ACP has started suing landowners. Unlike MVP, ACP is filing suits in batches, using a strategy that makes it harder for landowners to coordinate efforts. On Tuesday, February 27, 2018, landowners will meet at the Rockfish Presbyterian Church on HWY 151 at 7pm. Please enter the door around the back of the church. We will have three guests who can help inform landowners. Chris Johns and Isak Howell are lawyers who focus on representing landowners across the country in pipeline takings; they currently represent several landowners on the ACP and will give an overview of where things stand with the project and legal challenges to it. Josh Korman is a licensed appraiser with vast experience in valuing the impact that pipelines have on land values. Event organizers Richard and Jill Averitt welcome anyone interested in the ACP project to attend this informational meeting on Tuesday, and Friends of Nelson urges all landowners whose property is crossed by either the pipeline and/or its access roads to attend.
A new video, Beyond the Pipeline, focuses on ways individuals and communities in Augusta, Nelson, and Buckingham counties are coming together to stand up against the ACP.
Lee White: “It starts on the local level. We have to act. We have to step up. It’s our responsibility.”
Richard Averitt: “We’re fighting an extraordinarily powerful enterprise. And really, at its core, we’re fighting things that are so hard-baked into our legal system, and our society, and the incentives that are there, that you recognize when you get into this that it’s not really about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. That’s a symptom of a much, much bigger problem, and it’s going to take all of us to turn it around.”
Join us in the fight!
(A production of Amanda Joy Photographics, Conservation Division.)
Delegate Chris Hurst, Delegate Sam Rasoul, and Senator John Edwards held a joint press conference on January 11, 2018, to discuss legislation they’ve introduced to the 2018 Virginia General Assembly aimed at protecting water quality and landowner rights from the construction of fracked-gas pipelines, such as the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines. The bills would require the Department of Environmental Quality to perform robust water permitting and impact review, and restrict the ability of pipeline companies to access private property,
The bills are (click on the links to see the full bill):
- HB 1187 (Curtails the ability of a natural gas company to enter upon real property for the purpose of conducting surveys and other tests for its proposed line or the location of facilities) and HB 1188 (Requires the operator of any natural gas pipeline of a certain size, prior to operation, to commission an independent test of the quality of ground water for each property in the right-of-way and to file a gas discharge contingency plan that is approved by the State Water Control Board (the Board), introduced by Delegate Chris Hurst)
- HB 1141 (Directs the State Water Control Board (the Board), regarding interstate natural gas pipeline projects, to (i) require both a Virginia Water Protection Permit and an Individual Water Quality Certification under § 401 of the federal Clean Water Act; (ii) review water body crossings, construction through karst terrain, and plans for control of erosion, sediment, and stormwater; (iii) prohibit any land-disturbing activity, including tree felling, prior to the issuance of a Water Quality Certification; and (iv) require horizontal directional drilling for certain crossings of large water bodies) and HB 1294 (Requires any company that plans to construct an interstate natural gas pipeline in Virginia to post a performance bond with the State Water Control Board (the Board) in an amount sufficient to ensure that the Board could address and remediate any adverse water quality impact that arises out of the construction) introduced by Delegate Sam Rasoul
- SB 324 (Curtails the ability of a natural gas company to enter upon real property for the purpose of conducting surveys and other tests for its proposed line or the location of facilities – a companion to HB 1187 above) introduced by Senator John Edwards.
The Nelson County Times for December 27, 2017, includes an excellent review of the fight against the ACP in Nelson County, featuring Joyce Burton, Eleanor Amidon, and Deborah Kushner. For them, as for may of us, Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline split life into before and after. “‘Boy, that was a different age,’ [Kushner] said. ‘The pre-pipeline age.’ And there’s now, when hundreds of residents continue to battle the project.”
The fight started with a handful of shocked residents trying to develop the best first step in resistance. Soon, local nonprofits and other organizations dedicated solely to fighting the pipeline began to form; they were joined by regional chapters of larger organizations.
“‘We have never seen this kind of uprising of people in this state on an environmental issue,’ David Sligh, an environmental attorney, former DEQ engineer, conservation director for Wild Virginia and investigator for the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch following the [Virginia State Water Control] Board’s Dec. 12 decision. ‘I’ve been working on these issues for over 35 years, and I have never seen this kind of effort. I have never seen this kind of unity. And that is important, and I think they recognize this.'”
Yes, we are still fighting! The pipeline is not a done deal!
The Triangle Business Journal reported on December 4, 2017 that the ACP has filed its first eminent domain action in North Carolina (although the NC Department of Environmental Quality has not issued 401 water certifications yet!). “On Friday, ACP filed two suits to acquire North Carolina tracts through eminent domain, an action spokesman Aaron Ruby has called a last resort.”
Friends of Nelson urges all landowners on the proposed ACP route to retain an eminent domain lawyer. Most landowners on the ACP route in Nelson County have legal representation. If you do not, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will give you the information you need to protect yourself and your land. (And please take a look at our Eminent Domain page.) We will continue to stand up and support and back up landowners threatened by the ACP. This is not a done deal. We are still here and ready to help!
Has the value on your recent property tax assessment gone up? Is your property on the proposed ACP route? Are you in the blast zone? Will your view be ruined if the proposed right-of-way is cleared?
Of course, we are still fighting the pipeline and, in the end, we believe justice will prevail and keep this monstrosity from being built. However, until the project is cancelled once and for all, it is hard to believe that lands impacted by the pipeline should be assessed at an increased value over the what their assessments were before the ACP was announced to be coming through.
We never thought that the ACP would increase the value of our lands, and the 2016 Key Log Study confirmed our fears. Indeed, we are convinced that just the threat of the ACP has already lessened the market value of many Nelsonian’s land. Among the potential negative impacts of the ACP that could affect your property value are things like:
- the risk of losing your home (or worse) to an explosion should there be a leak in the pipe,
- a 50′ perpetual right of way limiting your use of your land
- the removal of all trees along the 125’ clear-cut construction right-of-way
- further clear-cut areas for the hundreds of “additional temporary work spaces” that are scattered along the route
- additional clearing for of miles of access roads which may make it easier for trespassers to come onto your private property
- the damage to nearby stream ecosystems and possible disruption of groundwater sources,
- the noise and destruction during construction and the likely erosion problems that we anticipate will last long after the construction crews leave
- loss of scenic views…which can even be the case for some properties that are relatively far off the route
If you want to appeal your new property assessment, YOU MUST DO THAT BY THIS FRIDAY, December 8, 2017. To file an appeal, call the number that is on the back of your assessment notice: 800-393-5128. They will take your information and either make a determination over the phone, or give you further information about the next steps.
You have the right to appeal your property tax assessment — even if you have signed an easement with ACP — we strongly encourage you to do so.
If you have questions about whether your property is on the route, on an access road or in the blast zone, please send us an e-mail ASAP, email@example.com, with your phone number and someone will get back to you as quickly as possible.