Category Archives: Take Action

Crowdsourcing Oversight of ACP Construction

The Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI), a program of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA), is working to crowdsource oversight of Atlantic Coast Pipeline construction. 

In support of this effort, ABRA has published the CSI Mapping System 4.0, a unique online geographic information system that includes user-selectable environmental layers and provides access to construction plans and aerial photography of construction in progress. Citizens, technical and legal experts, and even regulatory agency personnel, can access the CSI Mapping System to check actual construction for compliance with agency-approved construction plans.

The CSI Mapping System is a cutting-edge tool for public involvement in the regulation of pipeline construction, especially with respect to use of aerial surveillance. The CSI’s Pipeline Air Force, which now deploys on a weekly basis, has obtained thousands of photos documenting ACP activity in the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia. The CSI Mapping System provides access to these photos.

As shown in the screen shot below, locations for surveillance photos can be displayed in relation to the pipeline construction corridor, access roads, and other information. When a photo point is selected, a popup window displays a thumbnail of the photo and provides access to both low and full-resolution versions of the photo. In addition, the CSI Mapping System provides access to georeferenced photo mosaics for a subset of surveillance flights. A swipe tool allows direct comparison of construction activity on different days, as well as comparison of construction photos with construction plans. A simplified demo of this capability is provided here

 

Access to aerial photos is provided on the Pipeline Air Force Flights map page. Photo points provide access to both low and full-resolution photos.

The CSI Mapping system also provides a platform for documenting noncompliance with regulatory requirements and legal restrictions. Information concerning site-specific, as well as systemic, noncompliance can be accessed by clicking on points or construction corridor segments.

Training in use of the CSI Mapping System can be arranged on request.

Additional CSI support for crowdsourcing of ACP construction oversight has been developed through a collaborative undertaking involving local group coordination, on the ground surveillance, water data collection, and legal and technical support.

For more information, contact:

Dan Shaffer, CSI Spatial Analyst, 202-854-9558
dshaffer@abralliance.org

Ben Cunningham, CSI Virginia Field Coordinator, 434-882-1893
silvercunning@gmail.com

Autumn Crowe, CSI West Virginia Field Coordinator, 304-992-6070
acrowe@wvrivers.org

Hands Across the Appalachian Trail


Saturday, September 22 -10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Blue Ridge Parkway, Humpback Rocks Visitor Center, Milepost 5.8.

Join hands to protect our land, water, air, communities, and natural treasures from the threats posed by unnecessary, unwanted, and unnatural fracked gas pipelines at our Third annual Hands Across the Appalachian Trail!

The dedicated work of hundreds of volunteers, community groups and allies, and dedicated individuals has led to Stop Work Orders and further delays of the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines. These pipelines propose to cross several nationally known and highly popular public recreational areas including the George Washington National Forest, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Eastern Trail, and the iconic Appalachian Trail.

Hands Across the Appalachian Trail is our community response to protect valued natural parks and environment. This event will be an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate our treasured natural resources, celebrate victories won by the hard work of dedicated volunteers and legal advocates, and continue building fellowship and momentum around the continued effort to stand against unnatural gas fossil fuel projects and fight for a safe, sustainable future that all can enjoy!

Now in its third year this event features the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s vision to “connect the human spirit with nature – preserving the delicate majesty of the Trail as a haven for all to enjoy.” Everyone should have the opportunity for that experience. Come enjoy food, music, and celebrate our natural resources.

This Hands Across the Appalachian Trail event will take place at the Humpback Rocks Visitors Center in Nelson County. Events will also be held at the Route 100 Trail Head intersection with the A.T. in Giles Countyand at the Bears Den Lodge in Loudon County.

For more information, directions, or answers to any questions, contact Kirk Bowers, Sierra Club Pipelines Campaign Coordinator, at kirk.bowers@sierraclub.org.

Directions: Take Interstate 64 to Exit 99 at the top of Afton Mountain. Follow signs on Route 250 to Blue Ridge Parkway. Turn right onto Blue Ridge Parkway. Travel 5.8 miles to Humpback Rocks Visitor Center and Picnic Area.

In the Neighborhood


A video about the neighborhood around the proposed compressor station.

Weigh in as Virginia officials consider the Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station.

Let the Virginia Air Board know that compressor stations like the one Dominion is planning for Union Hill pose health risks for neighbors and pollute the surrounding community’s air.

How to comment?  Go here.

Guidelines for Commenting on Compressor Station Air Quality Permit

Friends of Buckingham has provided the following information on critical unanswered questions about ACP’s Union Hill Compressor Station to supplement your comments to DEQ about the air permit – along with extensive talking points for your letters.  For further information, contact Chad Oba, chado108@icloud.com, or email info@friendsofbuckinghamva.org.


The public comment period currently ends [please ask for an extension – see below] Tuesday, September 11 with a public hearing starting at 5 pm at the Buckingham Middle School.

This process is fragmented. All questions about the proposed compressor station should be considered together, but that is not allowed. In your comments, please:

1] first and foremost, ask for an extension of the comment period. The following is a letter of immediate requests sent on August 24 to David Paylor, head of DEQ.

2] Second important request: The Department of Environmental Quality should immediately complete a Quantified Risk Assessment (QRA) for the Buckingham Compressor Station prior to permitting and to work with other state agencies to conduct a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) and a Health Impact Assessment (HRI).

3] Choose a specific topic to focus on. See below for details.


Letter to David Paylor, sent on August 24, 2018:

A 30-day comment period for the air permit for Union Hill Compressor Station in Buckingham is inadequate:

  • .     We feel that our public process has been severely limited and we should be given every opportunity to comment in an informed and meaningful way that this current comment period does not provide.
  • .        Community members received access to large documents only weeks before the comment period and did not receive any technical support from state agencies. The applicant Dominion Energy Atlantic Coast Pipeline has had many months or even years, due to the failed first application on 2017, to work with their technical experts and to consult with the DEQ Air Division expertise. We deserve equal time.
  • .           The recent informational meeting (August 16) with DEQ Air Division was not sufficient for citizens to grasp the many technical aspects of the application and limited the questions that they were consequently ill prepared to ask.
  • Access to online documents is difficult if not prohibitive. A large population of impacted, elderly residents in the Union Hill/Woods Corner neighborhood do not own or are familiar with internet use. This is compounded by unreliable connectivity problems with the internet. This area of Buckingham lacks rural wifi or broadband infrastructure.
  • The impenetrable language of the hundreds of pages of air permitting documents and air modeling reports that accompany them make them incomprehensible without technical support. We have just recently been able to identify experts who will work with residents and community groups.
  • .     We deserve the right to an extension of the comment period to assure that our concerns for our health and welfare is assessed from all sides. Many residents are not convinced that our health and welfare will be adequately protected by the current modeling, monitoring and compliance, especially so as Dominion’s compliance record has proven to be faulty with other projects. This proposed Compressor Station has as yet been unproven in actual operation.

Therefore we request an additional 30 days for a total comment period of 60 days.

Thanking you in advance for your consideration,

Chad Oba, Friends of Buckingham
Jeeva Abbate, Yogaville Environmental Solutions
Pastor Paul Wilson, Union Hill and Union Grove Baptist Church
Swami Dayananda, Lotus Center for all Faiths
Dr Lakshmi Fjord, People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Environmental Justice
Heidi Dhivya Berthoud, Buckingham: We the People



Commenters: please consider starting simply by identifying one question you want answered…as much as possible with technical relevance. You can draw from this modified question list but it is important that you have original/unique wording and not cut and paste.

DEQ Questions to use when writing your letter to DEQ about your concerns about the Draft Air Permit 8-26-18

Send it to: [and cc all]

michael.dowd@deq.virginia.gov
patrick.corbett@deq.virginia.gov
airdivision1@deq.virginia.gov

Make sure to let DEQ know the urgency of the need for information, with a deadline looming. This backs up the requests for more time and gets DEQ to answer some questions. Plus we get our questions on the record by submitting to DEQ. The emails you send can be picked up by a FOIA request at some time in the future.


Furthermore…. August 16, 2018, the DEQ provided an informational meeting at the Buckingham Administration Building where we were allowed to ask questions. We generated a list of 107 really good questions, which we sent to the DEQ. A modified list can be viewed here.

DEQ Questions to use when writing your letter to DEQ about your concerns about the Draft Air Permit 8-26-18

Below is the list of public comment areas DEQ air permit staff said they would (maybe) listen to, related to the air permit:

  • Extending 30 days of comment period
  • Inadequate compliance and monitoring plans
  • Lack of access to technical documents (online, hard to read due to technical language and lack of technical support); they said in front of us that they would leave a copy in the local library (did they?)
  • Technical aspects of air permit that they might not have considered
  • Comprehensive impacts
  • Higher radioactivity of Marcellus shale (with convincing evidence)
  • Factors that challenge their assumptions of emissions not being harmful to human health (vulnerably of low income and elderly; pre-existing medical conditions)
  • ADD: Writing daily walk throughs into the permit

Since permitting authority is too narrow and highly fragmented, community concerns fall through the cracks.

So, we demand:

  • An immediate Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) and Comprehensive Health Impact Assessment (CHIA) to address the complex and multifaceted concerns presented by residents of Buckingham
  • Institutionalization of Environmental Justice, public safety, and health review before permitting or construction of large-scale infrastructure in minority and low-income communities;
  • Meaningful participation by impacted populations in permitting and monitoring;
  • Evaluation of climate and environmental justice impacts in all state policies, programs, and permits;
  • Reduction of state disparity in exposure by which black and brown communities disproportionately experience harm from toxic air, unsafe water, and public safety risks;
  • Development of clean and renewable energy alternatives

Air Permit Comment Writing Parties August 29, September 4


Come join friends and neighbors for help in writing your personalized comments to DEQ about the air permit for the proposed Buckingham compressor station. The comment period ends Tuesday, September 11, 2018, with the public hearing which will be at the Buckingham Middle School.

Yogaville will host the comment parties on Wednesday August 29, 2018, at 1:30 pm after lunch and 7:30 pm after dinner. Yummmmy chocolate cake will be your sweet reward.

Friends of Buckingham will host an addtional comment writing party on Tuesday, September 4, 2018, at 5:30 pm at Union Hill Baptist Church, 1496 Union Hill Road, Buckingham 23921, RRT 663, beginning with a mostly catered dinner, [including chocolate cake], to feed your bodies and fire up your muses!

Save the Date – CSI Training

Save the date – CSI training for the general public, Thursday August 30, 2018, at the Nelson Center, 6-9 pm. As members of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, Friends of Nelson and our sister groups are standing up to protect our region’s rights to clean water and the rule of environmental law. State and federal regulators are unwilling or unable to police these proposed unnecessary pipeline projects in earnest, so don’t miss your chance to come learn how to protect our region from harm by volunteering with the Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI)! More details soon.