The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, thwarted in its intent to cross the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the George Washington National Forest (GWNF), now wants special treatment from the U.S. Congress — a law that would force through its proposed AT crossing in the GWNF. The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) has prepared a set of maps and documents with the most current facts, legal status, and research. The documents are intended to help groups and individuals facilitate conversations with elected officials (and others) about the threat to the Appalachian Trail,
- ACP Factsheet (this is a colorful one pager that you can distribute and take to meetings)
- The Case Against the ACP (this is a longer 2 page memo on the facts including citations; good background reading for you prior to a meeting)
- Contact Info (all 13 Virginia members of Congress with DC and District office contact info)
- Letter House (the letters that were sent to our Congressional Representatives–good to distribute and take to meetings)
- Letter Senate (the letters that were sent to our U.S. Senators–good to distribute and take to meetings)
- Map US House (this shows Congressional districts and the MVP & ACP routes)
- Map VA House (this shows state delegate districts and the MVP & ACP routes)
- Map VA Senate (this shows state senate districts and the MVP & ACP routes)
With many permits revoked or in court, Dominion now wants to legislate the ACP route. We urge everyone to use SELC’s materials and contact elected officials, community members, and the media to educate them with up-to-date information, including the many reasons why the proposed AT crossing is unlawful and should not receive special treatment from Congress – and why the ACP is simply not necessary!
Just a heads up to citizens and visitors of Nelson County: in recent days F & R workers have been drilling “core samples” and leaving behind some new survey flags at various locations where ACP proposes to cross Nelson’s roads. Rte 29, Rte 151 and Beech Grove Road are among the locations where citizen monitors have reported this activity, and we expect ACP will probably do this at many, if not all, of the proposed road crossings in the coming days. Please note that we are aware of this activity and are keeping a watchful eye. This is ACP doing further geotechnical studies, not ACP starting to do the actual drilling/construction under our roads.
If you see something noteworthy or something that concerns you, please alert Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) program by calling 877-Go2ABRA, by emailing CSI@abralliance.org.
On May 16, 2019, more than 50 organizations from across the state (including Friends of Nelson) sent a letter to Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and to Virginia’s members of the House of Representatives calling on them to resist Dominion Energy’s political pressure seeking legislation allowing it to get around a decision by a federal court.
Their letter says, “Congress should not legislate the permits or routes for gas pipelines through national parks in Virginia,” and asks the legislators to “protect the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the interests of our many members in Virginia by opposing any federal legislation that would exempt the Atlantic Coast or Mountain Valley pipelines from normal process or clear the path for the building or siting of these controversial projects.”
Write your own letters! Use the letters linked above as models for yours, or go to the Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley’s “No Passes” page and use the links there to send email to your legislators.
After installation and display at several sites on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route, The Defenders have come back to Nelson County. The Defenders is the 8-foot tall and 8-foot wide anti-pipeline sculpture created by Mark Schwenk and Cheryl Langlais of Berkeley Springs West Virginia.
On Saturday afternoon, May 11, 2019, a group of volunteers disassembled the sculpture in Stuarts Draft, loaded it into pickup trucks, and brought it over the Blue Ridge to install it near the entrance to Wintergreen, near the area where Dominion clear cut trees in March 2018, and near the site of the proposed horizontal directional drilling under the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail at Reeds Gap. The Defenders initial installation was at the Rockfish Valley Foundation in September 2018. Thanks to Jeff Heie and Charlie Strickler for the engaging video of the Saturday installation!
Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) program has a redesigned Web page and a new URL: (http://abra-csi.org/). The site includes instructions on how volunteers can become involved in the program, examples of non-compliance issues, and numerous technical resources, including the unique CSI mapping system. There are links to surveillance photographs taken by the ABRA/CSI Pipeline Air Force. Try out the new website, and if you have questions, please direct them to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Allegheney-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update #227:
The lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) biological opinion and incidental take statement for the Atlantic Coast (ACP) that led to work stopping on the project is scheduled for oral argument on Thursday, May 9 before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The original FWS permit was voided by the Fourth Circuit in May 2018 in response to a lawsuit filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club and the Virginia Wilderness Committee. A new FWS permit was issued on September 11, 2018 and is being challenged in this case.
SELC argues that the FWS’s reissued permit relied on a series of irrational assumptions that mischaracterized the potential impact of the ACP route on the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee and erred in its analysis of the project’s impact on three other endangered species: the clubshell mussel, Indiana bat and Madison Cave isopod. The petitioners are requesting that the Court vacate the reissued biological opinion and incidental take statement
A copy of the SELC opening brief is available here.