Category Archives: Pipeline Route

Inspection of Buildings, Water Supplies


Some Nelson landowners with property either on or close to the route have been contacted by Dominion’s contractors to ask for permission to inspect their buildings and/or wells. Friends of Nelson believes Dominion is trying to amass pre-construction data so that if landowners later complain that their foundations have cracked or their well is no longer producing as much good water, there will be a basis for comparison.

Although we recommend that people consult with their own lawyers about whether to allow these inspections (which are separate from the pipeline surveys authorized under VA Code 56-49.01), attorneys at Appalachian Mountain Advocates have said that they see little downside to allowing the inspections: if Dominion has a record from their own contractors that the water supply was good before the pipeline, it will be harder for them to shirk responsibility if wells go bad during/after construction.

However, we are also recommending that people INSIST on getting a copy of the report. That way, if there is anything that indicates existing problems, or somehow seems incorrect, they can arrange for re-testing with a different contractor on their own in order to confirm/refute the results.

Indeed, Friends of Nelson recommends that folks who are concerned about potential impacts to their water source get well-documented, baseline water data NOW. Then, if the pipeline is actually built, they should continue to monitor during construction and for a period afterwards.

With the support of Friends of Nelson and a number of other organizations, an excellent guide to water supply monitoring has been produced by Downstream Strategies. The guide is nearly 50 pages; note that the actual “How To” of monitoring starts on p.22, and there is also list of independent consultants that landowners can hire to do the work starting on p. 36.

If you have questions or want further information, please email friendsofnelson@gmail.com; give us your phone number so we can call you back.

In the Pipeline’s Path

An article by William H. Funk, a freelance journalist and environmental attorney based in the Shenandoah Valley, about the proposed ACP appeared in the Winter 2016 Utne Reader, a nationally distributed magazine, where it was reprinted from Earth Island Journal. “In the Pipeline’s Path” describes the ACP as one among several projects threatening rural Appalachian landscapes and communities.

The Friends of Nelson Web page has an archive including this and other news stories and media coverage about the ACP – local, regional, and national – going back to May 2014. Check out our In the News page. It’s a wonderful record of our ongoing battle.

Protect YOUR National Forest


The George Washington National Forest belongs to you!

Our forest is under threat from the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The ACP would cut across steep slopes, destroy intact forests, threaten drinking water supplies and impact sensitive species. Worse yet, the need for the ACP has yet to be demonstrated at all. That means, our forests could very well suffer all of these consequences for nothing.

To go forward, the ACP needs to secure an amendment from the Forest Service because the project is not consistent with the current 10 year plan for the George Washington National Forest.

We believe the Forest Service should not grant the Atlantic Coast Pipeline this amendment and change the plan for our public lands. Our forests should not be destroyed for the benefit of a private company.

If you agree – please speak up now during this comment period. Your voice matters!

1) Sign and share the Wild Virginia petition. Petition Link

2) Then, comment! Send statements of support to Forest Service Chief, Thomas Tidwell, ttidwell@fs.fed.us, and Regional Foresters, Kathleen Atkinson, katkinson@fs.fed.us, and Tony Tooke, ttooke@fs.fed.usCopies of your letters should also be submitted to FERC’s online system to be included in the administrative record.   Wild Virginia has made you a guide to walk you through the process. Step-by-Step Comment Guide.  What should you talk about in your comments? Sample Comment Ideas   Comments are due by April 6, 2017. Remember to cite the ACP docket number, CP15-554.   You can also send comments to FERC by mail to: Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary, FERC, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

3) Don’t stop yet…sign up for a comment writing night.
Wild Virginia will help you create and file comments on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Work with your friends and neighbors to pull together and file these important comments. There will be snacks and drinks.
March 20 in Staunton or March 27 in Charlottesville.

Dominion Revises Request on Conservation Easements

On January 12, 2017, Dominion submitted revised applications for conversion of open space on 10 Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) easements in Highland, Bath, Augusta and Nelson counties that are on the proposed ACP route. The applications will be considered by the VOF Board of Trustees at its meeting in Richmond on February 9, 2017. Download the revised applications here.

Dominion first submitted draft applications in May 2016, and in its revised applications is seeking a permanent right-of-way within which to construct the ACP. Dominion claims to have reduced the direct impact on current conservation easements by 13 acres and offers to VOF new easements on land elsewhere in exchange for encroachment of existing easements.

Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby says the 21-to-one acreage swap offered is a “generous offer.” But the offer is insignificant compared to the damage the pipeline would cause to forests, waterways, and wildlife. Take this piece of land and let us destroy these others? Consider the words of Aldo Leopold, writer, ecologist, and author of Sand County Almanac: “Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left.”

Pipeline opponents say the Dominion’s proposed conversion would violate state law, specifically § 10.1-1704 of the Code of Virginia, which allows for easement conversions only if they meet certain conditions, including showing conversions are “essential to the orderly development and growth of the locality.” Greg Buppert, Southern Environmental Law Center, said, “There is simply no way for Dominion to argue that this is essential to those localities.” Localities will receive no benefit from the ACP.

Further, if VOF agrees to convert the easements, it would cripple the program intended to protect scenic and environmentally valuable property. Buppert noted, “The risk here for the easement program is significant. If the VOF says yes, they undermine the critical trust between the Foundation and the owner of the easement.” How many property owners will want to put land in conservation easement to protect against development if they see that VOF will allow construction of 42-inch pipelines on that property?

Although the January 12, 2017, deadline has passed for having your letter included with the advance packet for the VOF Board, you may still write to protest this unwarranted taking of land currently in easement. Send letters to:

Brett Christina Glymph, Executive Director
39 Garrett St., Suite 200
Warrenton, VA 20186
(540) 347-7727
bglymph@vofonline.org

Read more about the ACP threat to protected private land on the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC) Story Map page about the unprecedented request to VOF.

DEIS Factual Errors

The DEIS says Buckingham County’s Yogaville is over 4 miles from the proposed ACP, and thus concludes that ACP construction and/or operation would have no direct or indirect impact.

In reality, Yogaville’s property line is only 150-yards from the ACP route, not 4 miles. Further, the Ashram at Yogaville would be only six-tenths of a mile from the ACP.

The ACP DEIS shortcomings are plentiful! Stay tuned – there’s more!

Pipeline Fighters

Watch the trailer for Pipeline Fighters, a 98 minute feature length documentary, featuring Jane Kleeb, the XL pipeline killer, and Lorne Stockman of Oil Change International, a watch dog group, and Mekasi Camp-Horinek, a protest coordinator for Standing Rock in N.D. – plus specific footage on the ACP and MVP, and appearances by some familiar local pipeline fighters.

The trailer is here, further information, including purchase info, is here.

Read about the making of the film and the film’s director in this Roanoke Times article.