Category Archives: Natural Resources

SELC Says Agency Rolled Back Restrictions for Dominion

Photo by Holly Marcus

The ABRA Newsletter reports that the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) rolled back construction restrictions to help Dominion with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline:

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), in the closing days of the McAuliffe administration, rolled back restrictions on construction in streams to help Dominion and Atlantic Coast Pipeline developers move the project along faster. The modifications granted, which were pursuant to a September 8, 2017 request from Dominion Energy, would effectively weaken protections for Virginia water and wildlife, were made without public input or notice from Virginia to the public, despite widespread opposition to the project. Dominion had previously agreed to all of the restrictions as set out in the project’s environmental impact statement, but it sought waivers to the Time of Year Restrictions (TOYRs) because the company could not meet its original construction schedule. The revelation was announced June 28 by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), which obtained the information through documents obtained through the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. In a June 22 letter to Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler, who oversees VDGIF, SELC said:

The waivers granted include rescission of the rainbow, brook, and brown trout TOYRs on the Jackson River, one of Virginia’s premier trout rivers, and permission to conduct in-stream construction on at least six Cowpasture River tributaries during the James Spinymussel TOYR. For other streams, such as Stuart Run, Morris Run, Dowell’s Draft, and Back Creek (Augusta County), VDGIF agreed to totally rescind the applicable trout TOYRs. For thirteen Mill Creek tributaries, the agency offered to allow in-stream construction during the James Spinymussel restricted period. In many cases, VDGIF made waivers more extensive than what Atlantic and Dominion had asked for.

Continuing, SELC pointed out to Secretary Strickler:

These rescissions and alterations of TOYRs put in place to protect important public resources are not consistent with the Governor’s promise to protect Virginia rivers and streams from harm caused by pipeline construction and should be reversed. We further request that Virginia publicly commit to strict enforcement of the various resource protection measures imposed by state agencies, and that Virginia will not grant requests for alteration or waiver of these restricted periods and other protective measures without formal public notice and at least a 30-day comment period.

This story was also reported on June 28, 2018, in the Augusta Free Press.

No Pipeline Summer: Camp to Save the Limperts’ Land


Sign up HERE for a day hike or an overnight stay at a miraculous old-growth forest in Bath County Virginia, threatened by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The biggest regional land-clearing project since the federal highway program of the 1960s is now underway in Virginia. In order to build the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines, Dominion Energy and EQT are targeting vulnerable communities, destroying precious ecosystems, and threatening the livelihoods of Virginians far and wide.

Enough is enough. Join pipeline opponents in Bath County this summer for a continuous peaceful and family-friendly encampment on the property of Bill and Lynn Limpert. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is slated to go right through their property, destroying hundreds of its jaw-dropping old growth trees, and decapitating an entire ridgeline known locally as “Miracle Ridge.”

Sign up HERE to schedule a time to visit for a day or camp for a few nights and take a stand with the Limperts. The encampment will start on Friday, June 29 and will run at least until the first week of September when people across the country will call on their leaders for climate action as part of the People’s Climate March.

The Limpert camp will be set up a very short walk from their mountain home. You will be able to park within a few hundred feet of your camping location. Water and emergency phone service will be available at the camp, as well as a full-time coordinator to greet you and provide assistance as needed. Please bring your own camping equipment and food.

Please list every date you are interested in a day visit or camping. You will have the option to participate in community potlucks, go on hikes, join open mic nights, and participate in community forums to discuss the ongoing resistance to the ACP in Bath County. Participants will be calling on all our leaders to stop these pipelines once and for all.

Take a stand this summer and join the No Pipeline Summer: Camp to Save the Limpert Land.

After you fill out the form, you will receive all the details you’ll need regarding location, directions, and more. For insurance purposes, participants must present some form of photo ID upon arrival. Multiple forms of ID including but not limited to a driver’s license will be accepted.

SIGN UP HERE TO JOIN THE CAMP.

Want to know more about the Limperts and their land?  Watch the video, The Truth Is in the Proof.

Richmond Times-Dispatch news coverage here.

Wintergreen Test Drill Site Capped and Filled


Friends of Wintergreen reports that on June 12, 2018, the day Wintergreen Property Owners Association submitted its comments to DEQ about the water gushing up from Dominion’s test drill site, the company hurried over and removed the evidence by capping the geyser and filling in the hole with grout. For the record, this is the photo of the gushing water WPOA filed with their comments.

Statement from Roanoke Friends Meeting

The Peace and Social Justice Committee of the Roanoke Friends Meeting adopted this statement May 20, 2018. It was published in the Roanoke Times on June 5, 2018.

Bearing witness to our testimonies of stewardship of the Earth and social justice, we, as Friends (Quakers), are compelled to speak out against two natural gas pipelines proposed in Virginia, and all pipelines transporting gas extracted by hydraulic fracking. Fracking is a process documented to contaminate air and water with toxic chemicals, accelerating climate change and encouraging our dependence on fossil fuels.

The 42-inch diameter Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) would transport natural gas at high pressure for hundreds of miles, traversing steep slopes, cutting through mountains, valleys and national forests. As proposed, the MVP and ACP would cross over streams and rivers in more than 1,100 places, including several Tier 3 designated streams (waters of exceptional quality). Their destructive routes would impact one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world.

These pipelines bear tremendous risks to the inhabitants and environment of areas affected by them.

The mountains surrounding the Roanoke Valley form an important watershed supplying the entire region with high quality water. The very real likelihood of contamination and damage to these watersheds during Mountain Valley Pipeline’s construction threatens the water supply of thousands of people in the valley and beyond.

Water in other regions would also be affected. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would negatively affect the James and Potomac Rivers, which including their tributaries, serve over one-third of the state.

Pipelines are also a threat to social justice as they are frequently routed through rural and impoverished areas where people lack power to resist. In Buckingham County, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline plans to place the largest compressor station in the state in a historic African-American community that was founded after the Civil War by freed men and women.

The result would be devastation of this community as well as other communities and residents that find themselves in the crosshairs of these pipelines. Eminent domain is being misused by a private corporation not for public good but for profit at the expense of citizens’ property rights.

An ever-growing number of people have been resisting these pipelines for almost four years by reasoned, measured, and peaceable responses, using all legal avenues available.

As the reality of pipeline construction increases, so has non-violent direct action, such as tree-sitting to block the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s path. Local and state police as well as pipeline company security guards maintain constant presence at the tree stands. Supporters are not allowed access, food and supplies are withheld and spotlights shine on the tree stands all night.

We hold in the light all those led by their conscience to resist these projects by corporations that place profit over human and environmental well-being and affirm the resisters’ right to humane treatment and peaceful protest.

We ask that Friends insist that those in authority — Gov. Northam, state legislators, The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, affected counties’ supervisors, local and state police — use their power to protect the environment and uphold the rights of our fellow citizens.

Nelson Pipeline Route Plant Rescue, June 1-2


The first Nelson County pipeline plant rescue will happen Saturday and Sunday June 1-2, 2018, with Beth and Neal of Blackberry Botanicals. They would love to have as many volunteers as possible join this first rescue to learn from Blackberry Botanicals so they can host future rescues.

Meet on Saturday at 9am off of Horizons Village Road (off Rt. 151 near Bold Rock Cidery). Take the first right after turning onto Horizons Village Road (there will be a sign). Drive through the open private property gate and continue all the way up. Someone will direct you to park in an open field at the top.

Gather at 9am in the clearing for an orientation with Blackberry Botanicals and to sign a liability waiver for your activity during the weekend. After the orientation, everyone will walk along the pipeline route and identify plants to be transplanted.

Please wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, sturdy shoes, and bring your own lunch and plenty of water. If you use insect repellant, please bring your own. Burlap sacks work well for collecting plant material as you walk. Digging implements (see photo above) are recommended.

You can watch the videos (part 1 and part 2) from the April Blackberry Botanicals training on YouTube.com/iHanuman. There is lots of good information in these videos to help you prepare for the work days.

The Sunday group is smaller (more volunteers needed if you are interested!), and will meet at 10am, most likely a little further up Horizons Village Road; location will be announced after the work day on Saturday.

Please email Sara Agelasto at sagelasto@gmail.com if you would like to participate so Blackberry Botanicals will know to expect you and can send you any last minute updates. Please also email sagelasto@gmail.com if you cannot make this first rescue, but would like to participate in future rescues.

And if you are a landowner and would like to request a rescue on your property, please email sagelasto@gmail.com so Blackberry Botanicals can schedule more rescues in the future.