November 2014 News

11-30-14 HoCo Climate Change [Howard County MD]:  Dominion is not to be trusted. “Dominion has agreed to comply with an administrative consent order after West Virginia’s environmental regulators cited multiple water pollution law violations spanning nine waterways in three counties following a string of gas and oil pipeline investigations over three years. Brian Sheppard, vice president of pipeline operations for Dominion Transmission, signed an agreement to comply with the order Oct. 20. Final approval is pending public comment.” In his prepared statement commenting on the order, Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle said, “Dominion works hard to comply with all environmental rules and regulations. In this instance, Dominion did not meet its own expectations….”

11-28-14 Staunton News Leader: Dominion in trouble for water pollution. “Dominion Transmission Inc. is being cited by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for sediment pollution due to the Dominion G-150 pipeline, dating back to Oct. 2012…. Waterways identified in the 22-page order included Dry Fork, Sims Run, Little Tribble Creek, Grave Creek, Leach Run, Grave Creek, Bartletts Run, Little Toms Run and Middle Run. Currently Dominion is looking to build a $4 billion 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina, passing through Augusta County.” Why should we trust Dominion to install a 42″ pipeline without similar issues? Why should we believe Dominion when they say regulations ensure that our water will not be polluted?

11-28-14 Roanoke Times: Letter: Gas pipeline would sacrifice the needs of the many for the profit of the few. Letter about the Roanoke Times 11-23 editorial. “The editorial completely misses the distinction between a public works project that provides a tangible benefit – think roads, water mains and even power lines – to the people whose land they traverse and a device designed to generate money for the privileged few.”

11-28-14 Pocahontas Times [WV]: Property rights focus of GRWA pipeline meeting. A handout at the November 14 Greenbrier River Watershed Association meeting says, “A pipeline company’s right to survey must be backed by a legal document. If the surveyor cannot produce a document, you do not have to let him or her onto your property. There is a statute in West Virginia that addresses surveying by corporations that are seeking the power of eminent domain. That statute, contrary to what you may hear from pipeline representatives, allows surveying only for projects determined to be for public use, a determination that has not been made by a West Virginia court for the ACP pipeline. If a pipeline representative asks you to sign a document allowing it onto your property, do not do so until you obtain legal advice.” [Note that this article discusses West Virginia law.]

11-26-14 WSET-TV [Lynchburg]:  Jobs, Dollars, and the Safety Of Virginia’s Natural Gas Pipelines. Part 2 of WSET’s excellent 2-part coverage. “The Chmura report says once the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is operational in 2019, the number of jobs plummets. From 5-thousand workers [many, including Friends of Nelson, note that very few would be for locals!], to just 39 directly working on the pipeline. Those numbers don’t add up to Constance Brennan, saying ‘You know, it was misleading, I think, in a certain respect because – sure, there may some jobs initially during the construction phase, but after that, what jobs?'”

11-25-14 WSET-TV [Lynchburg]: Virginia Wrestles With Battles Over Proposed Pipelines. Part 1 of a 2-part series.  Chair of Nelson County’s Board of Supervisors, Connie Brennan, “along with many others in Nelson County, is worried about what the construction of the 42-inch pipeline will do to the scenic vistas that make the area popular among Nelson County tourists. She laments ‘A lot of the land through which this pipeline might run is inaccessible at the present time. So what are they going to do, build roads? We don’t know.'”

11-25-14 NBC29.com: Friends of Nelson Group Calls Dominion Pipeline Dangerous. “Friends of Nelson County is voicing its concern about the Dominion Atlantic Coast Pipeline again, this time saying building it could be dangerous. The group says the pipeline will also hurt the region’s water quality and the economy.”

11-24-14 Staunton News Leader: County sets symbolic review process for pipeline. “Some supervisors believe projects like Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline should have to go through local review and approval the way other major construction projects do. Because the pipeline project is not locally permitted or regulated, the board vote would not have any bearing on the utility company’s proposal.”

11-24-14 Roanoke Times: Fracking will not make us free (guest column by L. David Roper, Professor Emeritus of Physics at Virginia Tech). “Tight-oil extraction in the U.S. will peak at about year 2020 and natural-gas extraction in the U.S. will peak at about year 2025, and both will then fall very rapidly. So, neither of them will supply energy for the U.S. for very long after that. U.S. importation of petroleum is high; about 3 billion barrels per year. We have to move very rapidly to other energy sources to achieve energy independence.” So we ask why would the energy companies be spending billions in pipeline infrastructure when the oil and natural gas supply will have peaked and be in rapid decline in 10 or 11 years?

11-23-14 New York Times: Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels. “The cost of providing electricity from wind and solar power plants has plummeted over the last five years, so much so that in some markets renewable generation is now cheaper than coal or natural gas.”

11-23-14 Roanoke Times: Friendly advice for pipeline opponents [Editorial]. “Here’s some friendly advice for those who are opposing any or all of the three natural gas pipelines proposed to come through Western Virginia: You’re probably making the wrong argument and to the wrong people.”  A version of this editorial titled “Little hope in pipeline protesting” appeared in the Charlottesville Daily Progress, 11-27-14

11-20-14 Daily Star (Oneonta NY): Pipeline road maps ignite local officials’ ire. A good point to make to FERC when writing letters … how in the world will our secondary roads and highways handle this? “Stop the Pipeline had argued that the FERC had insufficient information before it when it released the environmental impact statement, as it had no data spelling out how the large trucks would get to the work sites dotting the 124-mile pipeline pathway stretching from northeastern Pennsylvania to the Schoharie County town of Wright.”

11-20-14 WMRA: Landowners Gearing Up For Fight Against Proposed Pipeline. WMRA’s Luanne Austin talks with two Augusta County landowners about how the pipeline would affect them.

11-20-14 Nelson County Times: Dominion seeks to have Nelson lawsuit tossed. “Dominion Transmission has asked the United Stated District Court in Charlottesville to dismiss a lawsuit concerning the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”

11-20-14 NoFrackingWay: Pipeline Companies Can’t Yet Claim Eminent Domain. “Attorney Joe Lovett with Appalachian Mountain Advocates says pipelines can only claim eminent domain, and the right to survey without permission, when they prove their projects serve a genuine public need. He says the pipeline companies in question haven’t done that.”  Listen to the audio from publicnewsservice.org.

11-19-14 Nelson County Times: Dominion: Final survey notices have been sent. “Ninety-seven Nelson County landowners have been given final notice that they could face court action if they do not allow surveyors for Dominion Resources’ planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline on their property.”

11-19-14 Charlotte Business Journal: Dominion heading to court for Atlantic Coast Pipeline survey. Dominion Transmission Inc. has permission to survey about 73 percent of the land for the proposed 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline and is preparing to go to court to survey property where landowners have denied it access.

11-19-14 Nelson County Times: Letters to the Editor. 1) Karen Grecus – Dominion’s real agenda is clear. “Dominion is attempting to appeal to your patriotism, concern for national and energy security and sense of duty as a citizen to allow this pipeline on your land. If you think for a minute that the fracked gas from this project is not headed for global markets and the highest bidder, think again.”    2) Bernard Haxel – Dominion ad is deceptive. “Dominion’s ‘Myth vs. Fact’ ad of supposed facts about the huge natural-gas pipeline they propose to build through our County contains some very deceptive information.”

11-19-14 Roanoke Times: Belleville: Trail guardians worried about pipelines. Opinion column by Laura Belleville, Director of Conservation for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “We are specifically concerned about the cumulative impact of the significant number of pipelines being proposed across Appalachian National Scenic Trail landscapes.”

11-18-14 RBN Energy: 50 Ways to Leave The Marcellus – The Race to Increase Natural Gas Take-Away Capacity. Evidence from an industry paper that it would be crazy for FERC to approve all of the proposed pipelines coming from the Marcellus/Utica shale: “Assuming all the pipeline projects are built, the aggregate capacity of pipelines out of the region could exceed regional production levels as soon as 2018.”

11-18-14 Richmond Times Dispatch: U.S. OKs fracking in GW National Forest. “The federal government will allow a controversial form of energy drilling called fracking in the George Washington National Forest in Virginia, but it will sharply cut the amount of land on which fracking could occur.”  Similar reports appeared in EcoWatch (Fracking Approved in Largest National Forest in Eastern U.S.), Bennington Banner [VT] (Fracking to be permitted in George Washington National Forest), Washington Post (New U.S. Forest Service plan retreats from ban on fracking in national forest in Virginia), Washington Post (Fracking in George Washington National Forest could threaten D.C. area drinking water), Huffington Post (Fracking To Be Allowed In Parts Of George Washington National Forest)

11-18-14 ClimateProgress: Obama Administration Protects George Washington National Forest From New Oil and Gas Drilling. The good news (small but significant): “the U.S. Forest Service announced on Tuesday it will not allow new oil and gas leasing and drilling in the 1.1 million-acre George Washington National Forest in Virginia…. Despite intense pressure from the oil and gas industry, the Forest Service’s final forest plan restricts drilling in the majority of the National Forest, except for 10,000 acres already leased for oil and gas drilling and about 167,000 acres with existing mineral rights.”

11-16-14 Roanoke Times: Eminent domain lawyer to address pipeline issues Monday [Nov. 17] in Blacksburg. “Joe Waldo, a prominent eminent domain lawyer in Virginia, likened natural gas pipeline companies’ tactics to bullying and said property owners might reach a point of having to ask the local sheriff to escort survey crews off their land…In a nutshell, Waldo’s advice to landowners from whom a … pipeline contractor seeks access for surveying is to refuse to grant permission for what would be a federally authorized project until FERC provides the necessary authority by issuing a certificate of public convenience and necessity. In an email, Waldo added, “Furthermore, signing pipeline company documents to allow a survey almost always grants more power to the pipeline company than they could obtain in court.” If a surveying crew shows up anyway, citing state law to justify their access, property owners who have refused permission should call the office of the sheriff, a constitutional officer, and request that the surveyors be escorted off the property, Waldo said.”

11-16-14 TruthOut: Fed Up With FERC: The People Declare Greed “Not in the Public Interest.” “During the first week of November, hundreds of people from around the country flocked to a little-known federal agency on First Street in Washington, DC. Each with their own story of tainted water and air, health problems, fear for their lives and communities, and concern for the climate, they followed a path to the source of their troubles: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).”

11-12-14 WSLS10.com: Study examines economic impact of proposed pipeline in Southwest Virginia. Study cited was commissioned and paid for by Dominion.

11-12-14 Nelson County Times: Two excellent Letters to the Editor: Dominion’s ad was misleading (by Jane Davey, Lovingston), What defines ‘serious’? (by Karen Grecus, Nellysford)

11-12-14 Newsplex.com:  Dominion Gives Final Notice to Survey Properties.  “However, landowners are still not buying plea from Dominion.  ‘It seems like a fairly heavy handed tactic by Dominion to try to intimidate landowners who have previously denied access to surveyors on their property,’ says Ernie Reed, from the Friends of Nelson.”

11-11-14 Richmond Times Dispatch: Dominion sending final notice on gas pipeline surveying. “Dominion Transmission Inc. is giving a final notice to 189 property owners in Virginia that the company will sue unless the owners permit surveying on their land for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.”  Variants of this story appeared in the Charlottesville Daily Progress (Dominion sending final notice to landowners who won’t let it survey land for pipeline), the Waynesboro News Virginian (Dominion sends final survey letters to property owners), and the Lynchburg News Advance (Dominion sending final notice on gas pipeline surveying).

11-11-14 McClatchyDC.com: Appalachia gathers dissent to gas pipeline bound for eastern N.C. “I understand and appreciate that this new fuel source is important for our entire country. But this isn’t the government stepping in for the greater good; Dominion will make billions of dollars with this gas and foul thousands of citizens’ properties.”

11-11-14 News-Observer [Raleigh NC]: Dominion sends letters to NC land owners who won’t cooperate on gas pipeline. “Dominion Energy said Tuesday it sent letters to 226 land owners in North Carolina and two other states who have refused to allow the company to survey their land for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline route. The Richmond, Va.-based company said the letters are a final attempt to get the land owners to cooperate before Dominion seeks court orders to gain entry onto the properties to conduct survey work.”

11-11-14 Staunton News Leader: Dominion notifies uncooperative landowners. Dominion lawyers say they will seek legal action for uncooperative landowners. “If granted the permit for the pipeline, Dominion could force the sale of property or land-use rights through eminent domain.”

11-10-14 Cavalier Daily: Down with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Landowners in the path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline oppose its construction because they believe it is an unacceptable disregard for their rights as property owners…. The problem is that this pipeline will bring significantly more harm than benefit to Virginia communities.”

11-9-14 Nelson County Times: State grant helps residents initiate cleanup of Upper Rockfish River. “In January, the [Thomas Jefferson Water and Soil] Conservation District received a grant through the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to implement a clean-up project for the south and north forks of the Rockfish River and a portion of the river’s main stem. The project is paid for through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act.” This grant is for the same area where Dominion wants to build a pipeline!

11-9-14 Roanoke Times: Pipeline opponents seek to influence FERC decision. “The meeting centered primarily on the limited rights of Virginia landowners confronting the possibility of the pipeline route traversing their property.” and “Lovett [executive director of West Virginia-based Appalachian Mountain Advocates] acknowledged, though, that the pipeline opposition has impressed some observers familiar with the FERC process. He said that during a recent conversation with a former FERC lawyer, she said the early and vigorous groundswell of opposition to three proposed natural gas transmission pipelines in Virginia has been unique.”

11-9-14 Roanoke Times: Landowner rights vs. public need in battle over pipeline route. “Possible arguments [for landowners] could include that the construction would be an unlawful condemnation by a private energy company for the benefit of private parties [company profits]”

11-9-14 Roanoke Times: Pipeline is dangerous and won’t benefit Virginia (Opinion piece by Dick Bauman). This piece is specifically about the Mountain Valley pipeline, but makes many points relevant to the ACP: risk of well pollution, damage to homes and property, loss of property value, few local jobs.

11-8-14 Staunton News Leader: Dominion ad rhetoric posing as argument (Letter to the Editor). “Dominion’s Nov. 6 full-page ad is a model of rhetoric posing as argument. It uses diversion and weasel words for calculated deception.”

11-7-14 Staunton news Leader: Pipeline opponents meet with federal officials. “Members of the Augusta County Alliance spoke for 45 minutes with the chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and staff members of the agency, which will handle the permit application Dominion has submitted for the $5 billion project.”

11-7-14 BlueVirginia: Dominion Virginia Power says its 30 MW Solar Partnership Program likely to top out at “13 or 14” MW. A blog post on Blue Virginia about Dominion’s problems with their solar installations. How could it be possible it costs Dominion nearly twice as much to install solar than the private sector? The lesson seems to be that customers are doing a better job installing solar than Dominion is.

11-6-14 FrackCheckWV: Dominion Atlantic Coast Pipeline with Collection Header in WV & PA. “Dominion Submits Pre-Filing Request to FERC for $500M Supply Header Project.”

11-5-14 Nelson County Times:  Dominion pre-files to begin pipeline review process.  “Locally, the project has seen much opposition.”

11-4-14 Staunton News Leader: Dominion, stop the deception (letter to the Editor). “It appears that Dominion prefers there to be no discussion whatsoever of its impending mass-seizure of county residents’ family farms and homes. This is apparent by Dominion’s massive public relations presence attempting to paint all opposition as hostile and dangerous.”

11-4-14 Dominion Asks FERC To Begin Environmental Review Of Supply Header Project. (Dominion’s press release about their FERC filing.)  The supply header would feed the ACP.  “The Supply Header Project is to be built and operated by the company’s Dominion Transmission subsidiary. It would provide an additional 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day of firm transportation between the facilities of Dominion Transmission and the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, primarily through looping along existing pipeline rights of way and additional compression at existing stations. In doing so, the Supply Header Project would increase access to natural gas supplies from the Marcellus and Utica basins – and other upstream sources – to Virginia and North Carolina end users.”

11-3-14 E&E [Environment & Energy] Publishing: FERC faces heightened scrutiny as gas projects proliferate. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission these days is drawing a crowd of companies promoting projects linked to the U.S. natural gas boom and protesters who say the agency blithely greenlights too many pipelines, export terminals and other gas infrastructure.”

11-3-14 Richmond Times Dispatch: Dominion asks U.S. to start review of Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Energy provider Dominion Resources Inc. is asking federal regulators to begin their environmental review of a proposed $5 billion pipeline that would deliver natural gas to the Southeast.”

11-2-14 Waynesboro News Virginian: Pipeline protesters urge more research. “Saturday turned wet and chilly near mid-afternoon, but that didn’t put a damper on a protest rally against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project that would go through Augusta County.”

11-1-14 Charlottesville Daily Progress: Virginia taps natural resources to drive tourism. “A state tourism plan released last year by PricewaterhouseCoopers said outdoor recreation and the development of the state’s natural resources remain key drivers for the future of tourism in Virginia.” A swath of destruction for a 42″ pipeline – what effect would that have?

11-1-14 Charlottesville Daily Progress: Pipeline not a positive for this area (Letter to the editor – scroll down to 2nd letter on page). “The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline will not provide economic benefits to the Commonwealth, either short-term or long-term.”

11-1-14 Staunton News Leader: Pipeline opponents rally despite weather. “More than 100 protesters turned out in Saturday afternoon’s bone-chilling wind for a “No Pipeline Rally” staged at Constitution Park by the Augusta County Alliance.”

11-1-14 Newsplex.com: Citizens United Against Dominion Pipeline Plans. “Very concerned and even some angry residents attended a rally Saturday standing against Dominion Power and proposed plans to build a 42-inch pipeline through Augusta, Buckingham and Nelson counties.”

11-1-14 NBC29.com: Natural Gas Pipeline Protestors Drum up Support in Waynesboro. “The rally comes on the heels of Dominion Resources taking the next step toward getting federal approval for the project. The company pre-filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, Friday. Now, opposition groups want the public to know they can start weighing in as early as next week.”

11-1-14 WHSV.com [Harrisonburg]:  Landowners Continue Rallying Against Pipeline.  At the start of November, dozens of people in Augusta County braved the cold weather to rally against Dominion’s proposed pipeline. A rally was held on Nov. 1 at Constitution Park in Waynesboro.

11-1-14 The State Journal [WV]: Gas ‘boom’ yields rocky employment data. “1,800 [construction] jobs will only be around during the two-year construction phase of the project. ‘Construction jobs are always temporary,’ said Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Union and chairman of the Oil and Natural Gas Industry Labor-Management Committee. ‘The project starts then it finishes, jobs start and end with a project.’