Press Release, December 30, 2016 (multi-group press release coordinated by Appalachian Voices): To all media: America’s next big pipeline fight is emerging in the mountain towns and farming communities of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. With federal regulators poised to rubber-stamp the proposed fracked-gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline, landowners, community leaders and their allies are taking inspiration from the water protectors at Standing Rock and vowing to stand together to stop it.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 30, 2016
Community and Conservation Groups Blast FERC Findings on Fracked-Gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dozens of local groups and public advocacy organizations today condemned federal regulators for ignoring evidence that the proposed 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline is not needed and puts lives, communities, drinking water supplies, private property, publicly owned natural resources and the climate at unacceptable risk.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has released its draft environmental review of the $5 billion pipeline spearheaded by Dominion Resources. For two years, the proposal has sparked fierce opposition from hundreds of landowners in the three states — including farmers, business leaders, Native American tribes and rural African-American communities — who reject the company’s plan to take their land without their consent. Their fight has drawn comparisons to the ongoing citizen-led resistance at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and to the fight in Nebraska to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The Atlantic Coast project would pump fracked gas across West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, harming communities, water resources, private property, historic sites, and iconic public treasures including the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail. The groups say FERC failed to honestly assess these impacts and disregarded evidence that the project would lock consumer into decades more reliance on dirty fossil fuels.
An independent study shows there is enough existing gas supply in Virginia and the Carolinas to meet consumer demand through 2030 — negating the need for the massive pipeline and the harm it would trigger. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is one of six major pipelines proposed for the same region of West Virginia and Virginia, where experts warn the gas industry is overbuilding pipeline infrastructure. However, FERC ignored this evidence in its draft Environmental Impact Statement while also failing to assess the cumulative effects of the pipelines. The groups also fault the agency for dismissing clean energy alternatives.
In response to requests from numerous elected officials and organizations, FERC has extended the usual 45-day period for public comments; the deadline is April 6, 2017. While legal and environmental experts are continuing to review the document, they have initially identified major gaps in FERC’s analysis, including:
• The core issue of whether the massive project is needed to meet electricity
demand, and whether alternatives including energy efficiency, solar and wind
would be more environmentally responsible sources;
• A complete analysis of the cumulative, life-cycle climate pollution that would
result from the pipeline;
• A full accounting of the negative economic consequences to communities,
including decreased property values, loss of tourism revenue and other factors;
• Any accounting of other environmental and human health damage from the
increased gas fracking in West Virginia that would supply the pipeline; and
• Thorough, site-specific analysis of damage to water quality and natural resources throughout the pipeline route.
Citizens along the route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — along with landowners in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 301-mile fracked-gas project proposed in the same region — vow they will continue to build resistance to stop them.
Click here for the full press release, including contact information, statements from community, environmental, and legal experts, and highlights of major impacts of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the related Supply Header Project.