Category Archives: Pipeline Route

Proposed ACP Construction Schedule


Here is Dominion’s PROPOSED schedule for ACP construction.

Don’t forget that when they sent their original “we want your land” letters in spring 2014, Dominion planned to start construction of the ACP in the Fall of 2016 and have it in service sometime early in 2018. But Dominion did not expect so many people and organizations to fight back! And now, 3.5 years later, construction hasn’t started yet, but Dominion has a proposed construction plan.

According to their October 18, 2017, FERC filing, Dominion hopes to start the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) under the Blue Ridge Parkway at the entrance to Wintergreen on April 2, 2018, with work continuing for 372 days, finishing up on April 9, 2019.

In the rest of the Nelson (and much of Augusta) construction is included in “Spread 5.” Dominion proposes starting with a one-day (yes, one day only!) environmental mitigation training on March 6, 2019. They expect construction to start on March 15, 2019 and anticipate it will take 123 days, ending by September 3, 2019. They then plan 30 days of restoration work between September 4 and October 15, 2019. (Apparently Dominion believes the process of restoring the mountains to their “original contours” should go pretty quickly!)

The planned “commissioning” process would begin before the restoration is complete and is expected to last from August 1 – October 31, 2019.

Dominion’s proposed plan does not specify when tree felling might happen along our part of the route. However tree felling, planned in both 2018 and 2019 in Virginia overall, is slated for September-March in areas where migratory birds are a concern and for November-March in areas where bats are a concern.

They plan to begin construction of the Buckingham compressor station on June 1, 2018, and anticipate finishing on August 16, 2019. Compressor station construction workers will also get a single day of environmental and mitigation training, currently scheduled for May 22, 2018.

Dominion plans call for the rest of the construction in Buckingham (which is part of “Spread 6”) to start on February 18, 2018 and continue through November 5, 2018.

Remember – this is Dominion’s proposed schedule. They never expected to run into so much resistance. And we are STILL fighting. And we have lawyers that are STILL fighting, including filing new legal challenges that could not be filed until after FERC made its decision. There are lots of required permits that STILL have not been issued — including permits that Nelson County has the authority to refuse. The longer and louder we fight, the more people are having to listen. Even long-time FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur voted AGAINST the approval of the ACP. A couple of years ago, such a thing would have been unthinkable.

So, keep making your voices heard! Tell people we won’t pipe down. Tell DEQ and the Water Control Boards not to compromise Virginia’s waterways in service of Dominion’s profits. And make sure you let your elected (and to-be-elected) representatives — especially the local ones — know that you expect them to support us in fighting to keep the ACP off our lands.

Old Growth Trees on the Proposed ACP Route

Video from the October 27, 2017, hike along the proposed pipeline route among old growth trees on Bill Limbert’s Bath County property. Here landowner Bill talks about the springs and streams on their property. All threatened by construction and blasting causing sedimentation, pollution, forever changing underground channels and streams. He also talks about being in karst geology and why that matters.

Press Release: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Would Create 4500 Acre Downzone Area in Nelson

Friends of Nelson Press Release, October 23, 2017
Contact Marilyn Shifflett (434-826-0628) or Joyce Burton (434-361-2328)

In a letter today addressed to the Nelson County Board of Supervisors, Friends of Nelson has asked that they consider potential zoning and economic impacts from the possible construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

This week it has been revealed that that there is an “industry [effort] to create a ‘consultation planning zone’ which extends 660 feet from the center of any high pressure natural gas pipeline.” The purpose of the zone or corridor is to “restrict development” within those parameters for the “lifetime of the pipeline.  (See http://www.wilsontimes.com/stories/county-voices-concern-over-pipeline,100389)

Both the industry and the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have recommended that county governments restrict development through actions by county governing bodies.

This would create a 4500-acre area that would be highly restrictive of development: an area a quarter of a mile wide, stretching for over 23 miles and bisecting Nelson County from Reeds Gap to the James River.

It was noted this week that county commissioners in Wilson County (NC) have formally “expressed reservations on several issues related to the pipeline project and its officials Tuesday, including a “development dead zone” in Wilson County, full and complete disclosures and transparency in project planners’ dealings with property owners and the pipeline’s quality of construction and safety.”(ibid.)

“Having read most of the Pipeline Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA) Guidelines laid out by PHMSA, it’s clear that the expectation is that landowners along these corridors–approximately 3 and one half football fields in width, on either side of the pipeline–would be obligated to notify the pipeline owner of any land-disturbing activities in these corridors,” said Marilyn Shifflett of Friends of Nelson, who is co-author of the letter. “Owners considering construction or logging on ‘corridor properties’ would need to work with the ACP to ensure the safety and integrity of the pipeline.”

“In addition, developers would need to consider evacuation routes for residential developments when planning private roads. Localities failing to enact ordinances that take these guidelines into account face possible safety and liability concerns,” Ms. Shifflett continued.

A resolution passed by Wilson County commissioners states that ACP officials (have) “failed to inform property owners or local government” of their liabilities associated with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The resolution further noted that property owners within the dead zone have not been offered compensation for restrictions placed on their property outside of the construction and permanent easements. They say these types of development restrictions will severely and negatively affect the value of land and property owned by county residents.

The potential environmental and economic impacts to Nelson County have been well-documented by a 2016 economic study, commissioned by Friends of Nelson, which estimates total economic losses to Nelson County of up to $24.5 million dollars per year, with additional one-time costs of up to $41 million.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) makes no secret of the fact that “safety” is not among their concerns when approving pipeline permits and that this issue falls under the purview of local governments and PHMSA. Hence, siting the pipelines has little to do with hazard mitigation. Yet PHMSA guidance states that “placing people in proximity to existing transmission pipelines can increase their risks resulting from the unintentional release of products transported through the pipelines. Such releases can result from a variety of causes and may result in injuries or fatalities as well as property and environmental damage… land development in proximity to pipelines can increase such risk.”

PMHSA advises localities to place ”additional development regulations, standards or guidelines to ensure safety” on all property within 660’ of any natural gas pipeline.    They also state that the size of this Consultation Planning Zone should be adjusted depending on the operating pressure, pipe diameter and site-specific topography.  

“Given that 660’ is only 60% of the 1100’ Potential Impact Radius (a/k/a the Blast Zone) for the 1440 psi, 42” pipeline ACP proposes to ram through Virginia, it seems to me that a prudent Consultation and Planning Zone in Nelson might actually be significantly larger than the basic 660’ feet,” said Joyce Burton of Friends of Nelson in the letter.  “Of course, that would mean that even more landowners will be negatively impacted if this behemoth is built — not only by the dangers of living next to a potentially explosive pipeline, but also by what could amount to a de facto downzoning of their properties.”

“The Pipeline Informed Planning Alliance was born from a push from the industry, and while careful not to “regulate” local boards and commissions, they do imply that liability at every step does not rest with the owners or users of the pipeline,” the letter concludes.

“The creation of planning zones and consultation zones that recommend that private property owners consult with pipeline operators whenever land disturbing activities are performed, will no doubt result in a reminder from the operator that if the pipeline is damaged or compromised, liability will rest with said landowner. They are clear that creation of these zones and ordinances to support the guidelines are not required. However, ignoring the recommendations puts liability squarely on the locality.”

Wilson County NC Voices Concern Over “Development Dead Zone”

The October 17, 2017 Wilson Times reports that “”Wilson County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday calling for Atlantic Coast Pipeline officials to be more transparent in their dealings with property owners and local government when it comes to development and safety issues. Commissioners expressed reservations on several issues related to the pipeline project and its officials Tuesday, including a ‘development dead zone’ in Wilson County, full and complete disclosures and transparency in project planners’ dealings with property owners and the pipeline’s quality of construction and safety.

“Commissioner say ACP officials failed to inform property owners or local government that there is an ‘industry [effort] to create a “consultation planning zone” which extends 660 feet from the center of any high pressure natural gas pipeline,’ according to the resolution. The purpose of the zone or corridor is to ‘restrict development’ within those parameters for the ‘lifetime of the pipeline,’ the resolution states.

“Property owners within that zone have not been offered compensation for restrictions placed on their property outside of the construction and permanent easements, commissioners said. They say these types of development restrictions will severely affect the value of land and property owned by county residents. That planning zone, according to the resolution, would create a ‘development dead zone’ 1,300 feet wide by 12 miles long running through the heart of western Wilson County. And that would lower property values and ‘adversely affect’ both residents and Wilson County as a whole.”

Read the full article here.

The People’s Tribunal


The People’s Tribunal on human rights, environmental justice, and the impacts of fracked gas infrastructure will be held on Saturday October 28, 2017, 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., at City Space, 100 5th Street NE., Charlottesville, VA.

While many know about the environmental hazards of fracked natural gas pipelines, few people know who is being forced to give up their human rights to clean air, water, and soil for the economic benefit of corporate stockholders. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) routes target rural, poor, African American, Native American, and Appalachian communities from West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina to bear the disproportionate burden of their toxic, polluting fracked natural gas infrastructure.

A people’s tribunal creates a public forum to present evidence for and information about issues critical to a just and civil society, especially when local, state, and federal governments are not responsive to public concerns. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on the Human Rights Impacts of Fracking call on member nations to:

“Undertake independent and effective investigation into all cases of environmentally polluting activities and their impacts on the rights of affected communities; bring those responsible to account; and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.”

Experts in the fields of environmental and medical science, environmental justice, Virginia Slave and Freedmen, Native American and Appalachian history, and fracked gas economics will preside as Judges to hear first-person impacts and expert testimonies. Judges’ findings and recommendations will be sent to these human rights committees and will form the basis around which local groups can organize.

Who is at risk?

  • Union Hill in Buckingham, Virginia is an 85% African American community built by Freedmen. White descendants of former plantation owners sold their land to the ACP LLC where the only Virginia megacompressor station is to be built, within 150 ft. of households in this populous minority community. Compressor stations pose documented health and safety risks with their release of highly toxic gas emissions, air-borne particulates, and continuous noise pollution.
  • The area in West VA where the MVP & ACP jumbo pipelines begin will be replete with (more) compressor stations, metering stations, extraction plants, cryogenic plants, and soon, cracker plants and more fracking than ever. West Virginians are the source colony, yet they get little attention or help.
  • Across the U.S., new pipelines leak, break, and explode more often than even those 40 years old, causing permanent well-water, stream and river contamination, and destruction of property and its value, a nightmare for those unlucky to live in their path. Landowners along the ACP and MVP are coerced by threats of eminent domain to give up their property rights and live with these risks. Several Native American communities are directly impacted and all proposed routes were once Native American lands.

For more information, including the list of sponsoring organizations, see the People’s Tribunal flyer here.

The Tribunal Registration Form is here.

The Tribunal Testimony Sign-Up Form is here.

ACP Expansion Into South Carolina


Dan Weekley, Dominion Energy’s vice president and general manager of Southern pipeline operations, told attendees at a recent energy conference ‘everybody knows’ the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — currently slated to pass through Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina — is not going to stop there, despite what the current plans say, and that it will be extended into South Carolina. (See our story below)

On September 30, 2017, Blue Virginia discussed the revelation (Dominion’s Lie About Atlantic Coast Pipeline Caught on Tape: How will Terry McAuliffe and DEQ Respond?) and discussed the math: “Dominion’s vice president in charge of Southern pipeline development has just admitted that two thirds of the natural gas that allegedly was “needed” in Virginia may actually go to South Carolina. How much of the rest will go to North Carolina? How much will be exported? The answers to these questions are not clear because the data comes from Dominion and Dominion has lied. And now they’ve been caught.”

Additional questions: “Will McAuliffe’s DEQ require Dominion to explain why its official filings have now been contradicted by Dominion’s own chief of Southern pipeline operations? Will other Virginia political leaders – and candidates – who have thus far stayed silent, allow Dominion’s latest lie to go unanswered? Will Attorney General Mark Herring open an investigation into what Dominion said in its public filings with a state agency and whether they were truthful?”

On October 4, 2017, WUNC aired a 12-minute audio segment in which host Frank Stasio speaks with Triangle Business Journal reporter Lauren Ohnesorge, and Ryan Emanuel, professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University, an enrolled member of Lumbee Tribe, and a member of the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs Environmental Justice Committee Member about the economic and cultural impact of the potential expansion beyond North Carolina.

Also on October 4, the Roanoke Times published a story on ways in which the expansion to South Carolina might change things in Virginia.  Greg Buppert, lawyer with the Southern Environmental Law Center, says the talk of expansion “underscores this issue that we’ve been focusing on: that there’s not demand for new gas-fired power plants in Virginia or North Carolina that will justify the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  That sounds like companies looking for a market for their products because the market they’ve been banking on isn’t materializing.”