Category Archives: Safety

NPR Pipeline Analysis

Natural Gas Building Boom Fuels Climate Worries, Enrages Landowners is a lengthy and well-researched NPR Morning Edition piece, the result of a six-month investigation into the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and its handling of the gas pipeline building boom. The report discusses the multiple pipelines proposed in the last several years (including the MVP and ACP), the dysfunctionality of FERC, the push by energy companies, and the push-back by pipeline opponents. The story was researched, written, and produced by the Center for Public Integrity, joining with StateImpact Pennsylvania and NPR.

Versions of the story also appear on the Center for Public Integrity and the StateImpact Web pages.

StateImpact Pennsylvania is a collaboration between WITF and WHYY, and covers the fiscal and environmental impact of Pennsylvania’s booming energy economy, with a focus on Marcellus Shale drilling – and Marcellus Shale drilling is what brings us the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. The Center for Public Integrity was founded in 1989 by Charles Lewis and is one of the country’s oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organizations.

Pipelines Endanger Water Supply

In this June 20, 2017, Roanoke Times commentary by Tina Smusz, a retired medical practitioner and assistant professor of medicine who volunteers full-time addressing environmental threats to the Roanoke and New River Valleys comments on a May 28, 2017 opinion piece by Shawn Posey, Senior Vice President for Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction & Engineering, on “MVP’s commitment to safety and natural resources.”

Smusz writes that, “Mr. Posey neglected to detail the harmful (and permanent) effects expected to water, arguably our most important natural resource” and discusses all the ways in which the MVP threatens the water supply of the immediate and wider area. She notes that Posey did not address safety at all, specifically the threats from “toxins associated with construction, operation and maintenance of this high pressure pipeline,” including insecticides, carcinogenic compounds, methane, and radioactive sediment left in pipes because methane used in fracking contains high levels of radon which leads to radioactive deposits in the pipe.

“Finally, Mr. Posey did not reveal the fact that ALL pipelines leak. The EPA acknowledged in 2012 that pipeline leaks accounted for more than 10 percent of total methane emissions from U.S. natural gas systems.” Recent studies show rising leakage rates and also show “transmission lines installed in the 2010s are failing at a significantly higher rate than those installed in earlier decades, including the 1940s.”

We are sure Dominion’s Aaron Ruby would present the same rosy picture of pipelines as Posey did, ignoring exactly the same harmful and permanent effects that Posey ignored.

Read the full article here.

Dominion Claims Meetings – With Nonexistent Group

Wintergreen Property Owners Association has submitted a letter to FERC pointing out that, although ACP and Dominion say they ” ‘are currently working with Local Emergency Planning Committees (LPECs) to develop Emergency Response plans for construction’ there is no LEPC within Nelson County and ACP has held no discussion with the Nelson County Emergency Services Council. Per Wintergreen Fire and Rescue Chief Curtis Sheets, ‘Regarding evacuation planning for Wintergreen in the event of a pipeline emergency, there have been no meetings. In their response to Section 106 of the FERC filing, Dominion references their work with Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC). There is no active committee in Nelson County Virginia.’ Nelson relegates this responsibility to the Nelson County Emergency Services Council (NCESC). Wintergreen does hold a voting position on the NCESC and has been represented at every meeting for the past 15 years. At no point has any representative from Dominion Power or the Atlantic Coast Pipeline met with or corresponded with the NCESC.”

Dominion says they are meeting with local safety groups – but those groups don’t exist. Can we believe their safety plan exists?

Was Aaron Ruby Asleep?

Writing in the May 2, 2017, Farmville Herald, Joseph Jeeva Abbate says, “Evidently Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby must have fallen asleep during the testimony of the residents of Union Hill and the members of Union Hill Baptist Church when they expressed their concern on having Dominion’s proposed massive gas compressor station placed on land directly next to their properties and adjacent to two churches.” He notes that some residents are just 50 feet from the compressor station and most are within the probable impact radius of fire or explosion, but, using eminent domain, the ACP will force placement of pipeline and compressor station on “more than 300 property owners who object to having their lives, land, property, livestock, water and air violated by an unnecessary pipeline that could leak, pollute and explode.”

In all their PR, however, Dominion spokespeople talk about taking great care at every step of the certification process to meet the highest standards of safety and health, and tout the way they have listened to and worked closely with property owners. Has Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby been asleep? Or is Dominion is deliberately ignoring the concerns, health, and safety of property owners?