4-4-2021 The News & Observer. Strong winds off the coast could power a clean energy economy in North Carolina. The governors of North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland have joined forces to make their states leaders in wind power. In 2020 they announced a wind power partnership. It will coordinate development of the largely untapped energy source off the East Coast as well as the industries that will support it.
3-31-2021 Virginia Business. Tom Farrell retiring from Dominion Energy. After 14 years leading Richmond-based Dominion Energy Inc., Thomas F. Farrell II is retiring as the utility’s executive chairman.
3-25-2021 New York Times. Canada Supreme Court Rules Federal Carbon Tax Is Constitutional. In rejecting a request from some provinces to strike down national carbon pricing, the court declared that the measure meets an important national need.
3-24-2021The Roanoke Times. Montgomery County tree-sit ends with removal of second pipeline protester. The operation marks the end of a tree-sit protest that began about two and a half years ago, blocking Mountain Valley from cutting some of the last remaining trees along the natural gas pipeline’s path. The trees that protesters called home for over 900 days have since been clear-cut.
3-23-2021Virginia Mercury. Northam orders state agencies, colleges and universities to stop using single-use plastics. All Virginia state agencies and public colleges and universities will stop using single-use plastics under an executive order from Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam that aims to reduce statewide solid waste.
3-23-2021Patch. Natural Gas Pipeline Proposal Withdrawn In Prince William County. Virginia Natural Gas withdrew its proposal for a new natural gas pipeline in Prince William and Fauquier counties, according to a motion filed to the State Corporation Commission. The withdrawal motion noted that the project was “no longer needed as proposed.”
3-19-2021 E&E Energy Wire. Glick backs closing pipelines that fail to
restore land. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Richard Glick said his agency should shut down natural gas pipelines when builders neglect obligations to fix the damage they do to landowners’ property.
3-17-2021 Roanoke Times. A remade SCC and a new path toward Virginia’s Clean Energy transition. The appointments of Angela Navarro and Jehmal Hudson to the SCC will usher in a new era of regulatory policy, where Virginia will launch a clean energy economy that will add thousands of new jobs and bring in millions in revenue and economic growth to the commonwealth for years to come.
3-16-2021. The Free-Lance Star. EDITORIAL: Electric vehicles are not a panacea. A 2020 study by the Competitive Enterprise Institute concluded that “manufacturing an EV requires more energy inputs and imposes more mining-related impacts than an ICE vehicle. Using electricity rather than gasoline as a fuel source changes the environmental footprint but does not eliminate it.”
3-16-2021 Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley Pipeline’s extension opposed by existing Transco pipeline. Transco, an Oklahoma-based pipeline is fighting an attempt by Mountain Valley to use eminent domain to acquire easements on private property — some of it seized by Transco through the same controversial process years ago.
2-26-2021 Nelson County. 2022 Reassessment In Process. The County of Nelson has retained Wampler-Eanes Appraisal Group, Ltd., to perform the County’s 2022 General Reassessment, effective January 1, 2022. Members of the reassessment team began visiting properties in the Fall of 2020. Assessors will be carrying photo ID’s and will have magnetic ‘County Reassessment’ signs on their vehicles. The field assessments are expected to be completed in October 2021. Notices of Reassessment with any proposed changes in assessed value are expected to be mailed to property owners in November 2021. These notices will give the details regarding the method of appealing the proposed assessed value.
2-24-2021 Virginia Mercury. ‘Great Polystyrene Compromise of 2021’ sends Advanced recycling bill to governor. A hotly contested bill to classify chemical recycling as manufacturing rather than solid waste management is on its way to the governor despite early resistance from the House of Delegates. Key to its success was combining it with a proposal from Del. Betsy Carr, D-Richmond, that would ban all food vendors from using plastic foam food containers starting in 2025. Carr’s polystyrene ban had successfully passed the House but was facing opposition in the Senate.
2-19-2021 AP News. Clean cars’ bill clears major hurdle in Virginia Senate. A bill that aims to reduce carbon pollution in part by getting more zero-emissions vehicles on the road cleared a key hurdle in the Virginia Senate on Friday. The measure would require that starting in 2024 a certain percentage of new passenger vehicles sold by manufacturers be electric or hybrid electric.
The mechanism for reaching the mandated vehicle sales threshold — which would start at roughly 8% in 2024 and then increase each year — involves adopting California’s vehicle emissions standards. The program applies to manufacturers, not car dealers.
The hope is that the measure will make it easier and more likely that Virginians will choose a zero-emissions vehicle and in turn help reduce pollution.
2-12-2021 E&E Energy Wire. Glick unveils environmental justice, climate plans. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Richard Glick has said he will create a senior position dedicated to addressing environmental justice and equity concerns at the agency. He is quoted saying “I believe the commission should more aggressively fulfill its responsibilities to ensure our decisions don’t unfairly impact historically marginalized communities,” … “I will do what it takes to empower the new position to ensure environmental justice and equity concerns finally get the attention they deserve.”
2-2-2021 Riviera. Siemens Gamesa chief executive Andreas Nauen confirms Virginia in the frame for American blade factory. Providing testimony at a Virginia House Committee hearing on new legislation that would provide for the construction of up to 5.2 GW of offshore wind for the state by 2034, Siemens Gamesa head of government affairs Abby Watson said the company was “actively examining” a US$200M blade manufacturing facility in the Hampton Roads area.
1-28-2021 The New York Times. G.M. Will Sell Only Zero-Emission Vehicles by 2035. General Motors said Thursday that it would phase out petroleum-powered cars and trucks and sell only vehicles that have zero tailpipe emissions by 2035. The announcement is likely to put pressure on automakers around the world to make similar commitments. It could also embolden President Biden and other elected officials to push for even more aggressive policies to fight climate change.
1-22-2021 E & E Energywire. Pipeline eminent domain battle lands at Supreme Court. The Supreme Court agreed Wednesday morning to weigh in on whether a private company can use eminent domain to seize state-owned land to build a PennEast natural gas pipeline between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In December, the Trump Administration Justice Department asked the Court to take the case, expressing support for the PennEast position. It remains to be seen what posture on the case the Biden Administration Justice Department will take when the case is argued.
1-17-2021 Politico. Biden to rescind the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office. The move is billed as one of Biden’s Day One climate change actions.
1-15-2021 Power for the People VA. The legislative session may be short, but the list of energy bills is long. Clean energy advocates expected this legislative session to feature fewer initiatives of interest, but the number of bills we are following is growing longer by the hour.
1-2-2021 Inside Climate News. The Atlantic Hurricane Season Typically Brings About A Dozen Storms. This Year It Was 30. Of 2020’s Atlantic storms, 13 were hurricanes, six of them Category 3 or higher. Warmer ocean waters are fueling an increasing number of storms.
1-1-2020 The New York Times. GE’s Giant Wind Turbine could stoke a Renewable Energy Arms Race. The giant turbines have turned heads in the industry. A top executive at the world’s leading wind farm developer called it a “bit of a leapfrog over the latest technology.” And an analyst said the machine’s size and advance sales had “shaken the industry.” When assembled in arrays, the wind machines have the potential to power cities, supplanting the emissions-spewing coal- or natural gas-fired plants that form the backbones of many electric systems today.
12-27-2020 The Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley Pipeline faces political, regulatory changes in 2021. It is unlikely that a single action under Biden’s incoming administration will kill the pipeline, the risk of death by a thousand cuts becomes more likely.
12-17-2020 Prince William Times. Virginia Natural Gas planning $205 million pipeline project in ‘rural crescent’ The new pipeline project, called the “Virginia Natural Gas Interconnect,” is a scaled back version of the original proposal and cites increased demand from Columbia Gas of Virginia and Dominion Energy subsidiary Virginia Power Services Energy as the primary reason for the expansion.
12-22-2020 Green Tech Media. Solar, Wind Tax Credit Extensions, and Clean Energy R&D Funding Have Made it Through both Houses of Congress. Clean-energy provisions are included in a $1.4 trillion federal spending and tax extension package alongside a $900 billion coronavirus relief package. $35 billion is included for energy research and development programs, a two-year extension of the Investment Tax Credit for solar power, a one-year extensions of the Production Tax Credit for wind power projects, and an extension through 2025 for offshore wind tax credits.
12-18-2020 The Roanoke Times. 3 Mountain Valley Pipeline opponents removed from legal effort to bring tree-sitters down. Three people who were part of a tree-sit blockade of the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s path in Montgomery County no longer face damages sought by a civil court. Two unidentified opponents remain in the tree stands despite being found in contempt of a judge’s order that they come down. There has been no effort so far to extract the tree-sitters.
12-8-2020 Virginia Mercury. DEQ Continues to Fail to Protect Virginia Streams and Wetlands. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is proposing to again defer to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on decisions about the health of thousands of Virginia streams and wetlands. And, despite the fact that DEQ has a legal obligation to ensure our water quality standards are enforced on all regulated projects, the department has just admitted that it hasn’t done so in this case. This follows a pattern of failure that the State Water Control Board must reject
12-8-2020 ProPublica. Regulators are Rewriting Environmental Rules to allow for Massive Pipelines. Federal regulators and West Virginia agencies are rewriting environmental rules again to pave the way for construction of a major natural gas pipeline across Appalachia, even after an appeals court blocked the pipeline for the second time.
11-23-20 E&E Energywire. FERC eminent domain pipeline battle heats up. “the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties requested FERC produce information about a number of agency practices, including certificate extensions for pipelines and the status of FERC’s dispute resolution service”
11-20-20 Climate and Capital Media. Dominion Energy’s $8 billion environmental justice blunder. “Historic Virginia free slave community teaches power company a costly lesson on ignoring the potential health concerns on local residents.”
11-4-20 Nelson County Times. Federal agency asks for disposition plans for canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “A federal agency has put the canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline on the clock, asking officials to file specific plans by the end of 2020 for disposition of the defunct project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week asked ACP to file a plan within 60 days on intentions for the project’s facilities and the areas for which the pipeline was set. ‘In order for us to determine if additional Commission authorizations are required … we will need more detail …’ FERC’s request states.”
10-29-20 Virginia Mercury. Federal regulators order Atlantic Coast Pipeline to provide a plan for project wind-down, restoration. “Almost four months after the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, federal regulators have ordered the project developers to provide a plan for what they intend to do with the facilities and the lands where the natural gas pipeline was supposed to be built. The order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission applies to both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Supply Header Project, a roughly 38-mile pipeline that was expected to connect the ACP with existing pipelines in Ohio and Pennsylvania.”
10-25 20 Charleston Gazette-Mail. Opponents of Mountain Valley Pipeline sense momentum as project remains stalled in legal limbo. “It was a shock to the system. That’s how EQT President and CEO Toby Rice described the impact of the July cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Rice made the allusion during EQT’s third-quarter earnings call Thursday while reporting talks with four or five other unnamed companies to offload some or all of EQT’s Mountain Valley Pipeline capacity. Environmentalists hope Mountain Valley is headed for the same fate as Atlantic Coast and view the natural gas industry’s recent slide as evidence the market might be on their side.”
10-16-20 Roanoke Times. Federal court delays stream crossings for Mountain Valley Pipeline. “A temporary administrative stay of stream-crossing permits was issued Friday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In a brief order, the court said the temporary stay — which was requested Thursday by conservation groups concerned about the project’s effect on the environment — will remain in effect until it has time to consider a full stay that was sought earlier.”
10-11-20 Inside Climate News. Too Much Sun Degrades Coatings That Keep Pipes From Corroding, Risking Leaks, Spills and Explosions. “Long term, aboveground pipe storage has become commonplace as pipeline developers routinely begin construction activity on pipeline projects before obtaining all necessary permits and as legal challenges add lengthy delays. Whether canceled or stalled, overdue oil and gas pipelines across the country may face a little-known problem that raises new safety concerns and could add additional costs and delays. Fusion bonded epoxy, the often turquoise-green protective coating covering sections of steel pipe in storage yards from North Dakota to North Carolina, may have degraded to the point that it is no longer effective. The coatings degrade when exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun while the pipes they cover sit above ground for years. The compromised coatings leave the underlying pipes more prone to corrosion and failures that could result in leaks, catastrophic spills or explosions.”
10-9-20 Roanoke Times. Work on Mountain Valley Pipeline can resume, FERC rules. “Mountain Valley Pipeline was given another two years Friday to complete a natural gas pipeline already marked by six years of community opposition, environmental damage, legal fights and delays. In orders filed late Friday afternoon, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also lifted a stop-work order for all but a 25-mile segment of the interstate transmission line that includes the Jefferson National Forest and adjacent land. While acknowledging problems with erosion and sedimentation during the first two years of construction, FERC found that allowing the pipeline to be completed is best for both the environment and the public. …. In a dissent, Commissioner Richard Glick wrote that lifting the stop-work order is ‘plowing ahead with construction in the face of uncertainty.'”
10-8-20 Roanoke Times. FERC study finds no risk from protective coating of Mountain Valley Pipeline. “Segments of steel pipe stockpiled along the path of a natural gas pipeline, exposed to the elements for two years while lawsuits delayed construction, pose no risk to the surrounding air, soil or water, a federal agency has concluded. In a report released Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission addressed concerns that have been raised about the Mountain Valley Pipeline.”
9-30-20 Nelson County Times. With ACP canceled, Nelson residents look to environmental recovery. “A statement posted to the ACP’s website says in the wake of the project’s cancellation, officials with the pipeline will work with landowners, FERC and other agencies to determine ‘the best path forward for all agreements and assets related to the project.’ …. About three months after the announcement of the cancellation of the natural gas pipeline that would have stretched more than 600 miles, with roughly 27 miles cutting through Nelson County, no official word has yet come from either ACP or FERC on plans for the restoration of those areas affected by the pipeline activities.”
9-29-20 Blue Virginia. COVID-19 Bombshell: As Thousands of Out-of-State Mountain Valley Pipeline Workers Prepare to Descend on SW Virginia, Dept. of Health Declines to Review Company’s COVID Mitigation Plan. “The Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health rejected the idea of conducting a thorough review of Mountain Valley Pipeline’s plan to bring thousands of out of state workers to a concentrated area of Southwest Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, he directed staff to limit their efforts to providing ‘public health guidance’ to MVP. A lobbyist for Mountain Valley Pipeline expressed reservations about submitting its COVID-19 response plan because it might be made public under the Freedom of Information Act. He also dismissed concerns raised by Virginia legislators about MVP’s plan and apparently misled the Virginia Department of Health regarding the status of pending legislation that could stop construction.”
9-28-20 Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley Pipeline foes file challenge to reissued stream-crossing permits. “Foes of the Mountain Valley Pipeline were back in court Monday, before idled construction workers could return to the long-delayed and deeply divisive project. In a petition filed with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Sierra Club and seven other environmental groups challenged permits reissued last week to allow Mountain Valley to cross nearly 1,000 streams and wetlands along its 303-mile path. The joint venture of five energy companies has been barred from active construction of the natural gas pipeline for nearly a year. But after legal logjams began to clear, with two key sets of federal permits being restored, Mountain Valley asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week to lift its stop-work order. Before that could happen, the environmental groups requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stay its new permits for waterbody crossings, pending another legal challenge.
9-25-20 Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley Pipeline regains permit to cross streams, wetlands. “A path across nearly 1,000 streams and wetlands was cleared Friday for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reissued three permits for the natural gas pipeline being built in Virginia and West Virginia, nearly two years after they were invalidated by a federal appeals court. ‘Effective immediately, you may resume all activities being done in reliance upon the authorization’ first given in January 2018, William Walker, chief of the Army Corps’ regulatory branch in Norfolk, wrote in a letter to Mountain Valley. With the long-awaited decision, the company moved one step closer to resuming construction of a massive project that has stirred deep controversy in Southwest Virginia since it was first proposed six years ago.”
9-23-20 Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley seeks to resume construction of pipeline. “After a winter hiatus in construction that stretched into the spring, summer and fall, builders of the Mountain Valley Pipeline say they are ready to return. In a letter filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission late Tuesday, an attorney for the joint venture of energy companies requested that a stop-work order issued last Oct. 15 be lifted. Matthew Eggerding asked FERC to act by Friday ‘so that Mountain Valley can maximize final restoration and complete as many activities as possible before winter,’ he wrote in the letter. Since work began in early 2018, litigation has caused cost overruns and construction delays for Mountain Valley. Not long after FERC issued its stop-work order, the company said it expected to be back on the job by April.”
9-18-20 Virginia Mercury. Air Board beefs up public notice requirements for new fossil fuel plants. “The Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board voted Thursday to expand public notification requirements for applications to construct or make major changes to certain fossil fuel plants or natural gas compressor stations.”
9-10-20 Roanoke Times. Bleicher and Rubin: Lessons for Corporate Leaders from the Death of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “The central lesson for corporate leaders is that the dissenting coalition voices challenging the ACP proved to be more powerful, more persuasive, and more attuned to the future than the political leaders whose support Dominion courted. Thoughtful corporate leaders must look at current conditions and also envision the future world in which their facilities will operate. The demands for addressing climate change, protecting natural habitat, reducing economic inequality, and creating a more just and humane society cannot be stopped by political connections, lobbying, campaign contributions, or slick public relations campaigns. If corporate leaders continue to ignore current and future societal needs and instead try to override intense opposition, the results will often be painful losses for their corporations, shareholders, and involved communities in the long run — and in this case immediately.”
9-10-20 NRDC. 5 Key Reasons to Stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Top five reasons explained.
9-8-20 Virginia Mercury. Virginia’s vanishing bee: State works to save rusty patched bumble bee. “In 2019, the bee met the bulldozer, and the bee won. In July of that year, a federal appeals court in Richmond for the second time yanked a permit for the now-canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline. And the decision brought into the spotlight a small creature that for years has been retreating into Virginia’s shadows: the rusty patched bumble bee.”
9-8-20 The Land I Trust. Podcast: Pastor Paul Wilson on defeating a fracked gas compressor station along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Season 4, Ep. 3. “Paul Wilson is the pastor of the Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Union Hill, Virginia a small, historically Black community. When he found out that Dominion Energy and Duke Energy wanted to build a compressor station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the middle of his community, it felt all too familiar. After organizing around protecting their community’s health from air and well water pollution from the station, Union Hill residents won their legal battle against the pipeline, leading to its cancellation in July 2020.”
9-2-20 Virginia Mercury. Despite rosy projections, all is not well with the Mountain Valley Pipeline. “Following the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline have not been shy about talking up their own project in the Appalachian region. However, behind the rosy pronouncements of late, all is far from well with the MVP. …. MVP has requested the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission grant an extension of its construction timeline until Oct. 13, 2022. The reality is that MVP is over two years behind schedule and $2 billion over budget. Given federal permit suspensions, a nearly year-long — and counting — project-wide Stop Work order, ongoing legal challenges and ballooning financial woes, MVP cannot forecast when, or if, the project will be finished.
9-1-20 Highlands Voice. The Conservation Hub: Strengthening Environmental Analysis and Improving Public Participation. Article by Lew Freeman and Dan Shaffer about ABRA’s new Conservation Hub project.
8-24-20 Virginia Mercury. Hurst bill aims to block pipeline worker surge in Southwest Virginia. “A bill filed by Del. Chris Hurst, D-Montgomery, to require any employer hiring a crew of 50 or more temporary workers during the COVID-19 pandemic to receive approval from the commissioner of labor and industry would complicate Mountain Valley Pipeline’s plans to deploy 4,000 workers to West Virginia and Virginia once it resumes work. Besides the need to get commissioner approval, HB 5102 would also require such an employer to participate in one of Virginia’s Voluntary Protection Programs.”
8-20 Highlands Voice. The August issue of The Highlands Voice, the monthly newsletter of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, includes two articles by Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s Lew Freeman (pages 1 and 5), a letter from WVHC President Larry Thomas that includes views about the ACP’s demise (page 2) and an excellent piece by John McFerrin, the publication’s editor, entitled “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Law (page 14).
8-18-20 Virginia Mercury. SCC: Dominion under-earned last year, but excess profits have topped half a billion since 2017. “Dominion earned $75 million less than it was authorized to in 2019 but still collected an estimated half a billion dollars more than allowed between 2017 and 2019, the State Corporation Commission reported Tuesday. …. Customer bills have grown along with revenues. The SCC’s annual report noted that between 2007 and 2020, typical residential bills have increased roughly 29 percent for Dominion customers and 64 percent for Appalachian Power customers. Dominion increases are largely due to the addition of riders — extra fees utilities can tack on to base rates in order to pay for specific projects — while Appalachian increases are due to both riders and base rate bumps.”
8-17-20 Pittsburgh Business Times. Pipeline construction firm files lawsuit against Mountain Valley Pipeline. “A Texas-based pipeline construction company is suing the Mountain Valley Pipeline to get $103.8 million it alleges it’s owed by the Pittsburgh-based joint venture — and that the under-construction pipeline be sold to meet the terms of the deal.”
8-15-20 News & Advance. A look at the Atlantic Coast Pipeline easement process that left Nelson landowners $15 million richer. Article reports extensively on easement payments in Nelson County, including a chart by categories showing total amounts of compensation for easements signed by Nelson landowners. Note that the headline is deceptive, as more than half of the $15 million went to a very few landowners, and most received far less.
8-15-20 Friends of Buckingham Newsletter. Landowners be advised. “Right now landowners may want to take any available opportunity to express the desire to have damage repaired and to regain easement ownership to political leaders and company representatives.”
8-13-20 Virginia Mercury. More dominoes need to fall in ACP’s wake. With the disadvantages of fossil fuels highlighted perhaps more than ever before because of the high profile nature of the ACP, hopefully we are poised to seize this momentum and further advance Virginia’s clean energy future. There are still several dangerous projects proposed or underway: the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), the Header Improvement Project, the Chickahominy Power Station, the “Charles City Combined-Cycle Gas Turbine” known as C4GT, the Northern Virginia Transco Pipeline Expansion, the Gidley Compressor station — and many more.
8-11-20 NC Policy Watch. DEQ denies key permits for MVP Southgate natural gas pipeline. “Another natural gas pipeline in North Carolina has been derailed, at least temporarily, as the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has denied a water quality permit for the MVP Southgate project that would route through Rockingham and Alamance counties. In a letter released this afternoon, Division of Water Resources Director Danny Smith wrote, ‘Due to uncertainty surrounding the completion of the MVP Mainline project,’ it has determined that ‘work on the Southgate extension could lead to unnecessary water quality impacts and disturbance of the environment in North Carolina.’
8-10-20 Reuters. Duke takes $1.6 billion charge to exit Atlantic Coast natgas pipe. “U.S. energy company Duke Energy Corp said Monday it took a $1.6-billion after-tax charge in the second quarter for the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina. gAtlantic Coast was the most expensive U.S. gas pipeline under construction when Duke and partner Dominion Energy Inc exited the $8-billion project in July due to regulatory uncertainty following years of delays and billions of dollars of cost overruns. Dominion already took a $2.8 billion charge related to the cancellation.”
8-10-20 Virginia Mercury. Despite company claims, only a fraction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline is complete in Virginia. “It turns out MVP is, to be generous, manipulating numbers to create a false impression. It would be like a contractor telling you your new house is ‘almost complete’ because ‘most’ of the wood framing is ‘done’ even though you have no electricity, no water, no roof, no walls, no floors – and the contractor is missing multiple permits to do that work because they got sued in federal court – and lost.”
8-8-20 Crozet Gazette. The History of The People vs. The Pipeline. “To the surprise and immense joy of the community, on July 5, 2020, Dominion Energy made a sudden announcement that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would be abandoned. Looking back over the six-year struggle, the news is a huge win for those people most affected and fighting to save their homes, properties and livelihoods. A grassroots community-building effort grew into a powerful connection that brought together diverse persons capable of keeping the mountains whole. …. Along the way, many had expressed resignation in the lopsided struggle of individuals against well-funded corporations and a powerful lobby. But there is also power where people work together in a common goal. The only regret expressed locally was postponing the celebration due to the pandemic.”
8-6-20 WFXR. 22 Virginia legislators urge Gov. Northam and health officials to suspend construction on Mountain Valley Pipeline. “Twenty-two Virginia legislators jointly signed a letter urging Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va) and health officials to halt construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline during the coronavirus pandemic. This comes after Mountain Valley Pipeline announced it intends to bring more than 4,000 workers to a 30 mile stretch of Southwest Virginia and across the border in West Virginia to work on the pipeline. ‘An influx of thousands of workers for a project whose completion will not benefit Virginians will needlessly risk accelerating the pandemic in an area of the Commonwealth with already limited health care resources,’ said Delegate Chris Hurst, whose district includes the route of the proposed pipeline.'”
8-6-20 Virginia Mercury. Virginia senators again push for pipeline review reforms. “Virginia’s Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are again proposing reforms to the federal pipeline review process in response to public complaints surrounding the now-cancelled Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the still active Mountain Valley Pipeline through Virginia. Legislation put forward by the senators intends ‘to strengthen the public’s ability to evaluate the impacts of natural gas pipelines being considered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’ and ‘make it easier for the public to offer input and clarify the circumstances under which eminent domain should and should not be used,’ a joint statement from Warner and Kaine said. …. Among the new provisions are those preventing pipelines from exercising eminent domain until the project has received all needed permits and FERC has issued rulings on landowner challenges.”
8-4-20 Gazette-Mail. Many winners in scrapped pipeline project. “[A] wide range of West Virginia leaders appear to be taking the wrong lessons from the cancellation. If West Virginia leaders want to promote economic development, they need to recognize what really happened here and what it means for the future. Developers, politicians and other industry leaders blame ‘regulatory uncertainty’ and litigation by environmentalists for the cancellation. But West Virginians should not be fooled: The developers of the pipeline really have only themselves and their bad management decisions to blame. Courts tend to defer to regulatory agencies, so the court decisions halting the pipeline only could have happened because those violations were real. These were not the result of ‘regulatory uncertainty,’ they were the result of developers trying to ignore the plain language of the law.”
8-4-20 Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley, DEQ reach agreement on environmental fines. “The latest problems with muddy runoff streaming from construction sites along the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s route through Southwest Virginia have been resolved, with the company paying $58,000 in fines. The agreement, reached after several months of negotiations with the Department of Environmental Quality, marks the troubled pipeline’s latest penalty for violating erosion and sediment control regulations. Mountain Valley had balked at DEQ’s initial demand for $86,000, which was made after the joint venture of five energy companies building the natural gas pipeline had paid $2.15 million to settle a lawsuit brought by state environmental regulators. The lawsuit filed in 2018 covered violations during the first year and a half of construction; the latest fines were for problems that persisted even after Mountain Valley was ordered to stop work last fall.”
8-4-20 Reuters. Equitrans confirms early 2021 startup for Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline. “U.S. pipeline company Equitrans Midstream Corp (ETRN.N) said on Tuesday it still expects to complete the $5.4 billion Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia in early 2021.”
8-3-20 Virginia Mercury. After several years of tumult, Air Board members reexamine public engagement process. “Virginia’s State Air Pollution Control Board, which has seen meetings repeatedly attract hundreds of angry citizens and called in police to keep order over the past few years, has created a four-member committee to reexamine the board’s public engagement process. …. Among the priorities identified by the committee at a virtual meeting Monday was the need to examine the public’s ability to address the board rather than just DEQ on all regulations and controversial new permits, transparency issues surrounding advice provided to the board by the Office of the Attorney General and the need to identify at-risk communities comprehensively rather than during specific permit deliberations.”
8-2-20 New York Times Magazine. Pollution Is Killing Black Americans. This Community Fought Back. “Black communities like Grays Ferry shoulder a disproportionate burden of the nation’s pollution — from foul water in Flint, Mich., to dangerous chemicals that have poisoned a corridor of Louisiana known as Cancer Alley — which scientists and policymakers have known for decades. A 2017 report from the N.A.A.C.P. and the Clean Air Task Force provided more evidence. It showed that African-Americans are 75 percent more likely than other Americans to live in so-called fence-line communities, defined as areas situated near facilities that produce hazardous waste.” [A detailed analysis of long-term health hazards faced by a Philadelphia neighborhood. Thanks to the demise of the ACP, Union Hill will not have to suffer similar health hazards.]
7-31-20 Dominion Energy. Dominion Energy Names New Executive Leadership Team. “Dominion Energy (NYSE: D) today announced that Thomas F. Farrell, II, chairman, president and chief executive officer, will become the company’s executive chair, effective Oct. 1, 2020. In that role, Farrell will continue to serve as chair of the Board of Directors. Also, effective that date, Robert M. Blue, executive vice president and co-chief operating officer, will be promoted to president and chief executive officer, reporting to Farrell. Diane Leopold, executive vice president and co-chief operating officer, will be promoted to Dominion Energy’s sole chief operating officer, responsible for all the company’s operating segments, reporting to Blue. Edward H. ‘Ed’ Baine will be promoted to president-Dominion Energy Virginia. He will report to Leopold.”
7-31-20 Washington Post. How Virginians will move forward from the defunct Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Now that the 600-mile-long pipeline is dead, killed by rising costs and unresolved questions about its market, plenty of Virginians are scratching their heads wondering how the controversial project, announced in 2014, got so far and lasted so long. They are putting together a list of what to change so it doesn’t happen again.”
7-31-20 Reuters. Dominion takes $2.8 bln charge to exit Atlantic Coast natgas pipe. “U.S. energy company Dominion Energy Inc said on Friday it took a $2.8 billion charge in the second quarter related to the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina.”
7-30-20 NC Policy Watch. Along now-defunct Atlantic Coast Pipeline route, landowners are left in the lurch. “Environmental destruction, property entanglements will take years to address.” A comprehensive discussion of the problems facing landowners on the ACP route whose property has been defaced and where utilities still have legal rights to the easements.
7-30-20 Energy News Network. No longer in Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s path, landowners consider next steps. “After a half-decade fight over pipeline easements, property owners look to recoup legal costs and property values.” [Article focuses on the Averitts and the Limperts.]
7-30-20 Virginia Mercury. Stop Mountain Valley Pipeline from polluting Southwest Virginia’s water. “The recent U.S. Supreme Court Maui ruling affirmed the Clean Water Act protects waterways from pollution due to construction projects like MVP. DEQ must issue an immediate stop work instruction until MVP is able to build their project without polluting our waterways and MVP has paid all their fines.”
7-29 20 C-ville. Hallelujah. What’s next?: The defeat of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is only the beginning. “Now that victory has come on the local scale, the questions have to expand in scope. Why was the pipeline proposed in the first place? What are the priorities for financial investment and political muscle among different energy paradigms (including conservation, a latent ‘resource’ that is far from fully tapped)? What can local activists—who have now proven their efficacy—do to influence the broader conversation about where we get our power?”
7-29-20 Virginia Mercury. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was canceled. What happens to all the land acquired for it? “‘There are a number of important issues that will need to be addressed in the coming months as we wind down the project,’ said Dominion spokesperson Aaron Ruby in an email. ‘As part of that process, we will be evaluating the best path forward for resolving existing easement agreements with ACP landowners.’ …. Figuring out what to do with the lands placed under permanent easement for the 604-mile pipeline that was set to cross West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, with just over half in Virginia, may be one of the thorniest problems Dominion and Duke will face as they unwind the $8 billion project.”
7-28-20 Roanoke Times. Lovelace: Pipeline cancellation puts spotlight on Northam and Herring inaction. “At the end of the day, the case for MVP’s cancellation is proven by the similarities between MVP and ACP, coupled with MVP’s ongoing disregard for Virginia regulations and the glaring lack of need for the pipeline, proven by the lack of negative effects to Virginia’s energy supply despite MVP being years behind schedule. The recent court-mandated shut down of the DAPL pipeline proves that, in the off chance that MVP is even completed, it will not stand as its permitting process has had similar inadequacies to DAPL’s. The only question now is why are Governor Northam and Attorney General Herring still refusing to speak out against the MVP? Governor Northam and Attorney General Herring should be openly calling for the cancellation of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and using all of their authority, which they have a lot of despite their claims, to have this pipeline stopped for good.”
7-28-20 Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley to receive new permit to cross Blue Ridge Parkway. “The Mountain Valley Pipeline will be granted a new permit to cross the Blue Ridge Parkway, the first in a string of federal approvals needed before the natural gas pipeline can be completed. In a letter filed Tuesday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the National Park Service said it intended to issue a right of way permit for the pipeline to pass under the parkway atop Bent Mountain in Roanoke County. Construction of that segment of the 303-mile pipeline was completed in January 2019, but Mountain Valley needs the permit to maintain and operate the transmission line.”
7-27-20 Facing South. Institute Index: The ongoing toxic threat from canceled and delayed gas pipelines. “Epoxy-coated steel pipe that was to be used for the now-canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline sits out in the open in a storage yard in Culpeper, Virginia, as well as five other locations across Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Environmental advocates are raising concerns about how long-term exposure to sunlight is breaking down the coating and releasing toxic pollution into the air and nearby waterways. Reusing pipe with degraded coating in other projects increases the risk of explosions.”
7-27-20 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Trump to nominate Virginia SCC’s Mark Christie for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “President Donald Trump is nominating Mark Christie, chairman of the Virginia State Corporation Commission, to fill a seat at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In announcing the move, the White House called Christie ‘one of the nation’s longest-serving utility regulators,’ noting that he has served on the SCC for 16 years.”
7-24-20 Soundboard (WTJU 91.1 and Charlottesville Tomorrow. “Environmental Racism is discussed by Chad, John and Ruby. The interview starts at about 17 minutes. The Freedom of Information Act is the first topic. The Freedom of Information Act is one of the primary tools that we as citizens have to hold our governments accountable. This week, we meet Jessie Higgins, the newest reporter at Charlottesville Tomorrow, and talk about why Albemarle County says it no longer needs to fulfill FOIA requests in a timely manner. Plus, we talk to pipeline activists from Buckingham County about the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and environmental racism.”
7-24-20 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Defeat of Atlantic Coast Pipeline rooted in homegrown legal strategy. “Six summers ago, a group of community activists from both sides of the Blue Ridge Mountains met around a kitchen table at a Christmas tree farm in Augusta County to face the emerging threat of a natural gas pipeline that Virginia’s largest energy company was planning to build through the heart of the state. Dominion Energy already had begun notifying landowners along a 400-foot wide study corridor for the Southeast Reliability Project. Three months later it would become the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a multibillion-dollar construction project that would have cut a swath through the Allegheny Highlands, the Shenandoah Valley, the Blue Ridge and central Piedmont on its way to the southeastern coast. Six years later, the $8 billion, 604-mile project is dead, thwarted by a homegrown community organizing and legal strategy that took root in the June, 2014, meeting at Francisco Farms, which the original route of the pipeline would have come near in Augusta. ‘That meeting at the farm was the first time people from different communities had gotten together,’ said Ernie Reed, a current member of the Nelson County Board of Supervisors and a past president of Friends of Nelson, one of 50 community organizations that ultimately formed the Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance to oppose the pipeline.”
7-23-20 HuffPost. Virginia’s Energy Kingpin Could Finally Face A Reckoning Over Race. “Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell’s history of railroading Black communities and glorifying the Confederacy is under new scrutiny after the demise of his controversial pipeline.”
7-23-20 E&E News. Environmental justice concerns stall Va. power project. “A $350 million gas project spanning much of eastern Virginia has been put on hold, in part due to environmental justice concerns. Virginia’s State Corporation Commission (SCC) recently deferred action on the proposal by Southern Co. subsidiary Virginia Natural Gas (VNG). The agency told the company to come back by the end of the year with more details on financing and environmental justice issues. The project, a series of pipelines, compressor stations and other infrastructure stretching from the exurbs of Washington to Hampton Roads in southern Virginia, has come under fire from environmental groups for potentially locking in years of natural gas use.”
7-22-20 Anchor FM. Atlantic Ghost Pipeline: How the Union (Hill) Won the South, Part 1. “After years in the works, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline – a celebrated, bipartisan project – was abruptly canceled. Was this an overnight change of heart? Or were there other powers at work? Jessica Sims (VA Sierra Club) and Jonathan Sokolow (attorney, writer, and activist) joined us to discuss their advocacy in this fight. …. This two part podcast tells the story of how frontline communities and their allies won the battle to save Union Hill and defeat the Atlantic Coast Pipeline – and how we WILL win the fight to defeat the Mountain Valley Pipeline! And please watch for next week’s edition,where The Justice Report interviews Richard Walker, a fifth generation descendant of the people who settled Union Hill and a leader in this now victorious fight!”
7-20-20 Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley, DEQ negotiate over environmental fines. “Mountain Valley Pipeline has agreed to pay $8,000 of the $86,000 demanded by Virginia regulators for the latest environmental violations caused by building the hotly disputed natural gas pipeline. Whether it owes any more — and how much more — is still under negotiation.
7-20-20 S&P Global. Friction arises at FERC over remains of ACP, SHP gas pipeline plans. “New debate has kicked off at the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over whether Dominion Energy can extend the authorization of its Supply Header Pipeline project now that the related Atlantic Coast Pipeline project has been cancelled.”
7-17-20 NC Warn. Toxic Legacy of Atlantic Coast Pipeline Requires State Investigation — News Release from NC WARN. “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was cancelled last week, but 80,000 large steel pipes have been stored improperly for over four years, posing an immediate risk of toxic air and water exposures to multiple communities and increasing the risk of a catastrophic gas explosion if the pipes are used at another project. That’s according to a report by a career state regulator being filed today with NC Department of Environmental Quality secretary Michael Regan.”
7-16-20 News Leader. It was more than just a pipeline we defeated. “Celebrate the victory—the defeat of Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), a 600-mile, high-pressure, fracked-gas pipeline planned to rip through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. It was a six-year fight for people’s land rights, our water, environmental justice, and common decency. We defeated more than just a pipeline, we defeated the mendacious, well-funded fossil fuel lobby. …. So, in the end, it wasn’t just about the pipeline. It was about Dominion taking advantage of the system, the government, the people, and their property. I was fighting for the environment, racial justice, and most importantly common decency. And this time, the people and common decency won!”
7-15-20 Utility Dive. ‘Almost impossible’ for FERC to address rehearing orders in 30 days, Glick says. “It will be “almost impossible” for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to respond to requests for rehearing within 30 days, as required by the D.C. Circuit of Appeals, Commissioner Richard Glick said Tuesday during a virtual conference on wholesale market reform hosted by the American Public Power Association.”
7-15-20 New York Times. Trump to Weaken Environmental Rules to Speed Infrastructure Permits. “President Trump on Wednesday is set to unilaterally weaken one of the nation’s bedrock conservation laws, the National Environmental Policy Act, limiting public review of federal infrastructure projects to speed up the permitting of freeways, power plants and pipelines.”
7-14-20 The Hill. Grassroots movements are turning the tide against oil and gas. “Conventional wisdom has long told us that we’d be drilling for oil and gas into the foreseeable future and that it was unrealistic to try to keep pipelines from being built. But if this week has made one thing clear, it’s that an end to fossil fuels isn’t so impossible after all.”
7-13-20 WestVirginiaVille. Dear Doug Reynolds: An Open Letter On Your Pro-Pipeline Column. “I read the column you wrote in the July 11, 2020 Charleston Gazette-Mail, headlined ‘No one wins in scrapped pipeline project.’ In it, you lament the recent cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project by Dominion Energy and Duke Energy. …. One would think that the majority owner of HD Media LLC, and the publisher of the Charleston Gazette-Mail—that would be you—would not write a column cheering on natural gas pipeline development and construction without somewhere revealing your financial ties to the natural gas industry. …. For here you have a multimillionaire taking a stand on a controversial pipeline, one that would upend the lives of thousands of families and possibly be a huge climate change setback, and who writes about that in one of the few high-profile media outlets in the state. And then, does not reveal his own business interests that might complicate and extenuate the argument he is making?” [A powerful take-down of entrenched special interests in WV]
7-13-20 NIC Magazine. End of an era? Series of U.S. setbacks bodes ill for big oil, gas pipeline projects. “The unifying factors in all these setbacks were a highly motivated opposition and shoddy regulatory paperwork, according to Josh Price, senior analyst of energy and utilities at Height Capital Markets. He added that both factors were, ironically, enabled by President Donald Trump’s vocal efforts to boost the fossil fuels industries and downplay climate risks. ‘You have environmental justice groups emboldened by the Trump administration’s stance on climate and really dedicating a lot of resources to halting projects through the courts,’ Price said. ‘The second part in this dynamic is some of the hasty work being done at the permitting agencies in the Trump administration. We’ve seen this time and time again, this effort to streamline projects has backfired.'”
7-13-20 Laurinburg Exchange [NC] There is still a silver lining possible here. “What the ‘obstructionist environmental lobby’ actually did was hold off the pipeline long enough that Dominion and Duke could see it was becoming a boondoggle that would have cost them and their ratepayers dearly. The worldwide economic slowdown caused by the pandemic has created a fossil fuel glut that has rolled back the fracking industry. There is increasing evidence that there would not be enough energy demand or natural gas price stability to justify the volume or the cost of the pipeline. Those who fought hard against the project deserve the thanks of ratepayers and the utilities. They saved Dominion and Duke from a doomed investment in energy’s past rather than its future.”
7-12-20 Roanoke Times. Hileman: Why has it taken so long for MVP to get a new permit? “Why has the Corps delayed reissuing NWP 12 to MVP for so long? It is likely the Corps has not been able to find a way to reinstate the permit that will withstand legal scrutiny. Since beginning construction in early 2018, MVP has lost numerous permits as a result of opponents’ successful legal challenges. In a number of these cases, the courts thoroughly rebuked the implicated agencies for failing to justify their issuance of permits for the MVP. For example, authorization from the U.S. Forest Service was deemed ‘silent acquiescence.’ The Corps has assuredly seen the writing on the wall. The magnitude of the delay in reissuing NWP 12 to MVP is a stark indication the Corps never should have granted the permit in the first place.”
7-12-20 WOWK13 [WV]. Inside West Virginia Politics. Two different views of the cancellation: Charlie Burd of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia, talks about the end of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Karan Ireland of the Sierra Club of West Virginia, talks about the end of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
7-12-20 Bloomberg. Environmentalist’s Trifecta of Wins Against Pipelines (Podcast). “Pat Parenteau, an environmental law professor at Vermont Law School, discusses three major victories for environmentalists in one week in blocking oil and gas pipelines, as a court ordered the Dakota Access pipeline to shut down during an environmental review, the Supreme Court refused to reinstate streamlined permitting for the Keystone XL pipeline and a decision by the developers of the Atlantic Coast pipeline to call it quits after years of legal delays. June Grasso hosts.”
7-12-20 Times West Virginian. Mixed Review: Some mourn, others hail demise of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
7-10-20 World Oil. Canceled Atlantic Coast pipeline threatens Marcellus shale’s future. “Appalachia is home to the Marcellus shale, a major driver of the fracing boom that’s driven down prices and helped to make the U.S. a net exporter of the fuel for the first time. Production from the basin was expected to rebound as some U.S. states reopen after pandemic-driven lockdowns. But the region faces pipeline bottlenecks in the years to come, a problem only made worse by the decision by Dominion Energy Inc. and Duke Energy Corp. to abandon plans to construct what would have been a major conduit to fast-growing markets that lie to the south.”
7-10-20 Blue Virginia. One Down, One to Go: There Is No Atlantic Coast Pipeline and There Will Be No Mountain Valley Pipeline. “So the next time you see injustice in your community and someone tells you there’s no use fighting, tell them how Dominion was taken down against all odds. The next time a politician tells you there’s nothing they can do about ‘it,’ remind them of what happened on July 5, 2020. A great place to start would be to take action today, right now, to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). Sign this petition, then post it on social media and ask all of your friends to sign.
7-10-20 E&E Energywire. Court urged to keep door shut on FERC delay tactic. “Environmentalist groups are asking a federal court to remain firm in its watershed decision to bar the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from stalling challenges to pipeline projects, despite the agency’s request for more time.”
7-10-20 NRDC. Pipeline Victories Show the Power of People. “In the fight against dirty energy, local heroes recorded stunning victories in recent days. Their success underscores the importance of a functioning democracy—and is a testament to the sheer power of people.”
7-9-20 The Recorder. Out of Gas. “They had the money and the power, but we had power, too.”
7-9-20 CleanTechnica. Warren Buffett & Pig Poop: Unpacking The Blockbuster Dominion Energy Pipeline Deal. “So what does Berkshire Hathaway want with a bunch of last century pipelines known for large methane leaks and high operating costs? Forbes says, ‘For Buffett, the deal complements Berkshire Hathaway’s existing 16,000-mile pipeline network, thus supporting his bet that natural gas will put the final bullet into coal and will be a mainstay of U.S. power generation for decades to come.'”
7-9-20 News Leader. Halting of Atlantic Coast Pipeline construction brings shock, joy to outdoor enthusiasts. “Lynn Cameron was both shocked and elated with the news Sunday that construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was halted. ‘It was just an act of faith that people could make a difference,’ said Cameron. ‘I guess the efforts of all the people, the methods of opposition, the letters, the data gathering, it just all added up.'”
7-9-20 SELC press release. SELC’s pipeline team reflects on the path to victory.
7-9-20 News Virginian. Letter: Pipeline opponents should continue the fight. “We encourage everyone who got involved in our local fight to be engaged in other pipeline fights, especially those in Virginia. Please support candidates running for office that will support the Green New Deal, reforming FERC and getting money out of politics. Please continue to fight for a cleaner future where we respect private property rights!”
7-8-20 VPM-NPR. How Did the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project Collapse? “This week, host Roben Farzad welcomes Sarah Vogelsong, environment and energy reporter for the Virginia Mercury; and Richard Walker, Founder and CEO of Bridging the Gap in Virginia as they dive into Virginia’s battle for energy.”
7-8-20 Oil Change International. Atlantic Coast Pipeline win was a hard-earned victory. Beware industry and government’s revisionist history. “This victory comes as an enormous relief to people all along the more than 600 miles of pipeline route through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. Farmers, homeowners, small business entrepreneurs — the pipeline fighters who won this rich victory were everyday people whose lives were upended for the past six years just because Dominion and Duke came up with a nifty scheme to enrich their shareholders with guaranteed ratepayer money. Or so they’d hoped. There is little doubt that movements for environmental and climate justice in the U.S. and Canada are turning the tide on a reckless and arrogant industry that has run roughshod over all else for too long. But public statements from the companies involved, as well as from U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouilette, mislead the public about the demise of ACP, as well as the implications for U.S. energy supply. …. ACP failed because it couldn’t be built without violating the law.”
7-8-20 Utility Dive. DC Circuit pipeline ruling could prompt dramatic shift in FERC power sector actions, attorneys say. “The ruling could have major consequences for stakeholders requesting a rehearing from the commission in the gas and electricity sectors.”
7-8-20 Slate. The Pipeline Setbacks Reveal the Perils of Rushed Agency Approvals. “On Monday, federal courts dealt major setbacks to the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. The two decisions came directly on the heels of an announcement that energy utilities were abandoning another high-profile project: the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would have crossed beneath the Appalachian Trail. Together, these developments amount to a stunning victory for environmental advocates and tribes who have long challenged these projects in court, and are just the latest roadblocks to the Trump Administration’s “energy dominance” agenda, which has sought to expedite fossil fuel projects in an era of climate change. But, how, exactly did this all come to pass, and back-to-back-to-back at that? The reason the pipelines have faltered is mainly due to legal errors and injudicious project approvals. It’s a bureaucratic failure rather than any kind of policy directive.”
7-8-20 Slate. Why It Took So Long to Defeat the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was a planned underground highway of natural gas, meant to cover 600 miles across the South. Activists were hugely worried about the environmental impact of the pipeline, so their strategy was to block every attempt to get it built. They tried to keep pipelines away from the Appalachian Trail. They argued that construction of the pipeline put endangered species at risk. They filed lawsuits. All this work slowed the pipeline down, but what no one was expecting was what happened this weekend: After six years of legal fights, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy, the companies behind this pipeline, announced that the whole thing was canceled. How did this victory happen? And can it be replicated? On Wednesday’s episode of What Next, I spoke with Lyndsey Gilpin, the founder and editor in chief of Southerly, a media organization covering ecology, justice, and culture in the South, about the people who dedicated years to successfully busting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.”
7-8-20 Slate. How Activists Brought Down a Massive Gas Pipeline. “Local activists never expected the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to go bust. Now they’re asking each other: How did that victory happen? And can it be replicated? Guest: Lyndsey Gilpin, founder and editor-in-chief of Southerly.”
7-8-20 Virginia Mercury. What sank the Atlantic Coast Pipeline? It wasn’t just environmentalism. Article that digs deep into reasons for the demise of the ACP.
7-7-20 I love Cville host Jerry Miller interviews Richard Averitt about the cancellation of the ACP in Nelson County. The interview starts 19 min. into the recording. For any concerns about the acquisition “The agreement does not include acquisition of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.” The ACP is really and truly dead.
7-7-20 Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley Pipeline’s ‘uphill climb’ gets a little easier. “The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay late Monday of a Montana judge’s decision to ban a fast-track permitting process that allows pipelines to cross water bodies. Mountain Valley needs such a permit — among others — if it is to complete construction of a 303-mile pipeline that has been repeatedly delayed by court challenges.”
7-7-20 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Landowners hopeful, but wary after cancellation of Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Two and a half years after the trees fell, so did plans to build the 605-mile pipeline. Dominion Energy and Duke Energy abandoned the $8 billion project on Sunday after a six-year battle that pitted energy development against environmental protection and property rights in Nelson and other localities in the pipeline’s path. …. ‘In the coming months we will seek approval from FERC and other agencies to complete restoration for areas of the right of way that have been disturbed,’ spokesman Aaron Ruby said Tuesday. FERC spokeswoman Tamara Allen-Young said Tuesday, ‘The commission will consider issues of site restoration as they arise.’ The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality said it will coordinate with other state agencies as plans are developed to restore areas disturbed by the project. ‘We will insist that ROW restoration is completed appropriately and completely without further disturbance,’ spokeswoman Ann Regn said. …. Dominion plans to withdraw about 80 active lawsuits from local courts to condemn property for the pipeline right of way, but the company hasn’t decided how to deal with the easements it already obtained through agreements with landowners or eminent domain. ‘We will evaluate the best way forward for resolving easement agreements with landowners,’ Ruby said. ‘They will, of course, keep any compensation they’ve received.’”
7-7-20 News & Advance. ‘A thorn in their side’: Nelson County stands out in its fight against now-canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Were bets allowed in this fight, oddsmakers would have made the ACP the overwhelming favorite. And yet Nelsonians against the pipeline that had been slated to cross about 27 miles of their county came out victorious Sunday, as ACP officials announced their decision to abandon the interstate energy project. ‘It’s like an ant going against the elephant,’ said Harvey, who also serves as chairman of the Nelson County Board of Supervisors. ‘But it just goes to show you that persistence pays off.’ Other localities along the planned 600-mile route through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina joined and remained in the yearslong fight, which began half a decade ago with the project’s proposal. But in Virginia, Nelson County’s pluck, and the commitment of opposed individuals and groups to fight the pipeline and everything associated with its majority partner Dominion, have been unique.”
7-7-20 Appalachian Chronicle. ‘Pray and Delay’ v. Dominion, Duke. “[T]he ACP ran into a collection of mountaineers determined to hold onto their homesteads, public health experts, ecologists, environmental groups, lawyers and scores of unnamed but very determined human beings that refused to roll over for Dominion and Duke. They understood from the first day that the companies pushing fracking and related pipeline development on unsuspecting citizens cared nothing about property rights, public health or the environment.”
7-7-20 Bacon’s Rebellion. What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been. “Thus, the stage was set for one of the nastiest environmental and property rights battles in Old Dominion history. It centered around the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that would run from Harrison County, W.Va. across the rugged Appalachians, down through some of the most peacefully bucolic land in the Virginia., to Union Hill, a mostly African-American community in Buckingham county and on into North Carolina, running through the Tar Heel state’s mostly African-American concentration along its northeastern border with Virginia. In other words, the project partners were targeting people, some of whom were poor minorities, unused to big industrial projects and legions of overpriced lawyers.”
7-6-20 The New Republic. The People Killed the Pipelines. “The Dakota Access and Atlantic Coast pipelines fell because community members fought for their right to a safe, pollutant-free home.”
7-6-20 Charlotte Observer. ACP was a pipeline to the past. Now we can focus on a renewable energy future. “What the ‘obstructionist environmental lobby’ actually did was hold off the pipeline long enough that Dominion and Duke could see it was becoming a boondoggle that would have cost them and their ratepayers dearly. The worldwide economic slowdown caused by the pandemic has created afossil fuel glutthat hasrolled back the fracking industry. There is increasing evidence that there would not be enough energy demand or natural gas price stability to justify the volume or the cost of the pipeline. Those who fought hard against the project deserve the thanks of ratepayers and the utilities. They saved Dominion and Duke from a doomed investment in energy’s past rather than its future.”
7-6-20 NPR.org. Court Rules Dakota Access Pipeline Must Be Emptied For Now. “A federal judge has ruled that the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline must be emptied for now while the Army Corps of Engineers produces an environmental review. In a decision posted Monday, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said that it was clear shutting down the pipeline will cause disruption. But he said that ‘the seriousness of the Corps’ deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow’ during the estimated 13 months it will take to complete the environmental impact statement. The court vacated the Corps’ decision to grant federal approval for the project, and will require the pipeline to be emptied within 30 days.” [“The Court ORDERS that: 1) The Mineral Leasing Act easement authorizing the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the Missouri River at Lake Oahe is hereby VACATED; and 2) Dakota Access shall shut down the pipeline and empty it of oil by August 5, 2020. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 7/6/2020.”]
7-6-20 Virginia Mercury. Delays, legal challenges allowed the curtain to be pulled back on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “[W]hen I first started covering the pipeline project four years ago, more or less by newsroom accident at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, I was actually skeptical of many of the arguments against the project. I knew next to nothing about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, utility regulation or the handsome rate of return such pipeline projects were guaranteed to deliver to investors. I assumed it would be difficult for a consortium of energy companies to use the extraordinary power of eminent domain to grab land from people absent a compelling public need argument. Or, as I may have actually said at one point back then: ‘They wouldn’t be building a pipeline if no one actually needed the gas, right?’ I had a lot to learn.
7-6-20 Bloomberg. Grim Day for Pipelines Shows They’re Almost Impossible to Build. “To be an energy superpower, U.S. oil and natural gas requires a suitably gargantuan pipeline network that stretches for millions of miles. The country’s ability to expand that infrastructure is being tested like never before. In the span of less than 24 hours, a court ordered the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline to shut down and the developers of the Atlantic Coast gas conduit said they were canceling the project. It was a deluge of bad news for an industry that’s increasingly finding that the mega-projects of the past are no longer feasible in the face of unprecedented opposition to fossil fuels and the infrastructure that supports them. …. ‘I would expect this to be a turning point for new investment,’ said Katie Bays, co-founder of Washington-based Sandhill Strategy LLC. ‘There is real investor fatigue around this parade of legal and regulatory headwinds to energy projects.’”
7-6-20 News & Advance. ‘We won the impossible fight’: Nelsonians react to news of Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s demise. “Half a decade of their lives were devoted to fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. As news of its demise broke Sunday, those dedicated to the anti-pipeline cause in Nelson County were overcome with emotions.”
7-6-20 NC Policy Watch. PW exclusive: The death of a pipeline. “On Independence Day weekend, when most people weren’t tuned in to the news, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy jointly announced that they were cancelling the ACP. Since 2014, the utilities had been pursuing the pipeline, which would have started at a fracked gas operation in West Virginia, routed through Virginia and traversed 160 miles in eight counties in eastern North Carolina. Here, in its path were communities of color, tribal lands and low-income neighborhoods. Questions linger about how a project of this magnitude — $8 billion and 600 miles long — will be undone. But pipeline opponents view the utilities’ decision as an acknowledgment that sometimes regular, working-class people can prevail.”
7-6-20 E&E News. Supreme Court restarts key Army Corps permit, but not KXL. “The Supreme Court today allowed the Army Corps of Engineers to resume using its streamlined water-crossing permit for the construction of new oil and gas pipelines, but it excluded the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The high court accepted a request by the federal agency to lift a court-ordered freeze on its Nationwide Permit 12 program for authorizing dredge-and-fill activities for new pipeline projects across the country.”
7-5-20 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Dominion cancels Atlantic Coast Pipeline, sells natural gas transmission business. “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is dead, abandoned by Dominion Energy and its partner, Duke Energy, after the $8 billion project reached a regulatory dead end. The decision, announced Sunday, ends a six-year effort to build the 42-inch-wide natural gas pipeline through the heart of Virginia to connect gas shale fields in West Virginia with markets in southeastern Virginia and eastern North Carolina. Thwarted by environmental groups repeatedly in the federal courts, the project was more than three years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over budget, with no clear path to completion after federal courts in Montana threw out a nationwide federal water quality permit that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline relied upon to cross hundreds of bodies of water in its path.”
7-5-20 Wall St. Journal. Companies Cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline After Years of Delays. “The builders of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are pulling the plug on the project as companies continue to meet mounting environmental opposition to new fossil-fuel conduits. Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Energy Inc. said Sunday they were abandoning the proposed $8 billion pipeline—which aimed to carry natural gas 600 miles through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina and underneath the Appalachian Trail—citing continued regulatory delays and uncertainty, even after a favorable Supreme Court ruling last month.
7-5-20 Virginian-Pilot. Dominion canceling controversial natural gas pipeline across Virginia. “Dominion Energy is pulling the plug on its controversial plan to build a natural gas pipeline crossing Virginia. The decision comes in tandem with a major strategic shift out of the energy giant’s multi-billion-dollar investment in a gas transmission business with operations as far away as Wyoming.”
7-5-20 Virginian-Pilot online. Pipeline canceled. “Restoring rights of way where Dominion has been clearing trees and resolving pending disputes with some landowners along the route will be the work of the next several months. Dominion officials do not expect to ask landowners to return compensation payments already made for use of their property. Opponents of the project said its abandonment was a major victory.”
7-5-20 Charleston Gazette-Mail. Energy companies abandon long-delayed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
7-5-20 CNN Business. Berkshire Hathaway will buy natural gas assets from Dominion Energy in $10 billion deal.
7-2-20 Roanoke Times. Little: Northam should halt pipeline construction. “As healthcare professionals concerned about the health of our patients, our communities, and our planet, let us be clear: building out fossil fuel infrastructure that is neither safe nor needed is a bad idea. Building it in the midst of a pandemic that is disproportionately harming racial and ethnic minority communities is an even worse idea. …. The CEO of MVP’s parent company assured investors on a May 14 earnings call that ‘as soon as’ the federal stop-work order is lifted, probably in July, ‘we will fully mobilize and get upwards of 4,000 people right [a]way’. Bringing 4,000 out-of-state workers into our vulnerable communities poses significant health risks to Virginians.”
Note: This page contains news articles from the past two months. For older news articles regarding Friends of Nelson, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, anti-pipeline advocacy, and pipeline-related news, please visit our archived news pages using the drop-down menu on the In the News tab.