Category Archives: Friends of Nelson

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.

In the News


Have you missed any recent news stories? In addition to stories that make our front page, we regularly post other news stories on our In the News page – click the tab above for recent stories or refer to the archived pages listed in the drop-down menu for news stories back to 2014 when our fight began.

Now Is the Time


We are now approaching the potentiality of major legal challenges to FERC, to Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and to the United States Forest Service (USFS).

We have provided expert comments to FERC, to the Virginia DEQ, and to the USFS on the impacts to Nelson County from the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Our Economic Report documents the direct costs to Nelson County, property values and revenues from the pipeline.

Our Steep Slope Study describes the geologic challenges to Nelson County from the proposed pipeline, the removal of ridge tops, and the potential for erosion and landslides.

Our Water Monitoring Program has created a baseline water quality in Nelson County that the Virginia DEQ and Dominion must protect. 

We have filed a federal lawsuit along with 14 Nelson County property owners against FERC, challenging their ability to use eminent domain to take properties along the proposed ACP route.

We continue to:

We continue to build our legal cases, using community and property owner support, procedural challenges, scientific analysis, and professional-expert analysis.


Please make a donation to Friends of Nelson HERE or by sending a check made out to Virginia Organizing, notating ‘Friends of Nelson’ in the memo line to:

Friends of Nelson
P. O. Box 33
Nellysford, VA 22958

Thank you for your support and Keep in Touch!

Ernie Reed, President
Friends of Nelson

Friends of Nelson Submits Comments to DEQ

Davis Creek area, August 1969

Friends of Nelson has submitted extensive comments on the proposed 401 Water Quality Certifications for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The comments include:

  • A letter written by Board member Jim Bolton related to activity on steep slopes and in slide-prone areas such as found in Nelson County, including patterns of recurrent destructive landslides and resulting debris flows and fans, and similar rapid erosional processes; includes links to supporting documents and U.S.G.S. maps and documents
  • A letter by Board member Joyce Burton on water quality issues, specifically those related to activity on the steep, landslide-prone slopes found in Nelson County
  • Comments on FERC’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the ACP prepared by Dr. W. Lee Daniels on behalf of Friends of Nelson in April of 2017 addressing (among other things) disposal of excess spoil, risks posed by acid forming materials (AFM) in the soils along the pipeline route and inadequate procedures to mitigate them, and adverse impacts of the proposed soil disturbances on farmland productivity, with the overall conclusion that the project as proposed could potentially negatively affect soils and water quality in Nelson County and surrounding landscapes.
  • August 2017 memo by Dr. Daniels confirming that his April 3, 2017, report is also clearly applicable to the current DEQ review process
  • A bound copy of Blackburn Consulting Services, Nelson County Report, Report Analysis and Field Verification of Soil and Geologic Concerns with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Nelson County, VA, dated March 2017, discussing pipeline construction and the potential for increased landslide risk and increased soil erosion, especially on steep slopes

It is DEQ’s responsibility to safeguard our Virginia’s water resources. Building the ACP in terrain that is as steep, difficult to stabilize, and nearly impossible to successfully revegetate such as that found in much of Nelson County poses an unacceptable risk to our precious water resources. ACP has not committed to adhering to the same standards and safeguards on private lands as on Forest Service lands, leaving Nelson’s steep, landslide-prone slopes particularly vulnerable.

Contrary to what has been implied in their aggressive marketing campaign, ACP’s “Best in Class” (BIC) program for managing the challenges of steep slope and narrow ridgetop construction is still “under development,” and other slope instability/landslide risk reduction measures have not yet been adopted. Because of this, and because of the inadequacy of ACP’s landslide risk analysis on non-USFS lands along the route, neither stakeholders nor the DEQ can thoroughly assess the likelihood and magnitude of the slope stability-related environmental effects of the project nor the sufficiency of their plans for the multiple sites that we anticipate to be at high risk.

The cited inadequacies in the ACP’s plans are not isolated aberrations, but rather constitute an underlying pattern of inadequate analysis and planning which has the potential to severely impact Virginia’s waterways.