Category Archives: FERC

Wintergreen Property Owners Plan to Sue ACP


Press Release from Friends of Wintergreen, November 20, 2017:  Nearly 1,000 Wintergreen Property Owners Plan To Sue the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Contact Jonathan Ansell, 804-405-1109

Friends of Wintergreen announced today that nearly 1,000 Wintergreen property owners, a number that is growing daily, plan to individually sue the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for damages to their property if the pipeline company seizes land used by the Wintergreen community. These actions follow a rare split-decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve the 600-mile, 42-inch compressed natural gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and grant the private pipeline company the power to use eminent domain to seize private land, including 7-acres of common land at Wintergreen.

“By approving the ACP, FERC effectively guarantees a 14% profit (or over $200 million a year) to the Dominion-managed pipeline company, a return that comes at the expense of many unwilling, uncompensated or under-compensated Virginia landowners”. In the case of Wintergreen property owners, the land to be seized by the pipeline will come with no compensation to individual property owners, but significant inconvenience and damage to their property values” said Jonathan Ansell, Chairman of Friends of Wintergreen, Inc.

Most of the individual “inverse condemnation” lawsuits will be managed by the Norfolk-based eminent domain law firm, Waldo & Lyle PC. According to Brian Kunze, Partner at the firm: “Under the US Constitution and Virginia law, no private property can be damaged or taken for public use without just compensation to the owner. If a property owner does not receive compensation for the taking of land, as is the case for nearly 4,000 individual Wintergreen owners, these owners are entitled to obtain compensation under a legal procedure known as “inverse condemnation”. We intend to file these cases the day after the ACP takes Wintergreen property”.

Separately, Friends of Wintergreen and the Wintergreen Property Owners Association (WPOA) filed a legal action with FERC to halt the construction of the pipeline until a full rehearing is completed. “We believe that FERC’s approval of the pipeline was arbitrary, capricious and not supported by the substantial evidence and alternatives we and others have provided”, said Jay Roberts, Executive Director of the WPOA. “On October 13, the FERC Commission voted 2 to 1 to approve the ACP, a rare split-decision in a federal agency where 98% of votes are unanimous”, noted Ansell. The dissenting opinion was issued by a Commissioner with seven years experience on the FERC Commission; the two Commissioners who approved the ACP were each on the job for about 60 days.

Friends of Wintergreen, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to protecting and enhancing the value, beauty, integrity, and sustainability of the Wintergreen VA area.

Press Release: Friends of Nelson Files with FERC to Stop ACP


Press Release, November 14, 2017: Friends of Nelson Files with FERC to Stop Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Contact: Joyce Burton (434-361-2328), Ernie Reed (434-971-1647)

Yesterday, Friends of Nelson filed a Request for Rehearing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on FERC’s decision to issue a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The filing is on behalf of 63 property owners and citizens of Nelson County, and 4 community organizations.

Horizons Village Property Owners Association, Inc., Wintergreen Country Store Land Trust, and the Rockfish Valley Foundation are among the parties filing the Request.

“A Request for Rehearing is the next step we are taking legally to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” said Joyce Burton of Friends of Nelson. “We have done this for our friends and neighbors so that we can all preserve our ability to take further legal action against FERC for the crimes they are committing against Nelson County.”

Friends of Nelson also requested a Motion for Stay, which, if successful, would halt any progress on the project. “FERC may rule on the Request for Rehearing and the Stay, or it may choose not to,” Burton stated. “But no matter the outcome, this will open the door for further litigation.”

The Friends of Nelson filing asserts that FERC and Dominion have failed to provide sufficient analysis and information on the environmental, cultural, historical, economic and socio-economic impacts of the project in Nelson County. It also claims that FERC and Dominion have failed to demonstrate a need for the project, so should not be granted eminent domain powers.

Friends of Nelson is also party to a separate Request for Rehearing filed yesterday by Appalachian Mountain Advocates and Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of 22 groups, including the Sierra Club, Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Friends of Buckingham, Wild Virginia, Nelson Hilltop LLC, and Rockfish Valley Investments.

Request for Rehearing and Motion for Stay of FERC’s ACP Decision

Breaking news from the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA):

Late afternoon on November 13, 2017, a motion was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting a rehearing of the Commission’s order issuing a certificate for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The petition, filed on behalf of 22 organizations (including Friends of Nelson) and 10 individuals, requests that the Commission:

1. Grant Intervenors’ request for rehearing;

2. Grant Intervenors’ motion for a stay and immediately stay applicants and their contractors from taking any action authorized by the Certificate Order including, but not limited to, construction of the projects (including tree clearing) and any attempt to use the power of eminent domain pending final action on the request for rehearing;

3. Upon completion of the rehearing process, rescind the Certificate Order;

4. Grant Intervenors’ request for an evidentiary hearing concerning the market demand for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline;

5. Before making any new certificate ruling, conduct an analysis of whether the projects are required by the public convenience and necessity, as required under the NGA, that complies with the Commission’s Certificate Policy Statement;

6. Before making any new certificate ruling, conduct a NEPA analysis that addresses the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the projects; provides a robust analysis of alternatives, including the existing infrastructure alternatives; and addresses the other NEPA-specific issues set forth in this request and Intervenors’ previous comments in these dockets.

7. Grant any and all other relief to which Intervenors are entitled.

A copy of the 210 page petition is available on the ABRA website, see https://www.abralliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Petition_for_Rehearing_to_FERC_20171113.pdf.

FERC’s 18-Year-Old Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Policy Needs Updating

Figure 3 from the NRDC report, November 6, 2017

On November 6, 2017, the Natural Resources Defense Council issued a press release saying, “The government’s 18-year-old policy for approving natural gas pipelines that cross state borders should be updated to reflect the sector’s significant changes and exponential growth, as well as increasing concerns about public health and environmental risks, according to a groundbreaking Analysis Group study commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The report, Natural Gas Pipeline Certification: Policy Considerations for a Changing Industry, examines the changes in the patterns and pricing of the production, transportation, and use of natural gas, as well as sizable amount of pipeline infrastructure added since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its 1999 Policy Statement governing how it makes decisions on certifying new interstate pipelines.

“‘The report underscores very real concerns that we are overbuilding the natural gas pipeline system,’ said Montina Cole, a senior attorney working with the Sustainable FERC Project housed within NRDC. ‘Pipelines put people’s health, safe drinking water, and our climate at risk. It’s a waste to keep building more pipelines when America is rapidly transitioning to a cleaner, energy future with non-polluting alternatives that don’t require pipelines, such as energy efficiency, wind and solar.’

“FERC has approved approximately 400 pipeline applications since then, creating enough capacity to carry 180 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day, the report said. However, average daily U.S. consumption was less than half that last year at only 75.11 billion cubic feet. (The average daily use in January 2017 was 93.1 billion cubic feet, still considerably below pipeline capacity.)”

Read the full NRDC press release here.

Read the new report here.

Read a blog post by Montina Cole, the senior attorney working with the Sustainable FERC Project within NRDC.

Senate Approves Trump’s Final Two FERC Nominees


On November 2, 2017, the Senate approved Trump’s final two nominees to FERC, giving the Commission the full five members for the first time in two years. New Commissioners, Kevin McIntyre and Richard Glick, join Neil Chatterjee, a former staffer of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Rob Powelson, a former Pennsylvania energy regulator, and Cheryl LaFleur, a Democratic holdover from the Obama administration.

On FERC’s agenda is consideration of a controversial proposal by Energy Secretary Rick Perry to create new rules subsidizing coal and nuclear plants to value the “reliability and resiliency” they offer the electric grid, and now has full membership to vote on that proposal.

According to the Washington Examiner article announcing the appointments, “McIntyre and Glick stressed in their September confirmation hearings that they would adhere to the commission’s basic duties of approving and regulating the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil, without favoring one energy source over another. ‘FERC does not pick fuels among different generating resources, so it’s important it be open to the science and the characteristics of reliability and economics that are important to satisfying the energy needs of our nation,’ McIntyre testified in the Sept. 7 hearing. Chatterjee, meanwhile, has expressed openness to adopting Perry’s proposal in some form. LaFleur and Powelson have reacted more skeptically to Perry’s plan, vowing to maintain the board’s independence.”