Category Archives: Environmental Impact

Blasting Through Streams

More from Dykon Blasting Corp., a contractor doing pipeline construction work for Dominion. On their Web page they boast that “On the Dominion Gas – Appalachian Gateway project [in Pennsylvania], Dykon Blasting Corp. shot over 20,431 lineal feet of trench along with over 16,952 cubic yards of rock! With our efficiency we were able to keep the contractor on schedule and take care of all of the rock removal on the project!” Photos and videos of blasting – difficult to imagine how Dominion can say flora, fauna, and water quality will not be affected.

See also our earlier post on Dykon.

Shareholders Urge Dominion to Report on Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Power for the People VA reported on May 14, 2017, that during Dominion Resources’ annual shareholder meeting on May 12, 2017, “some 48 percent of Dominion shares that were voted supported the resolution of a major shareholder, the New York State Common Retirement fund, calling on the company’s board of directors to report on how the company will deal in coming years with the fact that the world needs to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to an extent consistent with limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.” Dominion did its best to bury the information (as it always does its best to bury information on how far it lags behind in anything addressing renewable energy or reduction of emissions) by only announcing during the meeting that the four shareholder resolutions on the ballot failed to get a majority of votes. But the vote should be a major jolt to Dominion since “the total value of the nearly 198 million shares voting for the resolution was $15.5 billion, based on Dominion’s May 9 closing stock price,” and since shareholder resolutions rarely gather any significant number of votes, particularly when Dominion’s board always recommends a “no” vote on any environment- or climate-related resolution.

Power to the People VA author Seth Heald, who holds Dominion stock and was therefore able to attend the meeting, also describes the blackout curtains Dominion had installed on the glass walkway from the parking lot and in front of the building’s lobby windows. Dominion really didn’t want shareholders to see the demonstrators lining the sidewalks outside!

Dominion on Stream Crossings in Nelson

John Minear of Horizons Village says: “This is a photo from our neighbor, Dima Holmes, of the stream that runs between our lots at Horizons Village, taken after the recent rains. These kinds of streams are all over the Blue Ridge area of Nelson County. This is the area that Dominion Energy wants to ‘take’ for its Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Here is the document that they posted on FERC [on May 12, 2017] detailing stream crossings in Nelson County. They begin with Pond Hollow and move to the Spruce Creek crossing at 151. They ignore the prior Spruce Creek crossing back up stream that goes from Horizons Village to Richard Averitt’s property. They talk about ‘damming’ as their technique.”

FERC/Dominion never make it easy to find anything! (Perhaps they don’t actually want people to find filings and documentation?) To read the document about stream crossings, go to “Public Appendix A Geohazard Report Pt. 11 pdf” in the list of documents on the Ferc ELibrary page. But the report is obviously not complete, since they omit a major crossing of Spruce Creek upstream from Horizons Village.

FERC Blocks Rover Pipeline after Spills During HDD

On May 10, 2017, the Washington Post reported that FERC has curtailed work on the Rover pipeline in northern Ohio after Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) reported 18 leaks and the spilling of more than 2 million gallons of drilling fluid. No new horizontal directional drilling (HDD) may begin in 8 areas where drilling was planned, and the company was told to “double the number of environmental inspectors and to preserve documents the commission wants to examine as it investigates the spills.” ETP maintains that the spills, which they say are of non-toxic drilling mud, had been predicted in their permit application, but FERC said its staff has “serious concerns” regarding the magnitude of the largest spill, “its environmental impacts, the lack of clarity regarding the underlying reasons for its occurrence, and the possibility of future problems,” and that the spill was “several orders of magnitude greater than other documented inadvertent returns for the project.”

Drilling mud a foot or two deep is visible in a video of the wetlands area provided by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Horizontal directional drilling is the process Dominion proposes for drilling under the Blue Ridge at Reed’s Gap.

DPMC Files Another FOIA Request

Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC) has filed yet another Freedom of Information Act Request with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, asking for critical records related to the ACP, including:

  • Erosion and Sediment Control Plans, including narrative descriptions and schematic depictions or alignment sheets, for the pipeline corridor and other pipeline-related construction activities, including access roads, other workspace and staging areas.
  • Stormwater Management Plans, including narrative descriptions, schematic depictions or alignment sheets and computational spreadsheets, for the pipeline corridor and other pipeline-related construction activities.
  • Descriptive material related to ACP’s “Best in Class” program and other slope-stabilization plans, including narrative descriptions and site-specific designs, depictions and alignment sheets.

Although the Virginia DEQ has announced that it will conduct project-specific 401 Water Quality Certification reviews for both the ACP and the MVP, no one has yet seen complete applications or the detailed plans DPMC is again requesting. Moreover, in correspondence with the DEQ, Dominion contends that Stormwater Management Plans (required of all other significant earth-disturbing projects in Virginia) should not be required because the project will not alter the runoff characteristics of the steep mountainsides and ridge lines it intends to excavate.