September 2014 News

9-30-14 Newsplex.com: Nelson County Residents Suing Dominion to Stop Gas Pipeline. Five people in Nelson County are suing Dominion Transmission, Inc., trying to stop a gas pipeline from being put in their backyards.

9-30-14 Power for the People VA: Why Can’t I Buy Solar? “My local monopolist, Dominion Virginia Power, sells only one electricity product: a mix of coal, nuclear, and natural gas…. There are thousands of Virginians like me who want renewable energy and are willing to pay for it. If our utilities don’t want to build it, they should step aside and let customers do it.”

9-30-14 Portland [ME] Press Herald: LePage [Maine governor] urges federal regulators to fast-track natural gas. Fast track legislation for natural gas pipelines, which has already passed the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, would require FERC to rule on natural gas permits within one year. Failure to do so would result in automatic approval. The bill is HR 1900, and Congressman Robert Hurt voted for the legislation.

9-30-14 ThinkProgress.org: The Explosive Debate Over A New Natural Gas Pipeline Through The Northeast  ‘ “On the benefits side, I found zero benefits,” [a landowner on the route said] “Basically, they’re just passing through my land, and they’ll give me a little bit of money, and that’s it. There are no benefits and a lot of risk.” ‘

9-29-14 Roanoke Times: Utilities have too much power – Laura Berry, columnist. One family affected by both the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines writes “Your property rights have been severely damaged by the General Assembly, all of them, and it leaves us, my fellow citizens, very vulnerable.”

9-29-14 Lancaster [PA] Online: Pipeline company makes offers, up to $65,000, to property owners along proposed route. This story about a different pipeline in Pa. makes some very important points – refuse survey and refuse to negotiate. Why do pipeline companies make offers before the project is approved? “Early property acquisition basically locks in the company’s preferred route,” [Carloyn Elefant, a former FERC attorney who now represents citizens groups] said, “and forecloses meaningful consideration of alternatives as required by National Environmental Policy Act … One of the criteria that FERC evaluates in determining whether to approve a project is impact to landowners. If landowners voluntarily agree to a negotiated easement, FERC will find that they are not adversely impacted. [emphasis added] In addition, by getting landowners to commit to a route up front, the pipeline guarantees that its preferred route will be approved. So for example, if pipeline can acquire negotiated easements for all properties along pipeline Milepost 1- 2, and other owners between MP 2 and 2.5 argue for the pipeline to be moved a mile north or south, the pipeline company will say – we can’t do that – the move will adversely impact other owners and we already have the property rights for this route.”

9-28-14 Staunton News Leader: Unwise pipeline calls for people power – Robert N. Whitescarver, columnist. “The pipeline should not be built. It’s dangerous and the people don’t want it…. The immediate call to action to stop this unwise pipeline and prevent this corporate take over is to inform the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline should not be built.”

9-27-14 Washington Post: Nation rushes to embrace natural gas and fracking despite risks to environment – Robert McCarthey, columnist. “Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s attitude toward natural-gas ‘fracking’ seems to depend on whether it occurs somewhere that would be politically inconvenient for him.”

9-27-14 TidewaterNews: Questions asked, answered about pipeline (Franklin VA)

9-26-14 CFact: Yes to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, No to Eminent Domain. Friends of Nelson includes members with different perspectives. Some people may support the pipeline in concept, but oppose Dominion’s legal right to use eminent domain to take landowner’s property. This position is consistent with our goal, stopping the pipeline in Nelson County, since the vast majority of landowners here have made it clear that they are not interested in negotiating with Dominion for this pipeline. This article discusses possibilities that would allow the pipeline to go forward, without forcing unwilling landowners to give up their property.

9-26-14 Lynchburg News Advance: Hurt remains neutral on Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Hurt’s opponents in the Nov. 4 elections, meanwhile, are aligning in opposition to the proposed 550-mile natural gas pipeline that could cross through 13 Virginia localities, including 35 miles of Nelson County.”

9-26-14 Smithfield [NC] Herald: Landowner says no to pipeline. Letter to the editor from a NC property owner in the pipeline’s path.

9-25-14 Raleigh [NC] News Observer: Johnston County [NC] landowners get glimpse of natural gas pipeline route. Dominion’s “Open House” process continues along the pipeline route in North Carolina.

9-25-14 CounterPunch.org: Keystone East: Not as Reasonable as Reason Thinks, by Kevin Carson.

9-25-14 Waynesboro News Virginian: Supervisors make renewed request for pipeline route. “The Augusta County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to ask Dominion Resources to disclose the county landowners affected by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route 90 days before the utility files for the project with federal regulators…. Also Wednesday, a letter was to be signed by Board Chairman Larry Wills and sent to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe asking him to meet with the board about the pipeline.”

9-24-14 Blue Virginia:  Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s “Sacrifice Zones”    “For years, low-income and minority areas have been targeted to benefit corporations.”  Dominion’s route through Nelson is no exception.

9-24-14 National Geographic:  Switch to Natural Gas Won’t Reduce Carbon Emissions Much, Study Finds. Switching power plants from coal to gas will make us use more electricity and delay the dawn of renewables, a new study claims.

9-24-14 Rolling Stone: Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire. “…concerned that unsafe pipelines could cause a deadly accident, this manager said that it was more profitable for the company to risk litigation than to repair faulty equipment. The company could “pay off a lawsuit from an incident and still be money ahead,” he said”

9-23-14 Lancaster [PA] Online: Pipeline company makes offers, up to $65,000, to property owners along proposed route. This article makes important points about why property owners should refuse to the survey and refuse to negotiate.

9-23-14 Marcellus Drilling News: Mariner East Pipeline Drilling Spills Mud in Local Creek. While drilling under a creek in PA, the drill bit hit “something solid” [like a rock?] that stopped the drill and caused “drilling mud, often called bentonite,” to leak into the creek as a grey sludge that traveled downstream. (Drilling mud is used to lubricate the drill.) “While non-toxic, a whole lot of bentonite in the water can, of course, suffocate fish and cause problems for wildlife that happen to drink it.” Why is this important? Dominion would be drilling under many, many creeks and streams in our area – all of which are Chesapeake Bay tributaries.

9-23-14 USA Today:  Look out below: Danger lurks underground from aging gas pipes:  Even small cracks or accidents can trigger a destructive explosion.  Scroll down after clicking on the link and enter your zip code to see every gas pipeline incident, death, and injury in Virginia and beyond. Click on the little circles on the map to get a description.

9-22-14 The Guardian:  Heirs to Rockefeller oil fortune divest from fossil fuels over climate change.  Heirs to Standard Oil fortune join campaign that will withdraw a total of $50bn from fossil fuels, including from tar sands funds.  This story also appeared in the New York Times on 9-21-14:  Rockefellers, Heirs to an Oil Fortune, Will Divest Charity of Fossil Fuels

9-20-14 Charlottesville Daily Progress:  Pipeline should have massive economic impact.  Article does not acknowledge that the economic impact study was commissioned by Dominion.

9-19-14 Washington Post:  The coming era of unlimited – and free – clean energy.  “Inexpensive renewable sources will provide more energy than the world needs in less than 20 years.”    “We will go from debating incentives for installing clean energies to debating subsidies for utility companies to keep their operations going.”

9-18-14 WDRB.com [Louisville KY]: Analysis: Existing cracks a cause in Kentucky pipeline blast. “The Adair County natural gas pipeline that ruptured earlier this year, triggering a massive explosion that leveled nearby homes, had ‘pre-existing’ cracks in a weld where the pipe broke, an analysis found.”

9-18-14 Highland County Recorder:  Concerns linger following gas pipeline open house

9-18-14 Waynesboro News Virginian:  Study spells out economic impact of pipeline.  More on the Chmura report commissioned by Dominion.  See also articles below, 9-16-14, from Roanoke Times and Richmond Times Dispatch.

9-17-14 Blue Virginia: Dominion Continues to Frustrate and Obfuscate Nelsonians at Open House.  Report on Dominion “Open House” in Nelson County.  (This is a far more accurate description of the event than any of the news media reports.)

9-17-14 Staunton News Leader: Dominion has underestimated our resolve. (Letter to the Editor)

9-17-14 Nelson County Times:  County’s opposition to pipeline to be considered in application.  “Nelson County supervisors passed a resolution opposing the 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline that would cross through the county”

9-17-14 Bacon’s Rebellion blog: The Huge Controversy Over Gas Pipelines. The blog writer is generally opposed to the pipeline, those commenting generally disagree with the writer’s position.

9-16-14 NBC10:  Report on Dominion “Open House” in Nelson County.  Emphasis on PR info provided by Dominion.

9-16-14 Charlottesville Daily Progress:  Dominion discusses aspects of pipeline project with Nelson residents.  Report on Dominion “Open House” in Nelson County.  (The same article also appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch)

9-16-14 Roanoke Times:  McAuliffe dismays foes of Mountain Valley Pipeline, which runs through Floyd County.  “McAuliffe’s source for the economic development benefits he cited Sept. 2 was a report prepared by Chmura Economics and Analytics of Richmond. The report was commissioned by Dominion.”

9-16-14 Richmond TImes Dispatch:  Proposed natural gas pipeline could have $2.7 billion economic impact.  This report does not acknowledge that the Chmura study was commissioned by Dominion.

9-15-14 Waynesboro News Virginian:  Dominion holds pipeline open house, meets with landowners.  Report on Dominion “Open House” in Augusta County.

9-15-14 Augusta Free Press:  Dominion pipeline event brings out hundreds of Augusta County residents. Report on Dominion “Open House” in Augusta County.

9-15-14 NBS29:  Augusta Residents Share Pipeline Concerns with Dominion Reps.  Report on Dominion “Open House” in Augusta County.

9-14-14 NBS29:  Augusta and Nelson Co. Residents Want Answers about Proposed Pipeline. “County residents and members of the group Friends of Nelson say they have a host of questions they want answered from Dominion….”

9-12-14 Bristol TriCities:  Dominion Resources moves pipeline open house.  Dominion’s Augusta Open House on Sept. 15 moved to Augusta Expo so Dominion can shut out planned citizen rally.

9-12-14 Waynesboro News Virginian: Pipeline meeting moved due to protest plans

9-12-14 BlueVirginia:  “We’re Rural, Not Stupid” Part 1.  The first in “a series of [blog] posts to Blue Virginia sharing letters from Nelsonians which outline their concerns, frustrations and determination to stop the Atlantic Coast”

9-11-14 WHSV.com: City of Staunton Takes Firm Stance Against Proposed Pipeline. “Staunton City Council approved a resolution Thursday (Sept 11) to take a firm stance against the proposed pipeline in the Valley. In an unanimous vote, City Council said they wanted to stand with the other counties, rejecting the pipeline.”

9-11-14 Roanoke Times:  Augusta Supervisors seek greater input on Dominion pipeline.  “Supervisors want Dominion to submit to a mock rezoning in Augusta County…. Supervisors also moved Wednesday night to ask for an audience with Gov. Terry McAuliffe about the pipeline. They are concerned that McAuliffe has endorsed the economic development potential of the project without looking at the impact on communities such as Augusta County.”

9-11-14 NBC29:  Staunton Council Calls for Resolution Opposing Dominion Pipeline.  “Councilor Erik Curren also wants Governor Terry McAuliffe to reconsider his endorsement”

9-11-14 Charlottesville Daily Progress:  Nelson supervisors formally oppose pipeline

9-11-14 Roanoke Times:  McAuliffe: No fracking in George Washington National Forest.

9-10-14 Allegheny Mountain Radio:  Coalition Forms Over Proposed Dominion Pipeline.  “A coalition of 22 organizations from across Virginia and West Virginia has formed the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance. The Alliance formed in response to the September 2nd announcement of the Atlantic Coast Project.”  See also the press release from ABRA.

9-10-14  NBC 29 News  Terry McAuliffe’s Lunch Interrupted in Charlottesville

9-10-14  WINA Morning Show on Pipeline; Kirk Bowers, Chris Lego, Charlotte Rea

9-9-14 Western District of Virginia Law Blog: New Eminent Domain Law May Require Business-Litigation Approach To Condemnation Cases. Mark Obenshain is quoted as saying: “Property owners seeking remedies under the new legislation may petition the state for up to three years’ worth of future profits” which could be based on lost profits. Previously Virginia’s condemnation proceedings measured damage by means of real estate valuations, rather than allowing for recovery of lost profits.

9-9-14 Newsplex:  Major Gas Leak in Free Union Forced 61 Homes to Evacuate.  “They said that there is some type of corrosive action on the pipes and there is a risk down the road of a rupture of some sort”

9-8-14 Washington Post: The dangers lurking below the proposed Virginia pipeline. Letter to the Editor.

9-8-14 MetroNews [Charleston WV]:  Pipeline opposition group [in West Virginia] promises to be vocal

9-7-14 SpeakUpNelson:  Speak Up Nelson’s Updated Letter Writing Request: Write Letters to FERC in Opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

9-7-14 Waynesboro News-Virginian:  Augusta residents learn how to fight the pipeline.  The Sept 6 meeting at the Augusta County Government Center was a tutorial for county residents on how to fight and ultimately prevail against the construction of Dominion Resources’ proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

9-5-14 Marcellus.com: Duke Energy official: Pipeline could expand
One thing that has gotten no attention is that the initial planned capacity for the ACP is 1.5 bcf/d but it can go up to 2 bcf/d BY ADDING COMPRESSOR STATIONS. “If there’s a demand, the capacity could increase to 2 billion … That would be a 33 percent increase. …The increase would not require a new pipeline because the additional capacity would be moved with increased pressure in the line. Only additional compressor stations would be needed to move the gas.” So, this means two things – first, that even if there are no plans to put a compressor station in Nelson, now, there easily could be in a few years. Second – they are building this pipeline bigger than they need to – when they say 92% of capacity is already spoken for, they mean 92% of 66% – which is 61%. So, they plan to take MORE of our property than they need to, based on speculative future profits.

9-5-14 FoN Vice Chair Ernie Reed on Allegheny Mountain Radio, Natural Gas Pipeline a “Game Changer” for Virginia

9-3-14 Forbes: The Popping of the Shale Gas Bubble.  Forbes analyst says, “America’s shale gas resources and reserves have been grossly exaggerated and today’s level of shale gas production is unsustainable. In fact, due the distortions of zero interest rates and other factors, an enormous shale gas bubble has developed.”

9-2-14 Charlottesville Daily Progress: Pipeline changes are for the worse.  (Letter to the Editor) “Recently, Dominion Resources Inc. changed its plans and rerouted part of the proposed path of the 450-mile Dominion Southeast Reliability Project pipeline. This new route through our public lands in the George Washington National Forest promises to be even more destructive than the first.”

9-2-14 ClimateProgress: Dominion Over Nature: Greenwashing Virginia Utility Is Member of Pro-Pollution Group ALEC

9-2-14 Media Releases from partner organizations in response to Atlantic Coast Pipeline announcement:

Southern Environmental Law Center

Augusta County Alliance

Highlanders for Responsible Development

 West Virginia Conservation Groups