Category Archives: Safety

Natural Gas Is Bad for Virginia

In a Letter to the Editor of the Roanoke Times, Jennifer Sims summarizes the “ruinous public policy described in the Jan. 26 commentary ‘Expanding access to natural gas is smart public policy.'” She points out that:

  • Instead of carbon, liquid natural gas (LNG) emits methane, a dangerous heat-producing greenhouse gas, and that the MVP and ACP “would produce the equivalent of 20+ coal plants in terms of greenhouse gases.”
  • The fracked natural gas in the MVP and ACP will NOT be available to anyone in the 20 counties through which the pipelines pass, but is destined for existing and new export contracts.
  • The fracked natural gas is NOT “safe, clean, reliable, affordable and abundant,” as the January 26 opinion piece claimed. Distribution pipelines have about 150 incidents or accidents each year; “ratepayers will be forced to foot the construction bill, business and landowners along both paths will have their private property seized and devalued and we will see a significant loss in tourism revenue.”

She concludes, “it is not a good public policy to introduce 1,000 miles of sediment dumps and herbicides into waterways, miles of mountaintop removal, abuse of eminent domain, loss of tourism revenue and pollution-emitting compressor stations into our Commonwealth.”

About Pipelines: The Short Form


A summary sheet prepared by Water Is Life. Protect It.

The Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipelines:

-are not needed by, nor will they bring energy to, the communities whose water and safety they threaten.

-will increase the cost of natural gas to Virginia ratepayers, first because of unneeded costly new infrastructure and later because the march to the sea for export will raise domestic natural gas prices 2 to 3 times.

-represent an immoral and illegal use of eminent domain to seize private land for corporate gain and not common good.

-are a clear and documented threat to the drinking water of over 12 million people either as a result of increased sedimentation from construction or from operational leaks of gas and fracking chemicals.

will not create local permanent jobs or even temporary local construction jobs.

-will more than double the greenhouse gas emissions for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

-against all scientific advice and warning, will be built over karst terrain, a geologic structure that produces most of our region’s clear pure water, but that is subject to sudden and unpredictable sinkholes and unexpected water connections and damages.

-pose a significant and documented risk of explosion and fire in their blast zones of 2,200 feet

-have and will continue to lower the value of any land they are on.

-represent stark environmental racism (especially the placement of the proposed Buckingham Compressor Station and routing through Native American lands) and environmental classism (targeting communities struggling with poverty and job loss).

-will reject the less costly and efficient upgrade of existing lines now running at less than real capacity in order to bring their developers a guaranteed profit of 15% on new energy infrastructure (MVP & ACP together well over 10 billion and rising).

-have revealed via their rushed and incomplete permitting and review processes, a level of corruption in Virginia government and regulatory agencies that is shocking and dangerous.

Residents Weigh in on Pipeline

In this March 2, 2018, article from the Franklin News-Post is about Boones Mill residents in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. But what they say about the MVP and how they have been treated by its builders could be said by anyone on the path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline as well.

“‘The more that you know about this, and we have been going to meetings for three-and-a-half years, the more frightening it is,’ she said. ‘And it’s all negative. Every single bit of it is negative.'” Another landowner said, “‘They said they had the right to do anything they wanted any time they wanted and tried to make it out like they were our friends and they were working in the best interest of everybody,’ he said. He said the letters were full of legal jargon and that ‘it takes a lawyer to figure out what they were talking about and to understand it.’ He and his wife got so fed up that they told MVP any further correspondence has to go through their attorney.”

Then there is the dubious letter-writing campaign. “After getting phone calls purportedly from the Mountain Valley Pipeline asking whether they support the natural gas project, area residents received pre-written letters to the editor in the mail they could then send to the newspaper, according to recent interviews with people involved. At least three people in the region who received such letters in the mail signed and sent the missives for publication, but it’s not clear who actually wrote and originally mailed the correspondence. MVP’s Cox said she wasn’t aware of any such letters.Pittsburgh-based MVP did not claim any knowledge of the letter-writing campaign. …. ‘I am not aware of any letters being sent by landowners/community members at the request of Mountain Valley Pipeline and I can confirm that these letters did not originate from my office,’ Cox said in an email.”

The article also addresses concerns of local law enforcement. “Boones Mill Police Chief Dennis Deacon has not been contacted by MVP, but said he is very aware of the influx of workers and traffic coming into town. ‘I’m worried about the number of people who don’t have roots here and the type of people that follow these camps,’ he said. He said there is an agreement between the police department, the sheriff’s office and Virginia State Police if additional manpower is needed in case there is a disruption in town.”

“[County Supervisor Ronnie] Thompson said it’s hard to prepare for the unknown, and he’s concerned about ‘the big ugly scar that’s going to be cut through our county that’s never going to go away.’ He sees more negative aspects than positives including gas line explosions, family farms being ruined, property values decreasing and pollution of the groundwater — all of the same concerns voiced by some citizens of the town.”

Everything in the article, including the words of the MVP spokesperson (who could easily be interchangeable with ACP spokesperson Aaron Ruby) is very familiar to people in the path of the ACP.

PA DEP Suspends Mariner East 2 Construction Permits

Another example – in Pennsylvania – of a pipeline infrastructure project failing to implement promised safeguards. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued an order suspending the construction permits associated with the Mariner East 2 pipeline in southern PA until the permittee, Sunoco Pipeline, L.P. (Sunoco) meets the requirements outlined in the order. Sunoco must cease all construction activity on the pipeline project, except for maintenance of erosion controls and limited maintenance of horizontal directional drilling equipment.

The DEP cited a series of spills and other “egregious and willful violations” of state law. “Until Sunoco can demonstrate that the permit conditions can and will be followed, DEP has no alternative but to suspend the permits,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We are living up to our promise to hold this project accountable to the strong protections in the permits.”

Read the announcement from the PA DEP here. It includes a links to the full DEP order and to a list of the violations issued to Sunoco.  Press coverage on ABC6.com is here.

Keystone Pipeline Leaks 210,000 Gallons

The Washington Post reports that on Thursday morning November 16, 2017, the Keystone Pipeline leaked, spilling 210,000 gallons of oil southeast of the small town of Amherst in northeast South Dakota. “The spill comes just days before a crucial decision next Monday by the Public Service Commission in Nebraska over whether to grant a permit for a new, long-delayed sister pipeline called Keystone XL, which has been mired in controversy for several years. Both are owned by Calgary-based TransCanada. The spill on the first Keystone pipeline is the latest in a series of leaks that critics of the new pipeline say shows that TransCanada should not receive another permit.”

Imagine this from the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline into Virginia waters and wetlands. We hope DEQ is paying attention!

Read the full Washington Post article here.

Dividing Line: the ACP Will Change the Lay of Our Land

The cover story in the C-ville issue for September 6-12, 2017, Dividing Line: the ACP Will Change the Lay of Our Land, is a lengthy and carefully researched article on ways in which the proposed ACP, despite assertions to the contrary by Dominion and Duke Energy, would change forever the lay of the land along its route. The article includes extended interviews with Richard Averitt, Nancy and David Schwiesow of Wintergreen, and Ernie Reed, along with comments by C-ville Rising’s Lee White and pipeline supporter Carlton Ballowe. There are photographs and a large map, plus a set of questions, each answered (quite differently, as one might imagine!) by both Dominion’s Aaron Ruby and Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Greg Buppert.