Category Archives: Take Action

10 Actions to Oppose Dominion’s Stranglehold on VA Politics

Writing in Blue Virginia on November 14, 2017, Josh Stanfield says, “The power dynamics in Virginia are in flux; now’s the time for everyday citizens to go all in, to insist that our representatives put our interests above those of corporate donors. Over the next several months, this struggle can and should be focused on combating the political influence of Dominion Energy in particular. … [I]n the aftermath of last Tuesday – since 13 candidates won who have pledged never to accept Dominion contributions – we have the momentum. Virginians who’ve had enough of Dominion’s stranglehold over our politics should act now, so I’ve put together a set of short-term actions below.” Thanks to Josh Stanfield and Blue Virginia for this action list covering inaugural committees, the transition, pipelines, and legislation. Read the full article for more detailed information and background.

Here is the condensed list of actions:

(1) If you want to keep Dominion money out of the inaugural committees, perhaps because you understand for-profit entities don’t give money without some expectation of return, send your concerns to:

Clark Mercer, Chief of Staff, LG Ralph Northam: Clark.Mercer@ltgov.virginia.gov, 804.786.2078.

(2) If you want a Secretary of Natural Resources and a DEQ Director without Dominion ties, send your concerns to the head of the transition team:

Marianne Radcliff: mradcliff@kemperconsult.com, 804.649.7945.

(3) Also send your concerns to Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward and DEQ Director David Paylor:

Molly Ward: molly.ward@governor.virginia.gov, 804.786.0044.

David Paylor: david.paylor@deq.virginia.gov, 804.698.4020.

(4) Attend the Water is Life Rally & Concert on Saturday, December 2nd, in Richmond. Event details here.

(5) Show up in solidarity and protest at the Virginia Water Control Board final hearings on the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines:

Mountain Valley Pipeline: 9:30 a.m.Wednesday, December 6, 2017, and Thursday, December 7, 2017. Location: Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA 23222.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline: 9:30 a.m.Monday, December 11, 2017, and Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Location: Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA 23222.

You can find the agendas here.

(6) Contact Governor McAuliffe and appeal to his presidential ambitions (because appeals to principle, the environment, property rights, public health, and consumer protection have been insufficient):

Paul Reagan, Chief of Staff, Gov. Terry McAuliffe: paul.reagan@governor.virginia.gov, 804.786.2211

(7) Contact Tom Perriello and urge him to use his platform to combat the proposed pipelines. Though Tom deserves a respite after months of campaigning for our amazing House of Delegates candidates, now is the time for him to rejoin the fight.

(8) Contact your representatives in the House of Delegates and State Senate. Implore them to support both a ban on contributions from public service corporations and a repeal of the 2015 “rate freeze” bill.

(9) Contact your local party officials, candidates who fell short last Tuesday, and advocacy groups. Implore them to push these ten actions.

(10) Thank the 13 Delegates-elect who pledged never to accept contributions from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power. Remind them of the importance of supporting a ban on contributions and a repeal of the 2015 “rate freeze” bill.

The ACP Is NOT a Done Deal!


We all knew that FERC would use its rubber stamp to issue a Certificate to Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, but we weren’t sure just when. Now that FERC has given its blessings to this wretched project, Friends of Nelson, and our many friends and colleagues throughout Virginia, North Caroline, and West Virginia are moving forward on strategies that could not be initiated until now!

Friends of Nelson is continuing to fight to stop the ACP in every way that we can.  

This includes:

  • Keeping our membership and allies informed and engaged through e-mail, Facebook and the Friends of Nelson Webpage.
  • Acting on strategic opportunities with our board of directors, our membership, our allies and our colleagues
  • Being represented in legal actions wherever possible and whenever necessary
  • Keeping pressure on all Federal, State and local agencies to do the right thing.
  • Continuing to build the public record through continued water monitoring and engagement with experts and resource professionals.

Remember: it only takes one agency or one judge doing the right thing to stop this runaway train.

Friends of Nelson cannot, of course, give legal advice.  However, this is what we know and this is what we recommend:

  • The FERC process was expedited by executive order and has left many regulatory requirements incomplete.  The only FERC Commissioner who had a deep understanding of the ACP, and with whom Friends of Nelson representatives met three years ago, filed a dissent and voted against the issuance of the permit on grounds that it was not deemed necessary.  The only two commissioners who voted for the certificate have served less than 2 months with FERC and were both Trump appointees.
     
  • A legal challenge to the issuance of the FERC certificate is in the works.
     
  • Construction on the ACP cannot begin until ALL necessary permits have been obtained by Dominion.  This includes approval from:
  1. ​The Forest Service on required forest plan amendments and special use permits
  2. The US Fish and Wildlife Service on its regulatory requirements for endangered species
  3. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and affected counties on regulations for construction and hazardous materials in floodplains
  4. the Virginia Outdoors Foundation on affected lands with conservation easements
  5. Section 401 (water quality, erosion and sediment control and storm water management) and 404 (water discharges) permits under the Clean Water Act by the Virginia State Water Control Board and Department of Environmental Quality (or Army Corps of Engineers) 
  • Tree clearing MAY be able to begin on properties that have recorded easement agreements with Dominion, but it also MAY NOT.  If you have a signed easement agreement and Dominion either contacts you about entering your property for tree clearing or enters your property without notice we strongly recommend that you CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY immediately.  There are a variety of possible legal challenges that may prevent entry to your property in the short or long term, whether you have signed an easement or not.
  • If you are an impacted landowner and do not yet have an attorney, we STRONGLY advise that you contact Appalachian Mountain Advocates (434-529-6787), Lollar Law (757-644-4657), or one of the other firms (see our website) that specialize in these matters.  Representation is usually offered on a no-fee, contingency basis.  Even if you opt to negotiate an easement rather than go to court for an eminent domain hearing, it has been our observation that individuals with legal representation have obtained much better settlements than those without it.
  • If you have not signed an easement agreement, then you can continue to deny access to your property until the entire eminent domain process has run its course.  This includes Dominion bringing a lawsuit for entry under eminent domain, you obtaining legal representation, a court hearing and a judge ruling on appropriate compensation.  This process takes time to run its course. No property owner is under any obligation to allow eminent domain condemnation or access without this full process being completed.  There is one existing lawsuit already filed and the possibility of others that could stall or obstruct this process. 
     
  • If you feel that your property rights have been violated and your property is being entered illegally, immediately contact Nelson County Sheriff David Hill at: 434-263-7050.
     
  • If you filed with FERC as an intervener and if you submitted comments to FERC on their Draft Environmental Impact Statement, we invite you to join Friends of Nelson in filing a Request for Rehearing with FERC which is the next step in challenging the FERC decision.  For more information, contact Ernie Reed at 434-971-1647. And, most importantly…

KEEP IN TOUCH!
WE ARE HERE!

Ernie Reed, President, Friends of Nelson

The Fight Continues


Pipeline opposition and challenges continue, despite FERC’s October 13, 2017, rubber stamp approval of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines, issued with a highly unusual dissenting opinion by Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur. The FERC permit is not the final word on the projects. VA, NC and WV must still issue environmental permits. The NC Department of Environmental Quality recently declined to issue water quality, soil erosion control permits for the project, requesting additional information from the pipeline. The WV Department of Environmental Protection recently vacated and remanded their water quality certification, saying they want to reevaluate the complete application. The VA Department of Environmental Quality has yet to make a decision, and will hold public hearings in December. Citizens still have the opportunity (and the responsibility) to express their concerns to DEQ (and may sign a petition to protect Virginia waters here).

The Wild Virginia Web page has concrete suggestions on how you can continue the fight against the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines.

“It’s only being built because Dominion and Duke Energy will make $2 billion off of it even if it never comes into service,” said Friends of Nelson President Ernie Reed when interviewed at the Nelson Farmer’s Market the morning after the FERC announcement. “We only need one Federal Agency or one State Agency to do the right thing or one judge to force them to do the right thing to stop this runaway train.”

Greg Buppert, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, called the FERC order a long-anticipated “rubber stamp” and said his organization intends to challenge the decision. “The utilities involved in the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline claim utility customers will save money, when in fact this pipeline will drive up ratepayers’ bills – and cause harm to national forests and to rivers and streams while threatening to commit our states to fossil fuels for decades to come,” he says.

Bold Alliance and more than 50 landowners, have a federal lawsuit challenging the use of eminent domain for private gain and intend to continue the fight for property rights in the court system.

Carolyn Reilly, impacted landowner and Pipeline Fighter with Bold Alliance, said, “Thousands of landowners and citizens have stood strong in the battle to defend land, protect water and preserve communities. FERC has, yet again, pulled out its rubber stamp and permitted two more risky, fracked gas pipelines that put our homes, our land, our water, and our communities at risk. But, our fight is far from over. The ACP and MVP are not a done deal; between the Bold lawsuit against FERC and water permits needed from West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, we, the people, press on and persevere to defend and protect what is sacred.”

In an interview with WVTF, Reilly said, “I think it’s been an amazing thing to see people coming together despite many differences and political affiliations. This is not a partisan issue, this fight. There’s environmentalists and there’s conservative property rights activists that are united in this fight to protect our homes, our lands, the whole Appalachia, and especially water.”

Yes, we are all still here, and the fight goes on!

Comment to VOF


Decisions will be made by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation Board of Trustees on applications presented by Dominion to convert open spaces on 10 tracts that lie in the path of the proposed ACP that are protected by conservation easements. Dominion should not be allowed to dishonor or disrupt the conservation easements set in place in Nelson, Augusta, Highland, and Bath counties. You can submit comments online through October 16, 2017, here: http://www.virginiaoutdoorsfoundation.org/comments/ or email them to comments@vofonline.org. The Trustees meeting on October 16 is open to the public, see our Events page listing for details.

Join Walking the Line for a Participatory Ritual at Festy


The FESTY Experience has invited Walking the Line and ARTivism Virginia to create a participatory ritual to protest the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. On Saturday October 7, 2017, 4-5 p.m., they will unfurl a 120′ Fire Scene Caution Tape to show in 3D the size of the ACP proposed land grab by eminent domain. Come to help them say: This is A Robbery as the crowd gathers for the inimitable Ani DiFranco. While you are there, check out our Sacred Places Map and let the MC’s know how much you appreciate them using the no pipeline copy prepared for them.

Information on the participatory ritual is here, information on Festy is here.