Helicopters routinely spray chemicals to kill growth along pipeline corridors and right of ways. A picture (or video) is worth 1000 words.
Dominion’s PR people are working very hard to convince everyone that the ACP has no problems and is a done deal. With every new revelation of the destruction and damage the pipeline would cause, Dominion staff repeat and repeat and repeat the same phrases to justify their plans: “pleased with progress,” “years of experience,” “best-in-class programs,” and they even talk about their “environmental stewardship” and “sensitivity to residents and communities.”
Route adjustments? Dominion’s Aaron Ruby says, “We’ve made more than 300 route adjustments to avoid environmentally sensitive areas and minimize impacts on individual properties.” In reality, they have only made the route adjustments forced on them through the courts and regulatory requirements. The project remains as damaging as it was when they first drew the line through West Virginia and Virginia to North Carolina.
Ridge removal? Dominion’s Aaron Ruby says, “You would not notice. I mean, the contours of the ridge lines will remain exactly the same as they always have been.” Of course, immediately before that, he said, “For a 50 foot wide strip on some of these ridge lines, there won’t be trees replanted.” Does he truly think people are so stupid that they would not notice a 50 foot clear-cut path across previously forested ridge lines? (If indeed the path is only 50 feet – most indications are that it will be wider and therefore even more visible.) Dominion’s own documents diagram 125 foot ridge removal. See the FactSheet on mountain top removal here.
Overburden is the term describing the left-over soil and rock after flattening constructions areas and digging the pipeline trench. The briefing paper on mountaintop removal released by opposition groups concluded that the 38 miles of Appalachian ridge lines impacted would create 2.47 million cubic yards of overburden. About that, Ruby says only that it doesn’t match with a favorable draft environmental statement or the reality of Dominion’s project. But since there are absolutely no details in Dominion’s submissions to FERC on how they would deal with overburden, we can’t help but wonder what Dominion wants to hide – or how they plan to hide all that overburden.
For media discussions of the evidence against the ACP and Dominion’s responses to pipeline opponents (and their contention that all is well), see:
In a March 2, 2017 opinion piece in the Salem (VA) Times-Register, Lauren Ragland points out that Dominion’s stated 125 foot minimum width for construction meets the requirements set by the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), but that more width could be added to meet federal regulations. She also notes what (so far) has rarely been mentioned: if the pipeline is built, low-flying helicopters could regularly monitor the entire pipeline length for leaks, and spray regularly to keep the corridor clear.
In their weekly update, Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA) reports, “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) wasted little time in following-up with Dominion Transmission, Inc. (DTI) to seek additional information and clarifications on numerous items, many of which were flagged in comments filed about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). On April 11, five days after the DEIS comment deadline, FERC wrote DTI making 111 specific requests for supplemental information, requesting that the company submit its responses by May 1 (20 days from the date of the agency’s letter).”
In the letter to Dominion, FERC asked Dominion to:
- Conduct a thorough review in order to limit the number of access roads necessary to construct and operate the ACP, noting the very large number of temporary and permanent access roads in the current proposal
- Incorporate small route changes and/or workspace design revisions to avoid or minimize impacts on the numerous point and area features and known and suspect closed depressions within the current project workspace that were identified in the updated Karst Survey Report filed on February 24, 2017
- Incorporate a route variation to avoid the Valley Center area in Highland County where there is an abundance of karst features, caves, and sinking streams
- Identify the location and temporary and permanent impact acreage of high quality wetlands
- Provide an updated table of forest fragmentation analysis using the proper data sets, since the forest fragmentation data that DTI had submitted February 24, 2017, in response to a FERC request of October 26, 2016, was not in compliance with the agency’s requested data parameters.
- Provide a status report on the survey, evaluation, and effect assessment of properties along the project route through Nelson County, Virginia. Include access roads and off-right-of way facilities. Report also on agency and local informant communication regarding the properties and historic districts.
- Describe in more detail how Dominion would work with local law enforcement and emergency response to promote the safe evacuation of landowners in remote areas should a pipeline incident occur. Consult with each landowner where the proposed pipeline crosses a private egress that is the sole access to/from the property to determine if a site-specific evacuation procedure is requested.
Read the letter from FERC to Dominion here.
The May/June issue of Sierra Magazine includes an article by Reid Doughten about his hikes along the route of the proposed ACP in the George Washington and Thomas Jefferson National Forests – including near vertical sections he had to tack up on all fours. Read the article here.
According to press reports (Blue Ridge Life, Nelson County Times), Wintergreen Partners has put 382 acres up for auction, with bids to close on April 27, 2017. The residential-zoned site, at the end of Eagles Court near the Mountain Inn and next to one of the ski areas, covers three mountain ridge lines. Although the property on sale may not be directly on the ACP route, any purchasers would certainly be affected by the lengthy and major construction activities at the Wintergreen entrance, the site of Dominion’s proposed drilling under Reed’s Gap.