August 2015 News

8-31-15  NBC 29.  Horizons Village Protests Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “A neighborhood in Nelson County says it now has proof that Dominion’s proposed natural gas pipeline would wipe out rare plant and animal life.  The neighborhood Horizons Village has hired a firm based in Charlottesville to put together a 67 page survey of the plant and wildlife around them.  Horizons Village brought in a team from the Center for Urban Habitats to survey the ecosystem. They discovered three unique spots on the property including a wetland.  The center describes those spots as a ‘treasure’ because they have sphagnum moss, which indicates a location for pristine water. The group documented more than 100 swamp White Oak Trees, a rarity in this part of central Virginia…. Horizons neighbors are sharing all of this with The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as it reviews the pipeline project.”

8-30-15  Beyond Extreme Energy.  Judge Faults FERC, Acquits Beyond Extreme Energy Activist.  “A member of Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) who was arrested inside the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission building in May and charged with illegal entry was declared not guilty last week (Aug. 20) in a bench trial before Judge John F. McCabe Jr. in D.C. Superior Court.  In acquitting Laura Gubisch, a resident of the District, Judge McCabe chastised the government for how it handled the situation of people wanting to access the main room where commissioners meet, which in the past has been the site of verbal disruptions by members of BXE opposed to FERC’s approval of virtually every gas infrastructure project that comes before it, including interstate pipelines, compressor stations and LNG facilities…. The judge said the government could have handled the situation better, and that people should be given an opportunity to observe without disruption…. After the judge’s ruling, her attorney, Mark Goldstone, said, ‘All citizens should be given an opportunity under the First Amendment to observe their government at a public hearing.  They should not be preemptively deemed to be disruptive and shunted off to an overflow room to watch a public hearing on a TV screen. Laura Gubisch and other climate change activists were able to illustrate the anti-democratic response by FERC, which supports their charge that that agency is a captive of the oil and gas industry and is tone deaf in considering the views of citizens deeply concerned by the hazards of hydraulic fracking on the air and water in communities across the United States.’”

8-30-15  Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Dominion Va. Power Using Rate Riders to Pay for New Plants.  “Little-known fees that state regulators approved for Dominion Virginia Power to pay for power plant construction and conversion projects now account for nearly 9 percent of a typical customer’s monthly bill…. The riders currently approved are paying for the construction of the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County, the Brunswick County Power station, the Warren County Power Station and the Bear Garden Generating Station in Buckingham County, as well as biomass conversions at other facilities.  Although the utility’s base rate provides for a regulated rate of return up to about 10 percent, the riders guarantee a 10 percent return. With the base rate frozen, new riders offer Dominion Virginia Power an opportunity to increase its profitability.”

8-28-15  Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition.  Stream Zero.  “One small stream in West Virginia is at the epicenter of mega pipeline construction in the central Appalachian region. If industry plans go forward, a two-mile stretch of Meathouse Fork and it’s tributaries, Big Isaac Creek and Laurel Run, will be crossed by three of the largest pipelines ever built in the region. The smaller of these, the Stonewall Gathering Pipeline (36-inches and 55 miles long), is under construction. The others, the  Atlantic Coast/Supply Header Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline (up to 42-inches and 100s of miles long), are proposed and currently under review by the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC).  The inevitable impact of these converging pipelines on the environment and people in one small area serves to emphasize the risk associated with the current rush to build more and larger pipelines for shale-gas transmission. Critical questions concerning optimal siting, potential co-location, cumulative impact, and regulatory capability have not been answered. Each project is instead planned and constructed as a separate and independent activity.”

8-26-15  The Farmville Herald.  Property for Compressor Station Purchased for $2.5 Million.  “Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC has purchased about 68.5 acres in Buckingham County to build a 41,000-horsepower gas-fired compressor station for the proposed interstate natural gas transmission pipeline.  The tract is just northwest of the Union Hill community along Route 56, just southeast of Shelton Store Road.  ‘The ACP would cross and connect to an existing Transco interstate natural gas pipeline on the parcel of land,’ said Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle.  ACP purchased the land on Aug. 20 from Variety Shade Landowners of Virginia Inc. for $2.5 million, according to Norvelle…. Kenda Hanuman, a spokesperson for Friends of Buckingham, a group opposed to the proposed project, said she was surprised at the small size of the parcel. ‘We’re obviously distressed about the fact that it is in such close proximity to two churches there, Union Hill and Union Grove. That will have an enormous impact on their ability to have their church there,’ she said…. The proposed compressor station would contain four gas-driven turbines, which combined would provide approximately 41,000 horsepower of compression. The station would include approximately six structures: a compressor, auxiliary, office, utility gas, drum storage and storage buildings, with a security fence installed around the site, Norvelle said…. Hanuman said the ‘toxins that are emitted from the compressor stations and the noise of the compressor stations are going to terribly impact people’s health [in the community].’”

8-25-15  Style Weekly.  2015 Power List: Richmond Economy.  “In an otherwise decent year, Richmond’s business world has experienced rough waters…. Dominion Resources, the state’s biggest political donor, confronts a massive shift in the energy markets and the push for renewables. It also confronts widespread, grass-roots opposition to its plans for a new natural gas pipeline and possibly building a new nuclear unit at North Anna.”

8-25-15  WHSV.  Augusta County Board Hears Atlantic Coast Pipeline Proposal.  “Leaders in Augusta County listened to a presentation from a group claiming they can empower the Board of Supervisors through Coordination. The proposal was presented by the president of ‘Coordination America,’ Joe Guarino.  He says coordination is a process that helps relieve local governments of burdensome federal regulations. In this case, it could give the county government the power to block the pipeline if it’s not a part of their ‘local plans.'”

8-25-15 The News Virginian. Politicians help corporate corruption take place. “I didn’t even know I was doing it. In fact, apparently I was so skilled I performed these acts of kindness in my sleep. Yet somehow I was part of a $10,000 gift to a university that I know nothing about and have never been to. My money also went to a $40,000 donation to a tort reform group, even though that’s not high on my list of priorities. The disturbing thing is that the same goes for each of you reading this column. Basically, Dominion has been charging higher prices for energy in order to use the extra to make charitable donations.”

8-24-15  WAMU, Virginia Public Radio.  Why Offshore Wind Continues to Drag in Virginia.  “The federal government has offered Virginia $47 million to build a couple of turbines offshore, but developing wind energy in the state will be a challenge.  Virginia is blessed with 112 miles of coastline. The water is still relatively shallow 27 miles out, making it ideal for construction of wind turbines, and there’s usually a steady ocean breeze.  ‘Offshore wind blows about 70 percent of the time, whereas in the central part of the country, 30-40 percent of the time,’ says Jon Wellinghoff, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He was appointed by President George W. Bush, continued to serve during the Obama years, and is now a lobbyist for green energy companies.  He doesn’t see Virginia moving forward with development of offshore wind, because it’s expensive and by law, one company — Dominion Virginia Power — controls most of the market.  ‘If we’re going to take advantage of the new technologies that are out there, not just wind and solar but also technologies that can help the grid operate more effectively, can help consumers control their costs, then I think we have to restructure the system,’ Wellinghoff says.  It’s hard to imagine Virginia’s legislature opening the energy production market to competition. If you disregard donations from political parties, Dominion is the state’s largest campaign contributor.”

8-24-15 The Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley Pipeline May Use Controversial Surveying Law, Judge Rules. “Foes of the Mountain Valley Pipeline project suffered a setback Monday when a circuit court judge found that a controversial state law that allows natural gas companies to survey private property without an owner’s permission is not unconstitutional…. Turk said that Virginia statute 56-49.01 allows a natural gas company to enter private property for surveying even if its owner has denied permission as long as the company has followed the statute’s notification requirements. The judge said temporary access for surveying does not represent an unconstitutional ‘taking’ of property without compensation. ‘There’s no transfer of ownership of the property,’ Turk said. The law in question ‘takes away the criminal aspect of trespass, something the Virginia legislature has the right to do.’ he said.”

8-24-15 News Leader. Don’t Fast-Track Pipeline Process, Kaine Says. “U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine sent a letter to federal regulators on Monday questioning whether the process to approve the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was moving too fast for the public to keep up – and if Dominion had done enough work to use existing right-of-ways. He also passed along concerns from constituents about the geology of the region, with wide areas of karst limestone that present unstable foundation for construction projects. And he raised questions key to some in the Shenandoah Valley, like whether there should be any considerations for century farms or businesses like Wintergreen Resort. The long letter, shared by his staff, raises a caution for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – although the veteran politician was careful to not come down solidly against, or in favor of, the project in his missive.”

8-24-15 Commonwealth Times. Locals Protest Dominion on ACP Proposal Anniversary. “A demonstration outside the Dominion Power headquarters in downtown Richmond highlighted the one-year anniversary of Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Aug. 18. The demonstrators marched to the state Capitol building in protest. The event, organized entirely through social media, was called “Hands Across Our Land” and involved participants joining hands in a show of solidarity against the construction of the pipeline…. The resistance to the ACP and natural gas pipelines overall in Virginia has been sustained consistently over the past year, and was visible enough to prompt Sen. Tim Kaine to draft a letter on July 31 to FERC urging major changes to the projected routes.”

8-23-15 The Daily Progress. Customer Bills Paid for Political Donations. “The company’s charitable spending derived from consumers surpassed $1 million in recent years…. The Virginia State Corporation Commission sets the rates regulated monopolies like Dominion charge after reviewing the companies’ expenses, including some donations. Details about those expenses are largely private, but AP obtained specifics about some of Dominion’s giving through public records requests with the attorney general’s office. The company’s shareholders fund donations made by its charitable foundation – $15 million in 2013. But its customers help pay for hundreds of contributions to civic, educational, and religious groups Dominion makes separate from its foundation. For 2011 and 2012, the SCC allowed Dominion to include $1.37 million before taxes in donations as part of the cost of service it charges customers, according to a commission spokesman. SCC staff recently filed testimony saying Dominion should not be able to pass on any of the $3.3 million in donations from 2013 and 2014. SCC staff said “many of the donations madeby the company were too rganizations that conduct political or lobbying efforts” and that Dominion had recorded charitable contributions inconsistently, including in accounts for ‘office supplies & expenses’ and ’employee pensions and benefits.’ Company spokesman David Botkins disputed the SCC staff testimony and said the company will file a detailed rebuttal later this month.”

8-23-15 The Daily Progress. Letter: Pipeline Deleterious to Life in Virginia. The protesters for the NO PIPELINE! demonstration this past Tuesday are not part of any national organization of environmentalists. We are hundreds of citizens across Virginia who are threatened by Dominion Resource’s proposed gas pipeline across our properties and our counties, forests and state. Dominion has poured millions of dollars in publicity to misrepresent the building and running the pipeline to Virginia citizens while also investing millions of dollars to influence politicians, both Democratic and Republican. We cannot match that financial outpouring, so we are left no other way to be heard than through demonstrations and letter writing. There are valid environmental and aesthetic concerns. The pipeline will cut a ribbon 125 feet (about 40 yards) wide through the forests, mountains, people’s backyards and national forests in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The pipe is 42 inches in diameter, (one of the largest diameter for a high pressure gas pipe lines), but building and maintaining and access to it requires much more property than just the pipe itself. There will be other serious problems with the pipeline after it is built. Safety, which has a poor record with fossil fuel pipelines already, will get worse as the pipeline ages. The type of terrain, over steep mountains and ‘V’ shaped valleys in areas which are geologically unstable and subject to flooding, mud and earth flow, creep and slides, is a new untested threat that has not been faced in pipelines existing today. Gas pipelines already have a record of leaks, fires and even explosions. Remember, the gas carried in the pipeline is going through Virginia, not to Virginia. It is going to North Carolina and to a port to be shipped overseas. Either way Dominion stands to earn billions of dollars while land owners in Nelson County and the other counties collectively lose millions of dollars.” (Robert Gardner Wilson, Charlottesville)

8-22-15  Yahoo Finance.  Dominion’s Donations Partially Subsidized by Its Customers.  “Virginia residents have been billed tens of thousands of dollars to pay for donations the state’s most powerful electricity company has made to politically connected charities, according to company records obtained by The Associated Press.”

8-22-15 The Virginian-Pilot. Dominion Power Turning Customers’ Bills into Politically Connected Donations. “Virginia residents have been billed tens of thousands of dollars to pay for donations the state’s most powerful electricity company has made to politically connected charities, according to company records obtained by The Associated Press. Recent Dominion Resources Inc. donations subsidized by customers include a $10,000 gift to a college that was solicited by a powerful state lawmaker who is also the school’s paid fundraiser, and a $40,000 donation to a tort reform group that pushed for business-friendly legislation with the help of a longtime Dominion lobbyist, the records showed.”

8-22-15 News Leader. Dominion donations partially subsidized by customers. “Virginia residents have been billed tens of thousands of dollars to pay for donations the state’s most powerful electricity company has made to politically connected charities, according to company records obtained by The Associated Press. Recent Dominion Resources Inc. donations subsidized by customers include a $10,000 gift to a college that was solicited by a powerful state lawmaker who is also the school’s paid fundraiser, and a $40,000 donation to a tort reform group that pushed for business-friendly legislation with the help of a longtime Dominion lobbyist, the records showed. Adding the cost of certain charitable contributions – though not lobbying expenses – to electricity consumers’ monthly bills is legal under longstanding and little-noticed regulatory rulings. The practice is not unique to Virginia, though it’s barred in some states. Dominion, the state’s largest electricity utility, has passed well over $1 million dollars in donations onto consumers in recent years.”

8-21-15  Richmond Times-Dispatch.  New Variations on Pipeline Route Swing Closer to Yogaville.  “A potential new route for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would swing closer to Yogaville and its sacred sites, bringing it within 3,400 feet of the Light of Truth Universal Shrine south of the James River in Buckingham County, according to the community’s leaders.  Dominion Transmission Co., the leader of the company proposing to build the 42-inch-wide natural gas pipeline, confirmed that it had shared a route variation with Yogaville leaders in response to a request by federal regulators, but said it does not intend to formally propose the route.  Instead, the company said it will propose another variation that would move the route slightly closer to the spiritual community to avoid wetlands south of the river.”

8-21-15 Blue Virginia. Grassroots “Hands Across Our Land” Action Against Fracked Gas Pipelines a Huge Success. Opinion blog.  “Communities in Texas, Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina participated in a grassroots action called Hands Across Our Land on Tuesday, August 18. Planned and organized by the Nelson County anti-pipeline group, Free Nelson, 35 actions were held promoting solidarity and unity among local communities facing the threat of industrialization by the energy industry with its fracking wells, pipelines, compressor stations and LNG export facilities.”

8-21-15 Augusta Free Press. Letter: Where is Mark Warner on the pipeline? “Sen. Mark Warner recently visited Charlottesville to participate in an employment discussion. He agreed to meet the prior evening with representatives from nearby counties regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Pre-meeting, he granted an interview where he stated that he remains neutral on the pipeline and prefers to wait until a final route is announced. While I am pleased that he took an opportunity to listen to concerns from key individuals in communities impacted by the proposed pipeline, I am concerned that he failed to offer sufficient support to constituents in impacted communities. The majority of opposition to the project surrounds constitutional property rights; and negative safety, economic, and environmental impacts. Using Nelson as an example, Dominion’s own assessment of the current route cites more than 90% as high risk for landslides, and nearly 90% as having ‘re-vegetation’ concerns. If an interstate highway project were proposed with such staggering numbers, would we want our representatives to remain silent until the final permits are applied for? Wouldn’t we expect flags to be raised about such a route, especially if government agencies were to come forward stating that the initial reports filed were inadequate? The senator’s neutrality on the project has little to do with obligations inherent to his office to represent and protect his constituents. His views about natural gas as ‘clean energy’ or the need for another pipeline through Virginia do not justify insufficient planning, or an ill-conceived route. Who could be neutral toward a highway project with such admittedly poor numbers?” (Letter by Marilyn Shifflett, Nellysford VA)

8-21-15 Lansing [NY] Star. Committee Recommends State Study Large-Scale Gas Pipelines Effects. Based on American Medical Association concerns, NY legislature advises that a study be conducted studying the health effects of large gas pipelines. “The Legislature’s Planning, Energy, and Environmental Quality Committee today passed on to the full Legislature a recommended resolution that would have the Legislature ask New York State to perform an assessment regarding the health and environmental risks associated with large-scale new natural gas pipelines and compressor stations. The measure supports a position taken in June by the American Medical Association advocating legislation to require a comprehensive health impact assessment regarding what the AMA cites as the health risks of such natural gas infrastructure.”

8-21-15 The Daily Progress. W.Va. Pipeline Case Kindles Hope in Local Opposition. “Following a West Virginia ruling concerning the Mountain Valley Pipeline and survey rights, some landowners in Central Virginia say they finally feel like there is hope for their own pipeline fight. Earlier this month, Monroe County Circuit Judge Robert Irons ruled surveyors seeking a route for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would run from West Virginia to southern Virginia, could not enter the property of county landowners who had denied access…. Ernie Reed, president of Wild Virginia, said that was a good thing. ‘It’s really significant,’ he said. ‘Though in a different state, it might bode well with the case involving the Virginia Code.'”

8-19-15 Warner Talks Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Other Topics. “U.S. Senator Mark Warner will not take an official stance on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. He also says the $90,000 his campaign received in contributions from Dominion Resources does not impact his opinion of the project. ‘It doesn’t affect my decision,’ said Warner. ‘I’ve got a lot of folks in Nelson County who voted for me and contributed to me when I ran for governor, when I ran for senator the first time, you know. When I vote on this position, I’m going to do what’s in the best interest for Virginia and the country. The challenge here is maintaining property rights, maintaining the historic nature of a lot of this region, and at the same time recognizing that we’ve got to have a cleaner energy mix.’ He met with people in Nelson County Tuesday evening to discuss the latest on the ACP.”

8-19-15  Blue Ridge Life.  Hands Across Our Land — Protest Against Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “Thousands of people simultaneously sent a signal on Tuesday afternoon that they are united in their opposition to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. In Nelson people lined the stone bridge where the Blue Ridge Parkway meets Skyline Drive over Route 250 on Afton Mountain. The show of support joined people opposing the ACP in Nelson, Augusta and beyond.”

8-19-15  Appalachian Chronicle.  West Virginia Residents in Heart of Fracking Fields Join in National Action.  “About 40 people from all over North Central West Virginia joined hands at 6 p.m. on Aug. 18th over Middle Island Creek, the longest creek in the United States and one that has been severely impacted by fracking and the ongoing construction of the Stonewall Gas Gathering pipeline through four West Virginia counties. They gathered on the ‘Rails to Trails’ bridge that spans the creek at the entrance to this tiny hamlet, which is the county seat to one of the most heavily impacted counties in the United States from fracking.  The residents were taking part in a grassroots uprising that included people from across Appalachia and beyond opposed to the development of further natural gas infrastructure and the related extractive process of fracking. They were joined by citizens in at least nine states, from New York to Oregon, according to Sharon Ponton of Nelson County, Va. and the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, a sponsor of the action. Other sponsors included the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and Beyond Extreme Energy…. Ponton said the goal of Hands Across Our Land is to call attention to the plight of rural communities, to build solidarity and to make connections. She said, ‘Rural America will not be a sacrifice zone for the energy industry in their attempts to put profit before people. These grassroots groups and many others stood up together to protect the watersheds of millions of Americans from dangerous drilling practices, to stop their homes and families’ health from being put at risk, and to use their collective voices to loudly proclaim that their land will not be stolen by the misuse of eminent domain.’ She added, ‘Our elected officials should listen to the people.’  Free Nelson founder and Episcopal priest, the Rev. Marion Kanour, wondered, ‘What could our world become if corporations were guided by environmental and social responsibility rather than greed?’”

8-19-15  The Farmville Herald.  Pipeline Could Move Closer to Yogaville.  “Dominion has confirmed that Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) LLC is studying route adjustments in the northwestern portion of Buckingham County that could see the proposed 42-inch natural gas pipeline move closer to the Yogaville community.  According to Friends of Buckingham, a group opposed to the project, the possible move could put the proposed pipeline about 3,000 feet from the LOTUS, or the Light Of Truth Universal Shrine.  ‘The Wingina Alternate Variation that we adopted moved the pipeline to about [a] half-a-mile away from the Yogaville property line,’ said Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle. ‘Both of the minor adjustments that we are studying would move the pipeline closer to the Yogaville property line.’… ‘Once again, Dominion is offering some very sketchy details as to where they want to place it,’ said Friends of Buckingham’s Kenda Hanuman of the potential adjustments. ‘We feel that Dominion is not our good neighbor. They are not considering business interests, they are not considering people’s well-being [or] their health,’ she said.”

8-19-15  NGI’s Shale Daily.  Delay in FERC Timeline for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Sought by BLM.  “The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has asked FERC to delay the project schedule for the proposed 550-mile West Virginia-to-North Carolina Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), in part because its backers need more time to conduct survey work on federal lands.  According to documents filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, BLM on Monday sent letters to both FERC and Dominion, the project’s largest stakeholder (45%).  In the letter to FERC, BLM’s Dean Gettinger said Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC (Atlantic) had not provided federal agencies — specifically, the Department of Interior’s BLM and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service (USFS) — with enough information to process its right-of-way application. PIpeline sponsors also did not include a plan of development (POD), both of which are required by the Mineral Leasing Act.  ‘Additional survey data must be completed, particularly in the area of geology and soils, and this information must be provided within a timeframe that is reasonable to allow for adequate federal agency review before an EIS [environmental impact statement] is initiated,’ said Gettinger, manager of the Northeastern States District, part of BLM-Eastern States.  Gettinger also told Dominion that the federal agencies still require ‘an evaluation of route alternatives, land requirements, temporary construction areas, construction procedures and schedule, soil erosion and stabilization, resource values and environmental concerns, restoration, re-vegetation, and public health and safety.'”

8-18-15 Foundation for Economic Education. Eminent Domain for Private Gain Is Terrible and Cruel – Even When It ‘Works.’  “Despite a “success” story, eminent domain for economic development is a bad policy…. We have to oppose the collectivistic philosophy that says it is permissible to use coercion against some individuals as long as those in power think they might thereby create a net utilitarian gain for more politically powerful (and usually much richer) interests.”

8-18-15  The Roanoke Times.  Dozens Gather in Charlottesville to Show Opposition to Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “About 50 people gathered Tuesday with signs and mini wind turbines and wearing “No Pipeline” shirts at the Free Speech Chalkboard on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall to show their opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  If approved, the 550-mile-long, 42-inch-diameter pipeline, operated by Dominion Resources and several partners, would stretch from West Virginia, through Virginia and into North Carolina.  The rally was one of many Hands Across Our Land events held in nine states Tuesday.  Free Nelson, a group that opposes the pipeline in Nelson County, came up with the idea for the event. The goals were to get the attention of government officials and the energy industry and show ‘that grassroots activists stand together, united in their efforts to protect their land and communities from the onslaught of new fracked gas infrastructure,’ the group said in a news release on Facebook.”

8-18-15  WKBN 27.  FrackFree Tuesday Protest Coincides with National Action Day.  “In Youngstown, there was a protest against the expanding oil and gas industry in our region. FrackFree Mahoning held signs beside the Spring Common Bridge near the B-and-O Station on Tuesday.  The group says it’s against fracking, drilling, and big oil and gas infrastructure and pipelines in our area. They say it’s a threat to public health and safety.  The protest was part of a national day of action called Hands Across Our Land.”

8-18-15  The Northern Virginia Daily.  Area Residents Protest Dominion Pipeline.  “A dozen valley residents gathered in Front Royal to protest Dominion’s planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Tuesday.  Stephens City resident Maya White Sparks organized the Front Royal march through her organization, Women’s Alliance of Environmental Justice and Renewal.  ‘The time has come to stop using fossil fuels as much as possible, not to be creating more infrastructure,’ Sparks said. ‘And I don’t care if it’s not in my own back yard, I’m concerned about it happening anywhere in the George Washington National Forest.’  Sparks said. ‘You can’t put a pipeline through the park. We have to be guardians, we have to be stewards of what lands have been set aside.’”

8-18-15  KFVS 12.  Pipeline Opposition Holds Demonstration in Richmond.  “People across the country, including right here in Central Virginia, came together to say ‘no’ to two proposed pipelines that would deliver natural gas through Virginia.  Protesters in Richmond gathered at noon at the Dominion Headquarters on 8th and East Cary Street.  ‘We’re in solidarity with all the communities across the state that are fighting natural gas infrastructure coming through our state and communities,’ said organizer Whitney Whiting.  ‘Hands Across our Land’ is a grassroots effort spear-heading the campaign. Demonstrations are also being held in Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina and Oregon.”

8-18-15  WSET 13.  Opponents Stand in Hand Across VA, 8 Other Lands Against Proposed Pipelines.  “Standing on top of the stone bridge over Route 250, the chant of ‘no pipeline, no pipeline’ suffused into the mountainous airs of Nelson County.  More than 100 Nelson and Augusta county residents pushed on with their protests against two proposed pipelines in Virginia. But these demonstrators have neighbors on their mind.  ‘I not only care about my property but also care about my neighbors,’ said Rae Kasdan, of Waynesboro, Va.  This call for no pipeline is called ‘Hands Across Our Land,’ prompting folks to stand united. It includes nine states from New York, Oregon, Ohio, even Texas through the commonwealth with activists speaking out in Roanoke and Buckingham, Augusta and Nelson Counties. Two proposed pipelines, the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines have pathways from West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina.   ‘I think the largest single reason for most of these folks is a protection of a rural way of life and the protection of our property and our constitutional rights,’ Marilyn Shifflet, an organizer for ‘Free Nelson,’ which helped put together the event between Augusta and Nelson Counties near Route 250.”

8-18-15  News Leader.  Pipeline Protesters Take to the Forest.  “‘If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?’ the saying goes.  Anti-pipeline demonstrators at Braley Pond — and across Virginia and the country — hoped so as they took to the woods and farms along the Atlantic Coast and other natural gas pipeline routes for a day of action called ‘Hands Across our Land.’”

8-18-15  NBC 12.  Pipeline Opposition Holds Demonstration in Richmond.  “People across the country, including right here in Central Virginia, came together to say “no” to two proposed pipelines that would deliver natural gas through Virginia.  Protesters in Richmond gathered at noon at the Dominion Headquarters on 8th and East Cary Street.  ‘We’re in solidarity with all the communities across the state that are fighting natural gas infrastructure coming through our state and communities,’ said organizer Whitney Whiting.  ‘Hands Across our Land’ is a grassroots effort spear-heading the campaign. Demonstrations are also being held in Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina and Oregon.  ‘This is important, because the governor, his energy policies right now are pretty much Dominion’s energy policies. [They] are prioritizing hazardous, costly natural gas infrastructure when we  could be investing in renewable. We should be investing in renewable, that should be our new Virginia economy,’ Whiting said.”

8-18-15  WSLS 10.  Southwest Virginia Communities Join ‘Hands Across Our Land’ to Fight Pipeline.  “Groups of people opposed to natural gas pipelines joined hands Tuesday in a coordinated event called Hands Across our Land.  It took place in communities in a number of states, including Virginia. Activists in Franklin, Floyd, Montgomery and Giles Counties came together in a show of support with events Tuesday morning and evening.  ‘We realize that there’s a lot of people in the same situation that we are,’ said Tina Badger, Preserve Montgomery County. ‘That’s the significance. It’s a show of solidarity.’”

8-18-15  The News Virginian.  Pipeline Opponents Assemble at Afton.  “The first car that drove by honked its horn in support. Then another followed. The groups who gathered Tuesday afternoon on Afton Mountain cheered in response, holding out their banners.  ‘Do we want a pipeline? No fracking way!’ they chanted.  People from Augusta County, Waynesboro, Nelson and Rockingham counties all came out to the intersection where the Blue Ridge Parkway runs over Route 250, standing on the bridge and telling people that the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline project is a bad idea.”

8-18-15  WDBJ 7.  Communities Raise #HandsAcrossOurLand to Oppose Pipelines.  “Opponents in several states rallied against pipelines proposed to head through Virginia Tuesday.  They showed up in numbers with plenty of songs to show their disgust with pipeline corporations.  ‘It’s in a show of solidarity where wherever you live, whether it’s personally going through your property or not you should care about this issue,’ said Freeda Cathcart, from the General Federal Of Women’s Clubs.  Several groups lined up at the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parking at the Roanoke and Floyd County line…. They’re hoping the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is listening. It’s up to that agency to decide whether the pipeline should be built. They’re also hoping politicians are paying attention to their opposition.”

8-18-15  NBC 29.  Groups Protest Power Companies at Cville Freedom of Speech Wall.  “A group of people who are against the fossil fuel industry putting infrastructure on private property, made a stand Tuesday evening in Charlottesville.  The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) met at the Freedom of Speech Wall on the Downtown Mall. Their protest is personal; many of them are battling Dominion Resource’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  The protesters are just one of many taking part in the Hands Across Our Land movement in eight different states. Participants are holding hands in solidarity to call attention to the problems rural America can face against fossil fuel companies. Protestors do not want companies like Dominion to build infrastructure on private property.  ‘Dominion wants to force so many property owners to have their large-diameter, high pressure line go through our backyards. And so many homeowners feel deeply violated by this intrusion,’ said Joanna Salidis with Friends of Nelson.”

8-18-15  NBC 29.  Warner Talks Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Other Topics.  “U.S. Senator Mark Warner will not take an official stance on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  He also says the $90,000 his campaign received in contributions from Dominion Resources does not impact his opinion of the project.”

8-17-15 WVTF. Hands Across Our Land Focuses on Property Rights. “Grassroots groups in eight states will conduct coordinated demonstrations against fossil fuel development they say is a threat to rural America. Actions are planned tomorrow, (Tuesday, 8/19) in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia and more. The multi state action called, Hands Across our Land is focused on property rights. An issue that has come into play in Virginia because private companies can build energy infrastructure on privately owned land. The protest actions are focused on opposition to 3 proposed natural gas pipelines that would run through the state.”

8-17-15  The Washington Post.  ‘Hands Across Our Land’ Action Aimed at W.Va., Va. Pipelines.  “Opponents of pipelines delivering fracked natural gas are joining together in Virginia, West Virginia and elsewhere in a show of solidarity.  The collective action will occur Tuesday during what is called “Hands Across Our Land.” In a number of locations, activists opposed to natural gas pipelines will join hands in a show of unity against hundreds of miles of proposed pipelines.”

8-17-15  SFGate.  ‘Hands Across Our Land’ Action Aimed at W.Va., Va. Pipelines.  “Opponents of pipelines delivering fracked natural gas are joining together in Virginia, West Virginia and elsewhere in a show of solidarity.  The collective action will occur Tuesday during what is called “Hands Across Our Land.” In a number of locations, activists opposed to natural gas pipelines will join hands in a show of unity against hundreds of miles of proposed pipelines.”

8-17-15  The Boston Globe.  More Gas Pipelines May Not Be the Energy Answer.  “The biggest issue is this: Adding natural gas pipeline capacity may not control energy costs in Massachusetts. The Baker administration and many people in the energy sector are taking it as an article of faith that the region needs to be able to bring in more gas by pipeline. In the face of high prices and limited pipeline capacity, it would be logical to conclude that increasing supply would cause prices to fall. It might also be wrong.  Yes, electricity prices — tied largely to the cost of natural gas — did rise sharply last winter. But that wasn’t because of the especially harsh weather. Instead, it was chiefly due to the anticipation of high natural gas prices and shortages that never materialized…. Even if we build new natural gas pipeline capacity, it won’t be a benign solution to the region’s energy challenges. It would exacerbate our dependence on a single fuel with a history of price volatility, bias our future energy use towards a fossil fuel that is far from clean, and increase our reliance on a fuel that depends on fracking.  And the belief that added gas pipelines are the best solution to steep energy costs comes at least in part from an attitude engendered by an outmoded regulatory regime. For example, under current regulations, utilities make more money by building infrastructure than by encouraging conservation and energy efficiency. So, of course, they argue for infrastructure.”

8-17-15  The News Virginian.  State Staff Accuses Dominion of Overcharging on Electric Bills.  “Members of Virginia’s Corporation Commission staff believe Dominion Virginia Power overcharged customers on their electric bills. In reports filed with the commission this past week, the staff recommended a $64 million refund for the company’s customers, based on bills from 2013 and 2014.  Every two years, the commission and company have to agree on a specific return on equity during this review, or basically the return on investment for stockholders. The goal is to prevent companies from charging prices that overtax consumers, just to generate more profit. In their reports this week, commission members accused Dominion of exceeding that return over the last two years.”

8-16-15  Nelson County Times.  Pipeline Opposition Groups Join Together Tuesday.  “Groups in opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Mountain Valley Pipeline and Dominion Cove Point Liquefaction plant are coordinating a “Hands Across Our Land” event Tuesday, Aug. 18, in two areas of the county as well as in Augusta and Charlottesville.  Free Nelson organizer Sharon Ponton hopes residents, small business owners, farmers and other community members will stand up ‘for their heritage and culture in rural America.’”

8-16-15  WINA Newsradio.  Pipeline Critics to Rally Tuesday.  “Several groups that oppose the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will rally this week near City Hall. The local coalition will join other pipeline critics for an event called Hands Across Our Land. It’s scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the First Amendment Wall on the Downtown Mall.  The groups say they are fighting new fossil fuel infrastructure that’s forced on private property owners. The participants include The Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club, the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice and of Charlottesville.”

8-14-15  The Washington Post.  In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, a Proposed Pipeline Hits a Sour Note.  “The pipeline Robin and Linda Williams don’t want is a true behemoth, the 42-inch diameter lower bowel of West Virginia’s fracking wells. Known as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, it’s designed to carry up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of methane (that’s Marcellus shale gas in the biz) for more than 500 miles through the Shenandoah Valley, across the Blue Ridge Mountains and over the Piedmont and then the Tidewater to North Carolina, burrowing its way through both public and private lands.  A little more than a year ago, when the Williamses first learned about this joint project of energy giant Dominion Resources and three other regional companies (A letter in the mail says Dominion’s coming through/And they want us to think there’s nothing we can do), the pipeline’s proposed route ran right past their back yard…. ‘The environmentalists don’t like fracking,’ Robin says. ‘They want to see money spent on renewables.’  As for local landowners, ‘Dominion was going to come on land and survey it without permission,’ Linda says, and that didn’t sit well with them.  With both ends of the political spectrum ‘all riled up,’ the Williamses decided to enhance the community efforts not by lobbying or filing lawsuits but by writing lyrics — ones that address the concerns of liberals and libertarians alike.”

8-14-15  Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Singer-Songwriter Carole King Raises Voice Against Natural Gas Pipeline.  “Rock troubadour Carole King has added her voice to a chorus of opposition to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but she’s playing her song directly to the head of the Richmond energy company leading the project.  King, whose 1971 ‘Tapestry’ remains one of the best-selling albums ever produced, penned a two-page letter last month to Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman and CEO of Dominion Resources Inc., owner of a transmission subsidiary seeking to build the 550-mile natural gas pipeline across Virginia to the Atlantic coast.  In the letter, King decried the potential of the pipeline to harm Yogaville, an ecumenical spiritual retreat in Buckingham County that she has supported for decades, and called on Farrell to withdraw the request to build the pipeline.”

8-13-15  The Roanoke Times.  Confusion over Land Access Continues as Pipeline Surveyors Charged with Trespassing.  “For months now, contract survey crews working for Mountain Valley have been out in the field, crossing private and public properties. Their presence has stirred strong feelings among some opponents of the project. Cox said about 125 surveyors are working in West Virginia and Virginia.  Many landowners along the roughly 300-mile pipeline route have granted permission for surveying.  Many have not…. [Many landowners do] not know for sure what time the surveyors would arrive nor where they would attempt to enter the family’s property. That uncertainty complicated the logistics of their vigilance.  They and other landowners barring access for surveying have expressed frustration that they must keep watch to personally bar survey crews before the surveyors complete their tasks.  ‘I should not have to baby-sit my property,’ Frith said. ‘I don’t have time to waste.'”

8-13-15  NBC 29.  State Regulators Say Dominion Charging Excessive Rates.  “Staff at the Virginia State Corporation Commission say Dominion Virginia Power customers should get a $64 million refund for overpaying in 2013 and 2014.  SCC staff filed testimony Thursday also saying Dominion’s company’s base rates are currently too high by about $312 million a year.  An expert witness for the Attorney General’s office also testified last month that Dominion’s rates were excessive.”

8-13-15  Power for the People VA.  For Virginia, EPA’s Clean Power Plan More Like a Powderpuff.  Opinion blog.  “On August 3 the EPA released the final version of its Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration’s effort to lower carbon pollution from existing power plants. It’s a big, complex rule—in large measure because it gives states so many options for compliance—but a few things are immediately clear. One, it’s just as well I never got around to reading the fine print of the proposed plan, because the final rule is practically a do-over. Two, this do-over goes so easy on Virginia that the Republican hissy fit about the proposed rule was (and is) a total waste of time. And three, Dominion Virginia Power’s little ‘rate freeze’ gamble, rushed through the General Assembly this year, is set to pay off big for the company.”

8-12-15  Nelson County Times.  Pipeline Case in West Virginia Kindles Hope in Local Opposition.  “Following a West Virginia ruling concerning the Mountain Valley Pipeline and survey rights, landowners in Nelson county finally are feeling like there is hope in slowing down their own pipeline fight.  On Aug. 5, Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Robert Irons ruled surveyors seeking a route for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would run from West Virginia to southern Virginia, could not enter the property of county landowners who had denied access.  The ruling came just one day after a hearing in Charlottesville concerning the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is planned to run through Nelson County on its way from West Virginia to North Carolina. Though there was no resolution at that hearing in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville, Judge Elizabeth Dillion said she understood the importance of the case.  Ernie Reed, President of Wild Virginia, said that was a good thing because of the recent case in West Virginia.  ‘It’s really significant,’ he said. ‘Though in a different state, it might bode well with the case involving the Virginia Code.’”

8-10-15  Power for the People VA.  Dominion Admits Cost of North Anna 3 Will Top $19 Billion.  Opinion blog.  “Dominion Virginia Power is projecting that the capital cost of a third nuclear reactor at its North Anna facility will total over $19 billion, according to filings in its 2015 biennial review before the State Corporation Commission…. In other words, NA3 is ridiculously expensive.  Dominion had kept its cost projections for NA3 secret until this rate case forced the disclosure. Previously, executives had acknowledged only that the cost would be ‘far north of 10 billion.’  This cost revelation may point to the real reason Dominion pushed so hard for SB 1349, the 2015 legislation that insulates the company from rate reviews until 2022…. Given that Dominion has continued to over-earn, those who opposed SB 1349 assumed it was this year’s version of the 2014 maneuver, designed to protect over-earnings this year and for years to come. Now it appears the real purpose of SB 1349 was to allow Dominion to spend freely on NA3 development costs in amounts that it knew would be unacceptable to state regulators, not to mention the public.  That Dominion thought it could do so in secret is especially reprehensible. Lawmakers and the Governor should be outraged by this deception, whether they voted for SB 1349 or not.”

8-8-15  Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Virginia Solar Power Development Lags Neighboring States.  “One of the country’s fastest-growing industries has largely bypassed Virginia in favor of its neighbors.  Solar power installations, mostly large, utility-scale facilities, are responsible for a $2 billion boost in the North Carolina economy and about 3,000 jobs in Maryland. Even Delaware, with about a tenth of Virginia’s population, saw more solar panels spring up than in the commonwealth last year…. ‘There is no question that Virginia has been slow to adopt clean energy-friendly initiatives in the past,’ Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement emailed to the Richmond Times-Dispatch…. Industry experts worry that weak state policies and Dominion’s incentive to build and own its solar farms at the expense of private solar developers could continue to stifle the market in Virginia, even in the face of the new federal law requiring power companies to reduce carbon emissions with clean energy.”

8-8-15  The State.  Natural Gas Pipeline Sparks Legal Appeals As Unrest Grows in Lower Richland.  “Members of St. Matthews Baptist Church couldn’t believe it when they learned that an energy corporation wants to run a natural gas pipeline through the church’s property in lower Richland County.  The proposal would mean tearing down one church building in the path of the pipeline, the members say. And it would limit the congregation’s plans to build a new family life center next year.  While church members don’t like the proposal, they aren’t sure whether their opposition can change or stop the project. If St. Matthews doesn’t agree to sell access to the land, Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission could condemn the strip of property and take it anyway.”

8-6-15  The Daily Progress.  Screening of Documentary Highlighting Opposition to Proposed Gas Pipeline Set for Sept. 15.  “Won’t Pipe Down,’ a documentary by four students from James Madison University, will have a screening Sept. 15 at the Ivy Creek Natural Area Educational Building in Albemarle County.  The film is about the fight against the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The 30-minute film will be followed by a panel discussion with Elise Keaton, chairwoman of the West Virginia Mountain Party, and Nadia Steinzor, eastern program coordinator for Earthworks.”

8-6-15  The Washington Post.  Judge Bars Pipeline Surveyors from W.Va. Couple’s Property.  “A judge has ruled that the developer of a proposed natural gas pipeline can’t survey a West Virginia couple’s property without their permission.  Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Robert Irons ruled Wednesday that Mountain Valley Pipeline failed to establish that the project would provide sufficient public use to justify entering private property without an owner’s permission.”

8-5-15  The Roanoke Times.  Mountain Valley Pipeline Opponents Win a Round in West Virginia.  “Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia won a round Wednesday in Monroe County when a Circuit Court judge ruled that surveyors seeking a route for the pipeline could not enter the property of county landowners who had prohibited such access…. Virginia law allows pipeline companies to survey without a property owner’s permission if the companies follow notification requirements. The relevant statute in Virginia, 56-49.01, does not require the companies to demonstrate public use. Instead, the Virginia law faces constitutional challenges in both state and federal courts.  After a trial Wednesday morning in Union, West Virginia, Judge Robert Irons said Mountain Valley Pipeline had failed to establish, as required by West Virginia law, that the pipeline project offered sufficient public use for West Virginians to justify entering private property without an owner’s permission for surveying.”

8-5-15  KRGV.  Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Meeting Format Changes.  “Officials with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have changed the format for what’s called a scoping meeting…. Instead of speaking in an open forum, people will speak individually with stenographers, who will take down their comments and then enter them into the record.”

8-5-15  The Washington Post.  US Raises Concerns About Pipeline Through Forests.  “The U.S. Forest Service has raised hundreds of concerns about a proposed natural gas pipeline that would carve a 30-mile swath through national forests in Virginia and West Virginia.  The written comments to federal regulators question why the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has to go through the George Washington and Monongahela national forests and raises similar worries cited by residents along the path of the 550-mile energy project.”

8-5-15  The New York Times.  US Raises Concerns About Pipeline Through Forests.  “The U.S. Forest Service has raised hundreds of concerns about a proposed natural gas pipeline that would carve a 30-mile swath through national forests in Virginia and West Virginia.  The written comments to federal regulators question why the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has to go through the George Washington and Monongahela national forests and raises similar worries cited by residents along the path of the 550-mile energy project…. The Forest Service will make the final decision whether the pipeline is a ‘suitable use’ for the national forests, said Jennifer Adams, special project coordinator for the Forest Service…. On the Atlantic Pipeline, one Forest Service comment questions the “necessity to cross” forestlands in building the pipeline. Speaks wrote that the Forest Service policy does not authorize the use of U.S. forests ‘solely because it affords the applicant a lower cost or less restrictive location when compared to non-NFS lands.'”

8-5-15  News Leader.  Forest Service Questions Pipeline Plan.  “If Dominion thinks U.S. Forest Service lands would make a more convenient route than others for its proposed 550-mile natural gas pipeline, the federal agency has said, not so fast.  In recent remarks on the ACP’s proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Forest Service identified 335 issues that in its view aren’t adequately addressed. One of its concerns:  Why is the pipeline using these public lands at all?  Forest Service policy requires a compelling reason for energy projects to cross its lands; it can’t simply be for lower cost or expediency…. The reason the comments are so powerful is that while FERC can authorize the entire pipeline, only the Forest Service can decide if it will cross public lands.  ‘It’s a separate decision,’ Forest Service spokeswoman JoBeth Brown said. ‘They could be approved for the pipeline, but may or may not be allowed to use Forest Service lands.'”

8-4-15  Appalachian Chronicle.  Appalachian Residents Joining Hands in Opposition to Pipeline Development and Fracking.  Opinion blog.  “A grassroots uprising among people from across Appalachia opposed to the development of further natural gas infrastructure and the related extractive process of fracking will culminate on Tuesday, Aug. 18th at communities in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and beyond in an event being called ‘Hands Across Our Land.’  Sharon Ponton, co-chair of Free Nelson, a grassroots group in Virginia fighting the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), says her organization is one of many planning events for that day. ‘The purpose of Hands Across Our Land is to show solidarity and unity among the hundreds of grassroots groups fighting new fossil fuel infrastructure, whether it’s a pipeline, a well pad, an export terminal or a compressor station,’ said Ponton…. In Nelson County, Va., where Ponton lives, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Virginia’s Skyline Drive join to form one of the most scenic drives in all of the United States. ‘We are standing up for our heritage and culture in rural America,’ said Ponton. ‘We are uniting to stop the industrialization of our communities from companies that put profit before people. Our streams our being polluted, our homes and land are being taken through the misuse of eminent domain, and the health and lives of our families and communities are at risk.'”

8-4-15  NBC 29.  Federal Judge Hears Cast to Dismiss Proposed Pipeline Lawsuit.  “A federal judge is reviewing Dominion Virginia Power’s request to throw out a lawsuit trying to stop the company’s crews from surveying land for a proposed natural gas pipeline.  Five Nelson County property owners argue the surveying steals a fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.  The Afton-area landowners filed this lawsuit in September 2014. Last week, Dominion decided to move the pipeline path away from their properties but the landowners are not dropping the lawsuit, because they say a fundamental right is at risk.”

8-4-15  The Daily Progress.  Opinion/Letter: More Pipelines in Va. Unnecessary.  Letter to the editor by Thomas Hadwin.  “In a February report titled “Natural Gas Infrastructure,” the U.S. Department of Energy, the parent agency of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, concluded that no new pipelines are needed to supply Virginia and the Carolinas. Existing pipelines have sufficient capacity to supply the demand.  The Department of Energy explains how existing pipelines can be utilized to serve higher demand in Virginia. ‘Flow reversal [of existing pipelines] is also projected southward out of the Marcellus to serve markets in the Southeast. Pipelines that currently bring natural gas from the Gulf region to the north are projected to reverse flow so that Marcellus production can serve the Virginia and Carolinas markets.’”

8-4-15  E&E Publishing.  Final Clean Power Plan Shifts Toward Renewables and Away from Natural Gas.  “While Obama and U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy have long embraced natural gas as a ‘bridge fuel,’ the administration kept the focus on renewable power sources like wind and solar during the Clean Power Plan rollout.  That’s because the final rule puts a greater emphasis on promoting renewable energy than the initial draft.”

8-3-15  WSET.  Landowners, Dominion Prepare for Court Appearance over Pipeline Surveying.  “The battle over surveying land for the proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline is about to head to federal court.  Five Nelson County residents filed the suit against Dominion last fall, saying Virginia’s law that allows surveyors to come onto their property without their consent is unconstitutional…. Walters says the surveying isn’t just people walking around with measuring tape and clipboards- it could be damaging to his client’s land, and they should have the right to turn them down…. Tuesday’s hearing will determine whether or not the suit goes to a trial at a later date.”

8-3-15  NBC 29.  National Forest Weighs in on Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “The man who oversees the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest is expressing concern over Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. In a 57-page letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Tom Speaks, forest supervisor for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, outlines what he says needs to be done.  The document details 335 things that Speaks says Dominion needs to address in its resource report of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. ‘Truthfully, the forest service has done an amazing job of doing Dominion’s homework for them. They’ve articulated impacts to golden eagles, cheat mountain salamander, to rivers and mountains and streams that Dominion up until this point has failed to do,’ says Ernie Reed, President of Wild Virginia.”

8-3-15  The Financial Times.  Shale Gas Is Loser in Obama Climate Plan.  “US shale gas is the unexpected loser from President Barack Obama’s climate plan, as the White House abandons its previous enthusiasm for natural gas as a cleaner alternative to coal.  Last year Mr Obama called natural gas from fracking a “bridge fuel” to smooth the transition from polluting coal to emission-free renewable energy. But the shale industry was left reeling by a sudden reversal on Monday.  In its landmark plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the Obama administration eliminated an earlier projection that natural gas would contribute much more electricity, and instead upped the role of renewables.”

8-1-15  Augusta Free Press.  Wild Virginia: George Washington National Forest Weighs in on Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “On July 30, Tom Speaks, Forest Supervisor of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, submitted a report to Kimberly Bose, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)…. The letter includes a 57-page document that points out numerous deficiencies, errors, and inconsistencies in documents submitted to FERC by Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC.  It also enumerates the range of potential effects that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline could have on the George Washington and Monongahela National Forest, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway…. Most importantly the report states that ‘ACP’s discussion should clearly articulate why the project cannot reasonably be accommodated off National Forest Service (NSF) lands.  This discussion should not cite lower costs or less restrictive locations as the sole purpose of crossing NSF lands.’  ‘The GWNF staff has done an excellent job detailing the many problems posed by ACP’s proposal…,’ said David Sligh, the Conservation Director of Wild Virginia.  ‘The Forest Service officials are taking their responsibity as stewards of our public lands seriously, by requiring Dominion to analyze all the threats the ACP poses to our most valued resources. They have given us 335 reasons why this pipeline should not be built.’”