Category Archives: Events

Media Advisory: Rally and Court Hearing

Media Advisory – Community Rally and Court Hearing: Nelson County Landowners’ Right to Deny Survey for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Contact: Ernie Reed, 434-971-1647

A community rally in support of Nelson County property owners who have been sued by Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (ACP) will be held on Monday, February 6, at 12 noon on the steps of the Nelson County Courthouse in Lovingston. The rally will precede the 1:30 hearing in Nelson Circuit Court on ACP’s request for a declaratory judgment that would allow them to enter private property in order to survey for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline without the consent of affected Nelson County property owners.

In the evidentiary hearing on the petition, both ACP and the defendants will likely call witnesses to testify, including experts on the matter in dispute. According to the Circuit Court schedule, this hearing will be for 39 different property owners being sued by Dominion, and they will be represented by several different attorneys.

A previous hearing in Buckingham County Circuit Court resulted in the awarding of a declaratory judgment against 7 Buckingham citizens. That ruling is not applicable to Nelson County defendants.

The defendants claim 1) that Atlantic Coat Pipeline LLC does not have the authority to enter these properties and that 2) ACP has failed to give proper notice of entry as required by the Virginia Code.

“We’re hoping Judge Garrett will hear the evidence and conclude, as we do, that the ACP cannot satisfy the requirements of the statute in order to be exempt from common law trespass,” said attorney Chuck Lollar, who is representing many of the defendants.

“Pipelines can be built using fair practices that respect landowners and property rights,” said Richard Averitt, one of the defendants. “Virginia citizens are being victimized by a corrupt system where Dominion, in this case being treated as a public utility, has biased our system of checks and balances.”

“A bully is an opportunist, using intimidation and manipulation to prey upon isolated, weaker victims for their own self-gratification,” said Barbara Fuhrman, who is also being sued. “Dominion has tried to get individual property owners to allow surveyors on their land, telling the landowner that this was Dominion’s legal right. Some property owners were also asked to sign easement agreements prior to FERC’s issuing a certification of approval for the pipeline, implying that if they didn’t agree now, they might not receive settlement money.”

“We will continue to use the courts over and over again to protect our rights!” Ms. Fuhrman concluded. “ We will never give in! We will never give up!”

The rally is being organized by Friends of Nelson. Additional affected property owners will be available for comment.

Time Change in FERC’s Nelson County Hearing

FERC has made a time change in the public comment session on the DEIS scheduled for Wednesday February 22, 2017, at Nelson County High School in Lovingston. Instead of 6:00-9:00 pm, the hearing will now be from 6:30-9:00. FERC says they will be bringing additional court reporters to make up for the lost time.  Come early to sign up for a number to speak!

Please note: comments will not be taken in public as they were at the scoping meeting. Speakers’ comments will be taken in a private room with a stenographer. It is therefore crucially important that everyone who gives comments brings a paper copy to give to the stenographer and that everyone ALSO submits their comments to FERC so that there is an irrefutable paper trail!

ACP Survey Suit Rally and Evidentiary Hearings

Monday February 6, 2017, 12 noon – 5 pm, Nelson County Circuit Court in Lovingston

On December 7, 2016, ACP filed in court a second amended petition asking for a declaratory judgement allowing them to enter private property in order to survey for the proposed pipeline.

The evidentiary hearing on the petition, where both ACP and the owners will likely call witnesses, including experts, will be held in Nelson Circuit Court at 1:30 p.m. on Monday February 6, 2017. According to the Circuit Court schedule, this hearing will be for 39 different property owners being sued by Dominion; the property owners will be represented by several different attorneys.

Protest at the Rally outside the courthouse at 12 noon, prior to the hearing at 1:30pm. Bring signs emphasizing property rights concerns – we want to be sure the media recognizes the scale of Dominion’s bullying! We also need support at the Court hearing itself, but please do not bring signs, shirts or buttons into the court house.

Film Screening: The Future of Energy

Back by popular demand! Come see a heart-warming and optimistic report on the revolution that has already started: clean energy is alive and well throughout the USA. The 64-minute dvd The Future of Energy will be shown, free of charge, in RVCC’s Rock U. room on Friday, February 10, 2017, at 6:30pm, and on Wednesday, February 15, at 1pm.

The Future of Energy journeys across America to shine a light on the communities and individuals who are at the forefront of the clean energy revolution, taking practical steps to transition from fossil fuels to renewable power.

Solar, wind and water could power the planet by the year 2050, according to experts in the film, substantially reducing carbon emissions. What’s needed is the social and political willpower to make changes on a large scale.

For recent relevant stories, see our posts on More Workers in Solar than in Fossil Fuel Power Generation, on U.S. Hits Solar Pricing Goal 3 Years Ahead of Schedule, and on the President’s Executive Order to Expedite Environmental Reviews.

Community Meeting on ACP

Join us on Sunday February 12, 2017, at 7 p.m. at the Rockfish Valley Community Center for a community meeting. The featured guest will be Thomas Hadwin, speaking on “Challenging the Purpose and Need of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.” Thomas has worked for electric and gas utilities in Michigan and New York and has written numerous articles, reports and FERC submissions on the absence of any public need or benefit for the ACP. We’ll also discuss the upcoming FERC hearings on the DEIS.

No Frackin’ Way! Rally

In addition to other events of Conservation Lobby Day on Monday January 23, 2017 (see details in our Events calendar), the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club is sponsoring a No Frackin’ Way! rally on January 23, noon-1 pm at the Capitol Grounds Bell Tower, Richmond. In this year’s General Assembly session, there is the potential for various pieces of legislation that could leave us exposed to the dangerous environmental and health impacts of fracking. Join a chorus of voices asking our legislators to strengthen Virginia’s standards on fracking.