Category Archives: Property rights

Blast Zone

Blast Zone – Natural Gas and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Causes, Consequences and Civic Action is a new report from the Rachel Carson Council. In addition to naming and exploring the economic and political systems underlying fracking and the ACP, Blast Zone highlights organizations, businesses, and campuses working in interconnected ways toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the source, restoring equity, and putting decision-making in the hands of communities.

The report discusses:

  • Natural gas: current and future trends (including the “bridge fuel” myth)
  • Fracking in the Marcellus and Utica Shale Basins
  • The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (including the power behind it, industry motives, what’s paving the way, and the ACP and the environment)

And the report includes an entire set of “Toolboxes” for fighting the ACP:

  • Policy Toolbox: Our Power Plan
  • Housing Toolbox: Efficient, Affordable, Durable Investments
  • Voter’s Toolbox: Supporting Fossil-Free Leaders
  • Campus Toolbox: Research and Advocacy for the Public Interest
  • Advocacy Toolbox: Eliminating Fracking Dangers
  • Financial Toolbox: Divest and Reinvest
  • Property Rights Toolbox: Challenging Eminent Domain
  • Lobbying Toolbox: Re-envisioning FERC
  • Policy Toolbox: Water Quality Permits
  • Civil Rights Toolbox: Driving Racial and Social Justice
  • Direct Action and Advocacy Toolbox

Easily understandable graphs and charts, along with photographs (many you’ll recognize) help to make the points in this clear and thoughtful report.

Virginia Supreme Court to Hear Survey Case

On August 22, 2017, the Virginia Supreme Court agreed without argument to hear on appeal the survey suit against Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC brought on behalf of six Nelson residents by Lollar Law.

Chuck Lollar says, “We believe the Virginia Supreme Court granted our Petition for Appeal without oral argument from us (replying to the opponent’s brief in opposition) because they feel that a significant issue of first impression under Virginia law has been presented, which the full court needs to address. The survey statute has been directly challenged as authorizing an unconstitutional taking, along with its interpretation by the trial court reading ‘and’ as ‘or’. The granting of our petition without argument when less than 10% of cases argued have writs granted by the Virginia Supreme Court is very encouraging. The ultimate decision by the full Court on the unconstitutional taking issue presented by the survey statute will have a major impact upon Virginia private property rights, which the appeals in two recent Supreme Court opinions failed to address.”

Briefings will take place in autumn 2017, and the oral arguments before the full seven-justice court will take place in late 2017 or early 2018.

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.

Dominion Caught Off Guard by Landowner Outrage

During a panel at the Republican Party of Virginia Advance in Richmond on December 12, 2016, “representatives of energy giant Dominion Resources were caught off guard … by landowners outraged over the company’s threatened use of eminent domain in the construction of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Bruce McKay, Senior Energy Policy Director of Dominion, struggled to explain the utility’s position to an increasingly skeptical audience….

“The property owners definitely stirred up a hornet’s nest that Dominion wasn’t expecting. Outside the panel room the property rights advocates clashed with event officials. They were forbidden from raising their signs opposing eminent domain. Henry Howell, an attorney representing the landowners, passionately argued about the importance of property rights to all Americans, especially for Republicans, and called out the hypocrisy of the aggression towards the property owners.

“Multiple questions were submitted by attendees who voiced their concern about using eminent domain for the ACP. McKay was visibly flustered at the number of questions posed on the subject, then played dodgeball. He threw out confusing rules and facts to try to make it seem impossible to change the current pipeline plans.”

Landowners didn’t buy the dodge, and even members of the public confronted Dominion.

Read the full article here.

In the Pipeline’s Path

“The people of Appalachia, well accustomed to exploitation from moneyed outside corporations, are rallying against the loss of land, home values, and safety posed by the pipeline proposal. In fact, the pipeline has united communities across political and social spectra, in a fierce defiance against the project and a common goal to defeat its proponent, Dominion Resources.”

Dominion “has long been recognized for its outsized influence on Virginia’s government.” McAuliffe’s enthusiasm reflects “only the vaguest understanding of what the pipeline would entail for his constituents.” (and he has steadfastly refused to talk to opponents for 32 months now!)

“The revenue and job numbers Dominion has projected for the construction of the pipeline are staggering.” But “To some market analysts, this sounds almost too good to be true. In fact, environmental groups have challenged many of Dominion’s economic projections surrounding the project … [concluding] that Dominion’s claims regarding economic benefits were overstated and lacked adequate supporting data.”

“Furthermore, the ACP’s supporters reliably ignore the tedious environmental realities of this gargantuan undertaking.” The article explores environmental issues from clear-cutting and irreparable construction damage to endangered and invasive species to water quality and collapsing karst., and goes on to discuss threats to public health and safety.

And, not least, is the matter of Dominion’s taking of private property. One resident said, “Dominion has acted from the start as if people losing their rights and land are a nuisance along the way to bolstering its bottom line. Will Dominion get its way, trampling economic development and private property rights while giving little or nothing back to those it abuses?”

Read the excellent Earth Island journal article summarizing Dominion’s plans and the ever-rising groundswell of opposition to those plans. Communities along the ACP route are fighting back – and we are part of that fight!


“Take the Position that Only You Can Do Something”

Nelson County’s Richard Averitt gave an 11-minute talk to open the November 27, 2016, Water Is Life rally DC in support of Standing Rock. Listen to his passionate speech, much of it focused on the fight against the ACP – and we hope Governor McAuliffe and Senators Warner and Kaine also listen, since they are all mentioned by name. As Richard said, the Constitution begins with “We the People,” only we the people can put things right, and we the people will not stand down. “Take the position that only you can do something!”