek, a protest coordinator for Standing Rock in N.D. – plus specific footage on the ACP and MVP, and appearances by some familiar local pipeline fighters.

The trailer is here, further information, including purchase info, is here.

Read about the making of the film and the film’s director in this Roanoke Times article.

Forest Service Calls for Comments on the Authorization of the ACP on National Forest Lands

The Forest Service is requesting public comments on the authorization of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) on National Forest lands and on the proposed amendments of the Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMPs) that would allow the ACP to be constructed across the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests. 

In order for the ACP to be built across National Forest lands, the Forest Service would need to authorize the pipeline crossing, issue a special use permit, and amend the LRMPs for both National Forests, as the current LRMPs do not permit such large-scale infrastructure construction.  Amendments to the LMRPs would allow the ACP to exceed current Forest Service standards for soils and water, cross the Appalachian trail, remove old growth trees, fail to meet current Scenic Integrity Objectives, and construct access roads in the National Forests.  For more information about the specific amendments to the LRMPs for the National Forests, please see the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the ACP

Comments to the Forest Service regarding the authorization of the ACP through National Forest Lands and the proposed amendments to the LRMPs for the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests need to be submitted to FERC.  You can file comments online using FERC’s eComment feature (for brief, text-only comments) or eFiling feature (for longer comments).  You can also make comments at one of the upcoming public comment sessions or mail comments to FERC at the address below:

Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street NE, Room 1A
Washington, DC 20426

As always, remember to include the ACP’s project docket number when submitting comments to FERC: CP15-554-000.  Comments are due by April 10, 2017 (please note that this deadline for comments regarding the Forest Service’s authorization of the ACP is different than the deadline for comments to FERC regarding the DEIS!). For more information on writing and sending comments to FERC, please visit our FERC page

Please take the time to send a comment to the Forest Service via FERC and let them know that you oppose the authorization of the ACP through National Forest lands and the proposed amendments of the LRMPs for the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests.