March 2015 News

3-31-15  The Fayetteville Observer.  Robeson County Farmer Has Cautionary Tale for Those in Path of Planned Pipeline.  “Talford Dial has a warning for Cumberland County residents in the path of a proposed natural gas pipeline.  Piedmont Natural Gas put in a similar gas pipeline through his Red Springs property about three years ago, he said. For months, the 68-year-old said he fought for fair compensation, going through six land agents before reaching an agreement.  Still, Dial said, he has issues with the swath of land that stretches between two white signs that read ‘Pipeline Right of Way.’  Rainwater pools along the path of the pipeline – about 5 acres on his property – and crops planted on the line are virtually wasted, he said. He pointed to a patch of black wheat in the center of his green field off Red Bank Road on Wednesday.  ‘It’s like Sherman’s army came through,’ he said. ‘They’ll leave a trail behind them.'”

3-31-15  Suffolk News-Herald.  Law Should Protect Property Owners.  Editorial.  “Pipeline opponents make an interesting argument when they suggest that allowing essentially unfettered access to private property by agents of a utility represents an effective “taking” of that property. Indeed, it’s not hard to imagine a situation in which the simple fact of having surveyors working on one’s property could keep the property owner from using it in whatever way he saw fit. In that case, the utility’s agents would temporarily, at least, have taken the property owner’s full use and pleasure of the property from him.  Surely the state should be able to plan public utilities and other public projects, and surveying is a necessary part of the planning process. Surveyors must be given access to properties that could be affected by such projects.  But there’s inherent value in access to one’s property, and someone should be responsible for paying that value when it is taken from the property owner. The interlopers should be required to pay rent at the market rate for however long they impinge on the portions of the properties they are surveying.  In the end, this is a property rights issue, and property rights are — or should be — sacrosanct in Virginia. A citizen should be secure in the knowledge that his property is his own to use — or to lend — however and whenever he sees fit. He should be further comforted in the knowledge that if the state requires him to use or give up the use of that property, however temporarily, he will have recompense.  We hope Virginia’s legal system comes to a similar conclusion.”

3-31-15  NBC 29.  Congressman Hurt Not Taking Sides in Pipeline Debate.  “It seems everyone is taking sides in the controversy about Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline but one congressman who represents the area is not.  5th district Congressman Robert Hurt says he’s more concerned that everyone’s opinions are taken into consideration than about the final results…. Nelson County Supervisor Connie Brennan wants Hurt to help the counties work with Dominion to find an alternate route.  ‘Dominion has picked the absolute worst possible route, no matter where it comes through our county,’ Brennan stated. ‘I’m also going to ask the congressman if he would be so kind as to request that FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, extend the scoping period that’s going on right now.’… Hurt says he wants to make sure any concerns about the economic and environmental impacts are addressed. ‘I hear from a lot of constituents that have very grave concerns and I feel like it’s my job to make sure that FERC hears those concerns and addresses those concerns.’”

3-31-15  Blue Virginia.  Free Nelson Informs Governor McAuliffe of the Error of His Comments.  Opinion blog.  “During a March 26 radio interview with Governor McAuliffe in Richmond, a caller asked a question regarding the proposed route for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The Governor did not answer the question, but did offer the following remark. ‘Nelson County – I think it’s our smallest population county in Virginia.’ He went on to reaffirm his support for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), citing (supposed) cheap energy and jobs.  Governor McAuliffe’s remark was totally inaccurate. Depending on the source, Nelson is ranked as the 23rd or 24th smallest county by population in Virginia. Why did he make this remark? Does he view Nelson as tiny and insignificant regarding its number of voters? Is this why he has answered citizen concerns about the ACP with stacks of form letters? Or, is it that he views the nearly 14,000 lives that could be placed at risk by a high-pressure, 42″ pipeline as an acceptable number? Was the population of counties like Highland, Nelson, & Buckingham the determining factor behind Dominion’s path for the ACP?  And isn’t this acknowledgment of something on Dominion’s part? Are they acknowledging safety risks they’ve previously denied to the press? Structures per mile determine the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) classification of natural gas pipelines. The path chosen by Dominion for the ACP will make it a Class 1 location pipeline. This means little to no regulation by federal authorities (the US Department of Transportation in this case). It also means that they will not be required to install expensive, automatic shut-off valves, while the manual valves will be set miles and miles apart.”

3-29-15  The Huffington Post.  Northeast Resists More Pipelines, Despite Higher Energy Costs.  “Opponents — on the route and far from it — worry about environmental and scenic harm, lower property values, the potential for accidents and the idea that relying on natural gas only forestalls a switch to more renewable sources like wind or solar.  ‘It would be really nice if, as a region, we had a coherent energy policy that stated, ‘These are the things we need to do to improve our energy situation,” Shannon said. ‘And if one of those things is I have to sacrifice part of my backyard for the greater good, I’d be willing to have that discussion. But I don’t see it that way. I see it as them enriching themselves on my back and I don’t like that.'”

3-29-15  News Leader.  The Pipeline Is About Profits, Not Public Good.  Opinion piece.  “And because they are a powerful utility company, they can gain access to your property without your permission. We can thank our Virginia legislature for that. For the ACP to cross Augusta County, Dominion will have to use eminent domain to force landowners along the route to give up their property rights. Those landowners would be forced to allow the pipeline across their land and forced to give up their right to use their land. But they would still own the land (now greatly devalued) and have to pay taxes on it. All of this, not because there is a public good, but just so Dominion can make more money.  As a for-profit business in a sector of our economy that intends to start exporting natural gas, Dominion is deceiving FERC and the general public when it says that the gas conveyed by the ACP will not be exported. It will happen, just not immediately. What’s to stop one of the utilities to whom Dominion is transporting the gas from exporting it?  According to the Annual Energy Outlook 2014, published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. will become a net exporter of natural gas before 2020. Dominion already has received FERC’s approval to export natural gas from a facility in Maryland. When Dominion or any of its pipeline partners starts exporting natural gas conveyed by the ACP, the concept of that pipeline having been constructed for the ‘public good’ will be exposed for its deceit. By then, however, it will be too late. They’ve already taken your land, and they are making a pretty penny off of it.”

3-27-15  NBC 29.  Senator Warner Pens a Letter to FERC.  “Groups opposing Dominion’s proposed natural gas pipeline are applauding Senator Mark Warner.  Warner sent a letter to federal regulators this week, asking them to clarify their policies for gathering public input on projects that could impact the environment.  In that letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Warner says he’s heard complaints in Nelson and Augusta counties about a recent series of scoping meetings.  That’s where the commission gathers input from the public about environmental concerns. The Friends of Nelson group says Dominion may have rigged the comment sections.”

3-27-15  Public News Service.  Legal Delays Could Be Problem for Huge Gas Pipelines.  “A Virginia county court case may slow construction of big proposed natural-gas pipelines – a delay opponents say the pipelines can ill afford…. Webb said the position of the companies racing to get their pipelines in place is much more fragile than they let on.  ‘Any delay in the process, or even any sense of delay in the process, will perhaps convince their investors that things are not quite as certain as they had been led to believe,’ he said.  The companies behind the pipelines insist they simply are following the normal process for building projects such as this. But Webb said the large number of court cases between landowners and the pipelines is very aggressive and hardly normal. There are 100 cases over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline alone.”

3-27-15  Augusta Free Press.  Regulators Fail to Protect Public Interest in Pipeline Process.  “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held a scoping meeting in Nelson County on March 18 for affected landowners and the wider community to help define the “scope,” or range, of pipeline impacts that need to be considered in the regulatory process. FERC held a similar meeting the next night in Stuarts Draft. Since the meetings, attendees have filed numerous comments on FERC’s online comment forum and with legislators alleging that the meetings were biased to amplify the voices of those in favor of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  ‘FERC’s scoping meeting in Nelson illustrates exactly what so many affected communities around the country have been saying: FERC is an independent governmental agency, funded by the industry it regulates, with no accountability – nor, in their eyes, responsibility to the public,’ says Joanna Salidis, President of Friends of Nelson, a group working to oppose Dominion’s pipeline.”

3-26-15  The Recorder.  Aww, FERC is Frustrated.  Opinion piece.  “‘Unprecedented opposition.’  That, according to Cheryl LaFleur, chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is what faces the nation’s natural gas pipeline development…. Why the ‘unprecedented’ outcry, Ms. LaFleur? Because of the industry’s failure to adequately protect us, and your agency’s failure to do the same.  We see little evidence of a sturdy, unblemished record of oversight or protection. What we do see is the gas industry has much more control over FERC, state agencies, and lawmakers who make up the rules than it should.  You are not representing our interests, Ms. LaFleur. You are representing industries that have full and powerful resources to mostly glide through your processes with ease.  Until your agency can balance its mission to help the energy sector with its mission to minimize risk, Ms. LaFleur, your in-box will remain flooded for the foreseeable future. Get used to it.”

3-26-15  Hoots and Hollers, the OVEC Blog.  FERC Hear This on Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Opinion blog.  “Many have suggested we accept gas development and the proposed pipeline because of the jobs it brings. I raised two children here, and yes, I would love it if they could stay and make a decent living here. But not if they must risk their health working with hazardous materials.  Not if their work would contribute to destroying the quality of life of fellow community members.  Not if their work is harmful to the water, air, and ecosystems that sustain us.  No job is worth what this pipeline and accompanying gas development will destroy.  So in considering the impacts of this pipeline, please also consider the impacts of the intense gas drilling and fracking that it will foster.  We who live in the drilling areas know that natural gas is not a clean energy alternative.  We should not permit the development of a pipeline that will support it.”

3-26-15  The News & Advance.  Press Pass:  McAuliffe Stands by Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “Gov. Terry McAuliffe reaffirmed his support for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project Thursday, calling it an energy superhighway that will spur a manufacturing revival in Virginia…. McAuliffe, during an appearance on WRVA’s monthly ‘Ask the Governor’ segment, was asked by Afton activist Charlotte Rea if he would support a new pipeline opposition campaign, ‘All Pain, No Gain.’  ‘You’ve spent a lot of time this morning talking about economic development, but Dominion admits only 39 permanent, direct jobs will be created in Virginia,’ said Rea, c-chair of the campaign.  ‘Many communities and small businesses, particularly in Nelson County, Virginia, will actually lose revenues and jobs as property is devalued and our beautiful mountains clear-cut and industrialized,’ she said.”

3-25-15  Indy Week.  How to Break Duke Energy’s Stranglehold on North Carolina’s Power Industry—and Maybe Save Our Coasts in the Process.  “Around the world, solar power’s future is bright; bright enough, perhaps, to slay the fossil-fuel industry before the first drill pierces our ocean floor.  In North Carolina, though, solar development is sluggish due to the machinations of Duke Energy, our dominant electric utility.”

3-25-15  The Daily Progress.  Augusta Board Asks Feds for Another 30 Days for Pipeline Comments.  “The Augusta County Board of Supervisors will ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to extend its comment period on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for another 30 days. The board’s vote came Wednesday.  The comment period for what is called a “scoping notice” on the project is currently set to expire April 28. The scoping notice is necessary to prepare the project’s environmental impact.  Supervisors also included a request that FERC hold a second scoping meeting. The first FERC meeting on the pipeline in Augusta County was held a week ago, but a number of speakers who signed up to comment on the pipeline could not speak.”

3-25-15  NBC 29.  Nelson 151 Worried Proposed Pipeline Will Hurt Local Businesses.  “Businesses along Nelson County’s Route 151 corridor are coming out against Dominion Resource’s proposed natural gas pipeline project…. The board for Nelson 151 is sending a resolution to county supervisors, Dominion, and federal regulators. That resolution states the group’s opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through Nelson County. The businesses are worried the proposed natural gas pipeline will destroy their mountain views, contaminate water, and keep tourists away.”

3-25-15  Appalachian Chronicle.  Natural Gas Industry Moves from the Absurd to the Profane.  Opinion blog.  “Executive Director Corky DeMarco of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) said here last evening that it is not God’s will that West Virginians be farmers. Instead, he said, it is God’s will that the natural gas industry extract all it can out of the Marcellus shale.  He said this at the last of several public scoping meetings being held by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to consider the environmental impact of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).  Those who find it hard to believe that he would make such a statement need only wait for the transcript of the meeting to be published by FERC…. DeMarco’s remarks are flippant – and insulting to people of faith who take seriously the stewardship of creation. But they are more. His comments are the sign of a desperate person and an industry surprised that so many people are voicing opposition to the ACP and not laying down for it. So, the industry has apparently decided it is time to invoke the name of God. It seems that Dominion Energy – one of the four corporations seeking to receive FERC approval for the ACP so that it can use eminent domain to seize private land to enrich its shareholders – has convinced DeMarco that it not only has dominion over your land, it has dominion over the entire planet. I suspect, sadly, that Dominion and its partners, as well as DeMarco and the organization he represents, believe they do.  They are that arrogant.”

3-24-14  News Leader.  What Really Happened at the FERC Meeting.  Opinion piece by Robert Whitescarver of Swoope, a retired district conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  “Perhaps there is nothing illegal about using ‘Chuck Bubbas’ or having a reception room for only selected people in a public building, but it’s wrong. Dominion’s actions prevented people whose land is threatened by the ACP and concerned citizens from expressing their opinions. It distorted the facts and is disrespectful. Plain and simple it was dishonest and corrupt.”

3-24-15  Suffolk News-Herald.  A Narrow Ruling in Pipeline Case.  “A lawsuit by a natural gas pipeline group against a property owner was decided for the property owner on a technical matter Tuesday, but a larger constitutional issue looms once the minutiae are resolved…. The 540-mile natural gas pipeline by Atlantic Coast Pipeline would run from Harrison County, W.Va., to Robeson County, N.C., with a spur coming east from the Virginia/North Carolina state line to Chesapeake, running through Suffolk on the way.  Virginia law requires the company to give notice before it enters landowners’ property to survey. But it didn’t do so — a different entity, Dominion Transmission Inc., did.”

3-24-15  WAVY 10.  Proposed Pipeline Hits Speed Bump in Suffolk.  “The proposed natural gas pipeline that would run across Virginia hit a bit of a speed bump in Suffolk on Tuesday. A judge ruled crews from Atlantic Coast Pipeline won’t be allowed on private property, at least for now.  ‘You got to admire Virginians standing up for their rights and property rights, fundamentally,’ attorney Chuck Lollar said…. ‘Today was a good day, but it’s going to be a long fight,’ Upton said. ‘It’s going to be a long fight.’”

3-24-15  The Roanoke Times.  Ruling Could Mean Delays for Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “If nothing else, a ruling Tuesday by a judge in Suffolk Circuit Court delays Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s campaign to gain access to about 50 acres of private property in the city without the owner’s permission to survey for a possible route for a portion of the interstate natural gas pipeline.  Judge Carl Eason found that Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s notice to Davis Boulevard LLC, a residential developer, of the pipeline company’s intent to survey the property without permission was flawed because the notification came from Dominion Transmission Inc. — one of the partners for the proposed pipeline — and not Atlantic Coast Pipeline…. An untold number of property owners have refused to grant permission, which has led Atlantic Coast Pipeline to sue them to gain access — citing a controversial Virginia law that allows such access without permission as long as notification requirements are met…. Meanwhile, Lollar said Eason’s ruling is good news for opponents of the project.  ‘Even with $5 billion plus to spend, the project is getting bogged down and that is a good thing for Virginia property owners who may be permanently impacted by the gas pipeline,’ Lollar said. ‘Permanent is an eternity to them.’”

3-23-15  SNL Financial.  FERC Chair LaFleur See Trouble Ahead for Gas Pipeline Permitting.  “Environmental and public resistance to natural gas pipelines will make it more difficult to build the infrastructure that helped smooth energy deliveries this winter, Cheryl LaFleur predicted at the last FERC meeting she led as chairman.  LaFleur discussed opposition to pipelines following FERC’s March 19 meeting, after SNL Energy asked about challenges such as a push by the White House Council on Environmental Quality to have federal agencies do more on climate change, and recent court decisions affecting FERC approvals of gas pipeline projects…. ‘I do see additional challenges in permitting pipeline infrastructure given the increased opposition and controversy surrounding pipeline infrastructure, particularly in the Northeast,’ she continued.”

3-23-15  Union of Concerned Scientists.  Natural Gas:  A Runaway Train or a Helping Hand?  “While natural gas-fired plants do cause less carbon pollution than coal (about half the carbon emissions), they are still large emitters; the natural gas extraction and distribution industry is the largest source of methane, a greenhouse gas 34 times more potent than CO2. A careful look at our long-term carbon budget makes it abundantly clear that we can’t reach the level of reductions we need (80 percent reduction by 2050) with a strategy that relies primarily on fuel switching from coal to gas.  The truth is, wholesale switching from coal to gas actually threatens to impede progress to a clean energy future. That’s because natural gas plants have a useful life of 30 or more years, and pipelines last 50–100 years. So, a massive build-out of new plants and new pipelines will either lock us in to a largely natural gas future, or create ‘stranded assets’ that will make it harder to cost-effectively reduce our emissions later. And because our pool of energy investment dollars is limited, today’s investment in natural gas capacity crowds out investment in new transmission lines, energy storage, and smart grids—all of which are needed to make the clean energy future work.”

3-23-15  The Roanoke Times.  Younos:  World Citizenry Misrepresented in the Pipeline Argument.  Opinion piece by Tamim Younos, president and CEO of the Cabell Brand Center for Global Poverty and Resource Sustainability Studies.  “The pipeline debate offers an opportunity to freely discuss the pros and cons of the natural gas extraction (hydraulic fracturing), the merits and benefits of the proposed pipelines, and the impact on environment and individual rights. The idea to accept a simplistic approach to a complicated problem belongs to the 19th century mentality and social environments. The time has arrived to face the challenge and explore new opportunities provided to us in the 21st century…. During the last few decades, thanks to the Internet and other forms of advanced communication, public awareness significantly increased about the strong link between environmental preservation and public health. We are more aware of environmental and health crises that face not only America but the entire global community. For the good news, recent innovations in science and renewable energy technologies which are mostly developed by using fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), allow us to gradually move away from fossil fuels technologies that are detrimental to our health and environment and find new pathways for human happiness, prosperity and liberty. In a free and democratic society, we can no longer be enslaved by established and traditional technologies and practices. We can do much better.”

3-23-15  Public News Service.  More Landowners Resisting Gas Pipelines.  “Huge pipelines intended to carry Marcellus and Utica natural gas to eastern markets are running into spreading resistance from landowners.  Richmond-based Dominion Resources and its partners have filed about 100 lawsuits against landowners who are resisting surveying crews for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Now landowners in the path of a different pipeline, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, have filed preemptive suits to stop surveying crews hired by the Pittsburgh-based EQT energy company and its partners…. ‘These companies are proposing to use the right of eminent domain -– the extraordinary power to take private property against the landowners’ wishes – and it should not be granted lightly,’ Howell states…. Howell says the landowners don’t expect to see any benefit in their region, just the negative impact on land and water.  ‘They’re definitely going to have a huge environmental impact out on the land,’ he stresses. ‘The companies should be held to the letter of the environmental laws before these pipelines are ever approved.'”

3-23-15  Whitescarver Natural Resources Management.  Chuck Bubbas, Corruption, and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Opinion blog.  “Dominion, the largest energy company in Virginia ‘Pre-filed’ with FERC to build the pipeline. This meeting is part of the ‘Scoping’ process. We were in line to speak in opposition to the proposed route.  A steady flow of people filed in. A woman with a clipboard met selected people at the door. She did not greet us, so I wondered whom she was assisting. She would greet certain people, check something on her clipboard and then walk them to the line and insert them into the line in front of me.  “What is going on?” I thought.  It happened again and again, then I realized what was going on.  It brought back memories of middle school bullies.  Here’s how it works: put one of your bully friends in line as a ‘place holder’ so the person you really want in line doesn’t have to wait like everyone else. We refer to them, whose time is more important than ours, as ‘Chuck Bubbas’. In the couple hours we stood in line I watched four people inserted in front of me, and many behind me.  I asked ‘clipboard woman’ what was going on and she informed me that these ‘guests’ were not butting in line because she had ‘place holders’ saving them a spot.  Dominion was ‘stacking’ the deck with people that would speak in favor of the pipeline…. Perhaps there is nothing illegal about using ‘Chuck Bubbas’ or having a reception room for only selected people in a public building, but it’s wrong.  Dominion’s actions prevented people whose land is threatened by the ACP and concerned citizens from expressing their opinions.   It distorts the facts and is disrespectful.  Plain and simple it’s dishonest and corrupt.”

3-22-15  Appalachian Chronicle.  Seeking Dominion over His Own Land.  “Joao Barroso spent years looking for the perfect parcel of land on which to eventually settle his family and build a natural preserve for others to enjoy…. Now, however, the home place he dreamed of having for more than 40 years is in the sights of Dominion Energy, which wants to cross his land with the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). So, what started out as a dream may well turn out to be a nightmare…. Dominion Energy and its ACP partners claim on its website that ‘The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is an essential public utility project designed to meet urgent energy needs in Virginia and North Carolina.’ Barroso dismissed that argument as nonsense. ‘This is a private company, and the ACP, if it is approved and built, has only one purpose: company profit. It will be a clear case of abuse of eminent domain.’  He continued, ‘There is a very clear difference between providing a service to the public and what is a public service. All businesses serve the public, but they are not public services.’”

3-22-15  The Daily Progress.  Pipeline Opponents Take Ad Campaign to ‘Another Level.’ “Opponents say the pipeline represents “all pain, no gain” for communities in its path in western Virginia, and dispute the company’s estimates of jobs and energy savings that would be generated. They say the company’s calculations do not take into account the costs of potential damage to the environment and sensitive habitat, public water supplies, historic and cultural sites, and the loss to private property owners whose lands comprise more than 90 percent of the proposed route….Use of existing rights of way and easements is the principal theme of opponents in the new campaign.  ‘We just want to move the pipeline to a responsible route,’ Harvey said.”

3-22-15  The Roanoke Times.  Exports and Eminent Domain:  Delegation Weighs in on Pipeline Issues.  “A rush to transport natural gas from extraction wells in Marcellus shale formations to customers that include natural gas-fired power plants helped hobble early communication between companies that want to build pipelines and the communities through which the pipes might pass.  At least that’s the take of U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem.  Griffith said this sense of urgency helps explain, but does not excuse, what he described as the ‘bull in the china shop’ behavior of companies that want to build interstate pipelines to move natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia to customers in Virginia, North Carolina and elsewhere — including, perhaps, overseas.  Griffith, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, and U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats, were asked recently about the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines, surveying for pipeline routes without a property owner’s permission and natural gas exports.  None expressed opposition to the pipelines.  Instead, all four emphasized that constituents’ concerns about the projects should receive careful consideration by both the companies that want to build the pipelines and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that will ultimately decide whether the projects should move forward.”

3-20-15  Blue Virginia.  Dominion’s Bought-and-Paid-for Supporters vs. Grassroots Atlantic Coast Pipeline Opponents.  Opinion blog.  “Free Nelson attended Thursday night’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) meeting in the Shenandoah Valley. The meeting was designed to hear concerns from the public regarding the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), and to contribute input towards the Environmental impact study (EIS) FERC is required to conduct.  What we found truly astonishing about this meeting was the lengths to which Dominion Power continues to sink in its efforts to create the appearance of support for its ill-conceived, dirty fossil fuel pipeline…. After inviting folks who do not live in the affected areas of the proposed ACP, Dominion’s uninformed ‘plants’ attended a pre-meeting meal supplied by Dominion…. Clearly, these folks were brought in by Dominion to take time away from landowners and community members who have legitimate concerns. While not unexpected, it is a deplorable tactic used to stop, or at least discourage, those opposed to the pipeline from speaking. As occurred in Nelson Wednesday night, the Thursday FERC meeting was shut down well before all were allowed to share their concerns.”

3-20-15  Breaking Energy.  Reducing Carbon Pollution from the Power Section Without Building Thousands of Miles of New Pipelines.  “What policymakers and regulators need to know is this: Right now, 46 percent of the pipeline capacity that already exists isn’t being used, according to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy…. At the FERC conference, EDF recommended a series of actions FERC could take in short order to optimize our utilization of the existing infrastructure and avoid building unnecessary natural gas pipelines.”

3-19-15  WV Public Broadcasting.  With More Proposed Pipelines, Here’s a Look at West Virginia’s Recent Accidents.  “Two major interstate projects have been proposed for West Virginia: The Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines…. Both the ACP and MVP would be 42 inches in diameter, the largest transmission lines yet to be built in West Virginia. The lines would carry 2 billion cubic feet of gas per day up to 1,440 psi…. Opponents of the projects have cited health and safety concerns, among other issues.  Should there be a catastrophic failure of the line, the blast zone at full pressure could be up to 1,150 feet. The safe evacuation zone would be more than a mile away…. According to data from the federal Pipeline Safety & Hazardous Materials Administration, 19 significant incidents have occurred in West Virginia between 2003 and 2014. The agency classifies incidents as ‘significant’ when any of the following conditions are met: 1) Fatality or injury requiring in-patient hospitalization. 2) $50,000 or more in total costs, measured in 1984 dollars. 3) Highly volatile liquid releases of 5 barrels or more or other liquid releases of 50 barrels or more. 4) Liquid releases resulting in an unintentional fire or explosion.”

3-19-15  The Roanoke Times.  Nelson County Asks Dominion to Minimize Use of Eminent Domain on Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “The Nelson County Board of Supervisors is petitioning Dominion Resources to minimize the use of eminent domain to acquire personal property while planning for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  The resolution, passed in a 3-2 vote last Tuesday, formally asks Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to consider a preferred route that would minimize eminent domain acquisitions.”

3-19-15  Nelson County Times.  Frustrations Continue After Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project Meeting.  “Though emotions ran high at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s scoping meeting Wednesday night, those feelings were not alleviated overnight.  In fact, many who are opposed to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline feel even more frustrated and disappointed with the lack of communication from FERC…. Of the 203 people who signed up, 78 spoke within the allowed time frame. Seventeen of the first 20 speakers were pro-pipeline. After the first 17, the rest were pipeline opponents.  ‘Those people were obviously organized to sign up super early and were obviously told to sign up very early,’ Salidis said. ‘FERC should not have allowed that.’… Salidis felt this gave a ‘gross distortion’ of the sentiment of the county, adding FERC had a responsibility to the public and then let it down.  ‘They should set up another meeting because this is an issue that people are so passionate about and people want to speak and be heard in a public forum,’ she said. ‘It’s not the same to receive written comments, they should have a time for sign ups and it should be publicly available for everyone, that way it would be fair.’”

3-19-15  News Leader.  FERC Hears Fervent Arguments for and Against Pipeline.  “Federal officials listened to about a 100 residents offer their opinion on Dominion’s proposed natural gas pipeline for a report that will be used to decide on a permit for the project…. Applause following the individual speakers indicated a significant majority in the audience who are against the local route for the 550-mile line, which would bring natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina.  Bruce Rinker, executive director of the Valley Conservation Council, garnered audible support from about three quarters of the crowd after his comments, which emphasized the importance of the forests along the route of the proposed corridor.  ‘Our forests are our heritage,’ Rinker said. ‘They are not the exclusive domain of a for-profit company invested in fossil fuels.'”

3-19-15 Daily Progress. Frustrations continue after Atlantic Coast Pipeline meeting.  “Emotions ran high at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s public meeting on the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline Wednesday night, and those feelings did not dissipate overnight. In fact, many people who are opposed to the pipeline feel increasingly frustrated and disappointed with what they see as a lack of communication from FERC. Before the hearing, called a ‘scoping meeting,’ began at Nelson County High School at 7 p.m., residents could sign up to speak on a first-come, first-served basis. Joanna Salidis, president of anti-pipeline group Friends of Nelson, called ahead to ask an external affairs officer at FERC when people could arrive to sign up to speak. ‘She told me signups would start shortly before 7 [p.m.] and that even if people arrived after 7 they would still be able to sign up. I was here by 6:30 [p.m.],’ she said. ‘I got number 52.’ …. Of the 203 people who signed up, 78 spoke within the allowed time frame. Seventeen of the first 20 speakers were pro-pipeline. After the first 17, the rest were pipeline opponents. ‘Those people were obviously organized to sign up super early and were obviously told to sign up very early,’ Salidis said. ‘FERC should not have allowed that.'”

3-19-15  NBC 29.  Anti-Pipeline Group Readies to Post 1k Signs in Nelson, Augusta.  “Members of All Pain No Gain, a group fighting against Dominion Resource’s proposed natural gas pipeline, are rallying together to distribute signs in the community.  APNG received a delivery of about 1,000 anti-pipeline signs Thursday afternoon. The group plans to begin distributing those signs along Route 29 and 151 in Augusta and Nelson Counties Friday morning…. Leaders of the anti-pipeline movement are especially motivated to spread their message in light of what they say was a disappointing meeting Wednesday night in Nelson Co with representatives with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).”

3-18-15  The News & Advance.  FERC Meets with Residents to Hear Comments on Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project.  “Representatives of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission visited Lovingston on Wednesday to hear concerns from residents in Nelson County about the proposed 550-mile, 42-inch natural gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline…. Comments for the evening were cut off at 10 p.m. President of Friends of Nelson, Joanna Salidis, felt that was an ‘outrage.’ Salidis said she called an external affairs officer at FERC beforehand who told her she could sign up to speak until shortly after 7 p.m.  ‘Out of the first 18 speakers, 15 were pro-pipeline,’ she said. ‘The first 11 were entirely pro [Atlantic Coast Pipeline]. There is no way this ratio reflects the sentiments of Nelson County.’”

3-18-15  NBC 29.  FERC Holds Pipeline Public Hearing in Nelson Co.  “The proposed natural gas pipeline that would cut through portions of central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley went under the microscope Wednesday night. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) heard from people who live along the proposed path in Nelson County.  Nelson Co. landowners and a foundation working to protect the region’s natural resources are assessing all the damage that could be done by Dominion’s proposed pipeline.  The Rockfish Valley Foundation has been compiling all the historic, cultural, and natural resources in the path of Dominion Resource’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Just across Route 151 from the foundation’s home, the proposed pipeline would cut through the Horizons Village neighborhood.  Property owners in the 400-acre subdivision are putting together a study of the environmental impacts the pipeline could have on their community to present to FERC.  ‘The pit in your stomach cannot be described, because you have no rights,’ said Carolyn Fischer of Horizons Village. ‘All of a sudden the land you have protected, that you have bought into no longer has any rights. It’s a pretty serious threat.’”

3-18-15  ABC 13.  Nelson County Crowds Restless at Times During Packed Pipeline Meeting.  “The debate on Dominion’s 550-mile pipeline project continued in Nelson County.  Residents voiced their concerns and support Wednesday night to the commission that holds the key to approving the pipeline.  ‘This is the County where the opposition has been the strongest,’ said Dominion spokesperson Jim Norvelle.”

3-18-15  The News & Advance.  Feds OK Atlantic Coast Pipeline Survey Through George Washington National Forest.  “The U.S. Forest Service will allow Dominion Transmission Inc. to survey a path for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through the George Washington National Forest in Highland and Augusta counties.  The Forest Service said Tuesday that it will issue a temporary special-use permit to allow surveying along 12.6 miles of the forest, but made clear the decision does not represent approval of the $5 billion, 550-mile pipeline proposed from West Virginia to southeastern Virginia and North Carolina…. Rick Webb, an environmental scientist at the University of Virginia who is leading a coalition against the pipeline, said the Forest Service should have denied the survey request as incomplete.  He said the survey would not provide adequate data to design the project or assess its impact, including the effects of multiple 42-inch pipelines being proposed through the national forest in Virginia and West Virginia.  Webb also cited language in Dominion’s request to the Forest Service that said the surveys would provide information for FERC and other agencies to review and permit the pipeline.  ‘So this is more than a permit to survey — it’s a permit to get the data needed to permit the actual pipeline,’ he said.”

3-17-15  WDBJ 7.  Atlantic Coast Pipeline Survey Permit Granted for National Forest in Highland and Augusta Counties.  “The U.S. Forest Service is issuing a temporary permit to survey a portion of the George Washington National Forest for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  The permit will allow for surveying of a 12.6-mile segment of the forest in Highland County and Augusta County. The survey permit does not mean that the Forest Service is allowing construction of the pipeline.  The surveys will take place within the next year. They will include surveys for wetlands, water, soil, and habitats for sensitive species.”

3-15-15  Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Alternative Pipeline Routes Create New Heartaches in Nelson County.  “The pavement turns to dirt where Wheeler’s Cove Road begins in Elma. It winds upward along a rushing creek through mountain hollows in eastern Nelson County, a few miles as the crow flies from the native roots of ‘The Waltons’ television series.  Electricity and telephone service came because the families who have lived here for generations petitioned for it, but now they face an intrusion of modern life they say they do not want or need as Dominion Transmission Inc. plots a path for a 42-inch, high-pressure pipeline to carry natural gas from the shale fields of West Virginia to the Virginia and North Carolina coasts.  ‘We had to fight to get the good stuff up here,’ said Wisteria Johnson, whose family has lived here for 120 years of written history and many more of oral tradition. ‘The bad stuff is coming in without any invitation.’ ‘It doesn’t give anything to the people it’s going through,’ she said. ‘The electricity gave us light. The phone gave us communication. The pipeline doesn’t give us anything except heartbreak.’”

3-15-15  The Washington Post.  Campaign Aimed at Altering Va. Route of Natural Gas Pipeline.  “Opponents of the proposed Virginia route of a 550-mile natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina have launched a campaign to enlist more allies in their fight.  The “All Pain, No Gain Campaign” delivered that message Sunday in paid media spots in central and western Virginia markets.  The campaign contends that everyone in Virginia and even Washington, D.C., has a stake in the ultimate path of the 42-inch Atlantic Coast Pipeline because it would carve up private property and scenic vistas and threaten water supplies.  The campaign wants the pipeline shifted to existing rights of way.”

3-15-15  NBC 29.  Augusta and Nelson Co. Residents Release Ad Countering Pipeline.  “A new campaign is hitting the airwaves promoting a message that Dominion’s natural gas pipeline will bring all pain and no gain to Augusta and Nelson counties.  An ad for the campaign states, ‘This pipeline route threatens our environment and the beauty of our mountains. Our property rights will be taken away. The potential for catastrophic explosions puts our communities at risk.’… The goal of the All Pain, No Gain campaign is to bring together people across Virginia to make sure their state and federal lawmakers are involved in the fight.  Leaders of the campaign say the natural gas pipeline would threaten the natural resources of central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, especially when it comes to water quality.  Pipeline opposition also says the pipeline could destroy a tourism-based economy because of damage to scenic views and because many wineries and breweries depend on clean water.  The group hopes to pressure Dominion into choosing an alternative route along existing rights of way.”

3-15-15  The Virginian-Pilot.  Dominion’s Promises Vanish into Thin Air.  “Three days.  That’s how long it took Dominion Virginia Power to abandon its pledge of transparency for a law that eliminated state regulation of its base electricity rates until 2020…. Even as it claimed otherwise, Dominion has demonstrated that its priority through the recent legislative session was never Virginians; it was Dominion’s own financial interests.  The monopoly is now poised for a lucrative five-year stretch, one in which it sought to compound the damage by withholding critical information about just how much money is at stake.  It was an audacious strategy, and it underscored how badly Virginians need the SCC to protect their interests – and how badly lawmakers and the governor failed by approving SB1349.”

3-13-15  GreenBiz.  The Man Illuminating How Dirty Your Energy Really Is.  “Well, natural gas is pretty dirty fuel. If you compare it with wind power, it emits about 60 times more air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy generated. And even in terms of bird kills — which is a common concern with wind energy — natural gas actually creates about 10 times the amount of bird kills per unit energy from air pollution, ground degradation, habitat destruction and the involved buildings.  Natural gas in comparison with coal has benefits and dis-benefits; while natural gas reduces carbon dioxide emissions relevant to coal, it actually causes more overall warming than coal not only because of the higher methane from natural gas but also because coal outputs sulfur oxide, which actually masks some of the warming. The warming from coal over a 100-year time frame is actually less than natural gas because of the sulfur oxide output. But both are really bad, they are both dirty.  If you look at the 20-year time frame, because that’s the time frame where Arctic sea ice can melt, instead of the long 100-year time frame, which is where a lot of people focus on, the methane causes 100 times more warming than the same amount of carbon dioxide.  You also have black carbon from flaring of natural gas that coats the Arctic sea ice and makes it melt faster. Plus, there’s a lot of leakage from methane in the form of millions of leaks from natural gas pipes in cities. And this leakage isn’t even counted when you are looking at coal vs. natural gas emissions timelines. So, natural gas should not be embraced, in any shape or form, as a solution to the climate problem.”

3-11-15  NBC 29.  Wintergreen Property Owners Join Opposition to Proposed Natural Gas Pipeline.  “Wintergreen property owners are joining the opposition to Dominion’s proposed natural gas pipeline through Nelson County.  An alternative route the energy company wants to survey passes right through part of the mountaintop resort. The resort’s new ownership did not respond to our request for comment on this latest twist to the pipeline map. However, people who live along the proposed new route are taking a stand…. ‘I’m not going to be active just because I don’t want this alternate route. I don’t want it in Nelson County. It doesn’t need to be in Nelson County. Dominion just needs to be responsible,’ said Wintergreen resident Marti Szczur.  The Wintergreen Nature Foundation also opposes the pipeline. The nonprofit fears it will cut off a mountain-crossing for wildlife and destroy Nelson County’s undisturbed natural areas.”

3-11-15  Blue Virginia.  During 3rd Open House in Nelson, Anti-Pipeliners Mock Politicians “Bought and Paid for by Dominion.”  “On February 23, Dominion Power announced four additional alternate routes in Nelson County for its proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), nearly doubling the number of land owners affected. Augusta now has nine possible ACP routes, and Dominion has added one alternate route in Buckingham County.  Holding an Open House in Nelson for all three counties is a first, especially since we were told by Dominion representatives they didn’t have to hold it [at] all. When landowners complained the maps presented for their use in viewing all these routes were extremely difficult to read, Dominion agreed! Suffice it to say, the anti-pipeline booths set up outside the venue were very busy. Most people were joining Nelson’s anti-pipeline groups, buying No Pipeline signs and t-shirts, and asking how they could help with the resistance.”

3-10-15  Augusta Free Press.  Environmental Groups Align Efforts to Challenge FERC Pipeline Projects.  “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is not informing the public about the big picture when it comes to natural gas infrastructure projects related to increased gas drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations according to several environmental groups.  The groups represent interests in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia and are concerned that the regional impacts to forests, watersheds, air quality, and wildlife are largely being ignored as FERC approves new gas pipelines and compressor stations across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. The groups contend that FERC’s rush to increase natural gas infrastructure incentivizes fracking for shale gas while stifling the development of renewable energy.  ‘Natural gas is not a bridge fuel but an anchor keeping us stuck in the past,’ said Ryan Talbott, executive director of the Allegheny Defense Project in Pennsylvania. ‘If we want to achieve meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions we need to get beyond all fossil fuels, including natural gas.  We will never get to a clean energy future as long as FERC keeps incentivizing more fracking for shale gas through these infrastructure expansions.’… In Virginia, where the U.S. Forest Service recently banned new leases for fracking in the George Washington National Forest, Ernie Reed of Wild Virginia is concerned about pipeline construction on Virginia’s other national forest, the Jefferson National Forest.  The Mountain Valley pipeline will directly impact the Jefferson National Forest and the Appalachian Trail in southwestern Virginia.  In addition to the Mountain Valley pipeline, the Atlantic Coast pipeline would impact hundreds of miles in Virginia.  ‘These pipelines serve no public benefit as all current and proposed users are currently served by existing pipelines,’ said Ernie Reed, Wild Virginia’s President. ‘FERC cannot ignore that these pipelines will massively increase gas extraction in the shalefields of West Virginia and provide huge volumes of natural gas for export.’”

3-10-15  Inside Charlottesville.  Friends of Nelson.  Radio show with Coy Barefoot.  “Ernie Reed is a property owner in Nelson County and a member of Friends of Nelson, which is organizing opposition to the proposed, all-new, natural gas pipeline that Dominion Power wants to build across Virginia.”

3-10-15  Nelson County Times.  Nelson County Residents Attend Meeting on Alternative Pipeline Routes.  “After about nine months of Nelson County residents arguing, debating and just about memorizing the proposed pathway of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Dominion Resources announced four alternate routes.  After the announcement two weeks ago, Dominion scheduled its third informational open house; this one focused on the alternate routes…. The open house at Nelson County High School was a new experience for some residents who had just begun learning of the infrastructure that could run through their property. To others, the open house was yet another chance to let Dominion in on their thoughts.  Lovingston resident Julian Bryant is on the proposed ‘East of Lovingston Connector’ path where he owns 120 acres and his brother has plans to build a home there.  ‘And now the pipeline wants to come right through the heart of the property, a full half-mile right through the forest, right through the meadows,’ he said. ‘It would be devastating to the property. We will do everything we can to oppose this. It gets personal when they pick this particular area and go through the heart of a property. Our property has absolutely, positively gorgeous views, high up on the bluff of the right, deep dark forest, all of which would be ruined and you can’t bring that back.’  Shipman resident Janice Jackson still is not pleased with the alternates, saying it will have a devastating effect on the area’s black communities.  ‘The latest re-route in Wingina would affect families and cemeteries along Cabell Rd. and [Virginia] 56,’ she said. ‘Combine this with a large number of parcels and houses in the Wheeler’s Cove and Peavine areas. These include several African-American families with history going back at least five or six generations. When will Dominion figure out that they are going to run into significant barriers wherever they try to route in Nelson County?’”

3-10-15  The Charlottesville Newsplex.  Nelson County Landowners Still Voicing Concerns over Proposed Pipeline.  “After several proposed routes, Nelson County landowners are still disappointed with Dominion’s plans to run a natural gas pipeline through a big stretch of the area…. Heidi Cochran is one of the several landowners who attended an open house to try to get on the same page with Dominion. Right now, she’s in the middle of three different lawsuits from the company, all for refusing to let them survey her property…. Cochran says it will also be difficult to get everyone in Nelson County on board with the project.  ‘I do not think it benefits the county in any way,’ said Cochran. ‘The gas is not going to benefit us. I think its false to believe we’re going to get taxes that will improve anything.’  On Tuesday night, the Nelson County Board of Supervisors signed a proclamation siding with landowners, to force Dominion to find an alternate route for the proposed pipeline.”

3-10-15  WSLS 10.  Dominion VA. Power Presents New Maps for Proposed Pipeline.  “Dominion Virginia Power held an open house meeting about a controversial natural gas pipeline set to cross parts of central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.  The Atlantic Coast Pipeline project has drawn criticism from people affected by the proposed route. The pipeline would carry natural gas about 550 miles, from West Virginia to North Carolina.”

3-10-15 NBC 29.  Dominion VA. Power Presents New Maps for Proposed Pipeline.  “Dominion Virginia Power held an open house meeting about a controversial natural gas pipeline set to cross parts of central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.  The Atlantic Coast Pipeline project has drawn criticism from people affected by the proposed route.”

3-9-15  The Dedham Transcript.  Boston, State Officials to Take Action After FERC’s Decision on Gas Pipeline.  “State and Boston officials were upset, but not surprised, that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently authorized Spectra Energy to move forward with the Algonquin Incremental Market Project (AIM) that includes West Roxbury Lateral, 4.1 miles of the gas pipeline that run through Westwood, Dedham and West Roxbury.  U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, who is spearheading the effort to halt or alter the route of West Roxbury Lateral (not the entire AIM project, which is 37.4 miles long), said he and members of the Boston City Council, the mayor, and other state representatives and senators, are coordinating a meeting with Attorney General Maura Healey in response to FERC’s decision. Lynch said the aim of the meeting is to fight for the equivalent of a restraining order to stop the project from moving ahead…. The main reason most Boston officials were incensed that FERC gave Spectra the go-ahead is the potential danger posed by the quarry’s active blasting.  ‘This is a public safety concern.… It really does present an immediate danger,’ said Lynch. ‘It’s a bad idea.’  ‘It’s very disappointing to me that some serious safety concerns (posed by residents) were glossed over or ignored in FERC’s response,’ added Councilor-at-Large Michelle Wu.”

3-9-15  NBC 29.  Fight Against Proposed Natural Gas Pipeline Heats Up.  “The fight against Dominion’s proposed natural gas pipeline through central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley is heating up this week…. The pipeline opposition group Friends of Nelson is rallying its supporters and raising funds for this fight. The group supplies the ‘no pipeline’ signs you see lining the highways like along Route 151. The group is getting a boost to fund the fight against Dominion’s proposed natural gas pipeline.  Friends of Nelson now counts nearly 1,000 member donors. Two supporters are each chipping in $5,000 to match all donations made to Friends of Nelson. They say the money will help pay for a pipeline impact study. Friends of Nelson and Augusta County Alliance have hired a Charlottesville firm to look at the economic impact the pipeline would have on the region. They want to present the study to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as it reviews Dominion’s proposal.  ‘Elected officials across the state will be able to see, the public will be able to see, and Dominion will have to deal with something besides the smoke and mirrors they’ve put out,’ said Friends of Nelson Vice President Ernie Reed.”

3-7-15  The Washington Post.  Utilities Wage Campaign Against Rooftop Solar.  “Whether home-solar systems add significant costs to electric grids is the subject of intense debate…. Other studies commissioned by state regulators … found that any costs are generally outweighed by benefits. For one thing, researchers found, the excess energy generated by solar panels helps reduce the strain on electric grids on summer days when demand soars and utilities are forced to buy additional power at high rates. Other experts note that the shift to solar energy is helping states meet new federal requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also producing thousands of new jobs. The residential solar industry currently employs about 174,000 people nationwide, or twice as many as the number of coal miners. ‘Independent studies show that distributed solar benefits all ratepayers by preventing the need to build new, expensive power plants or transmission lines,’ said Matthew Kasper, a fellow at the Energy & Policy Institute, a pro-solar think tank. ‘Utilities make their money by building big, new infrastructure projects and then sending ratepayers the bill, which is exactly why utilities want to eliminate solar.’”

3-6-15  The Washington Post.  Clean Power Is Right for Virginia.  Opinion piece by Jon B. Wellinghoff, a past chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  “Domestic natural gas is cheap — for now. U.S. gas producers are selling locally produced gas at $3 per million British thermal units. But gas is sold for three times that much in Asia and Europe, and gas producers want to get that higher price. That’s why the United States is in an impressive build-out of 14 natural-gas export terminals that are set to come online over the next decade. For Virginia ratepayers, that means a cheap, local commodity will become an expensive, global commodity. The United States will export a commodity and import price volatility.  The question is not whether rates are going up; they are. The question is whether steps will be taken to cut the size of people’s utility bills. Virginia can do this, but the only path lies in building the capacity to use free fuel — sunlight and wind — and to make the electricity system far more efficient so less energy is wasted. Those are the steps the CPP [Clean Power Plan] standards encourage us to take.”

3-6-15  News Leader.  No Comment from Wintergreen on Pipeline Route.  “Construction for the line would require a 200-feet-wide clearance along the route through the George Washington National Forest and a 75-feet-wide clear-cut permanent easement above the buried line for maintenance. Dominion proposes to bore under the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway whichever location the company would choose, a company spokesman said.  The more northerly corridor proposed initially would have to separate underground bores with a trench through several thousand feet of private property. The alternate route, which would pass closer to Wintergreen, would intersect the trail eight miles to the southwest. It would require a horizontal drill beneath both the trail and parkway, which are closer together at that point, company spokesman Jim Norvelle wrote in an email.”

3-5-15  Nelson County Times.  Pipeline Opponents Commission Economic Study.  “Anti-pipeline groups Friends of Nelson and the Augusta County Alliance are commissioning an economic report to show the costs and impacts the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would have on the two counties, the groups announced Tuesday.  The two organizations recently hired Key-Log Economics LLC, out of Charlottesville, to conduct the study.  ‘Economies in both counties are based heavily on agriculture and tourism and rely on their quality water resources and scenic beauty,’ Ernie Reed, member of Friends of Nelson, said in a news release. ‘Property owners stand to have their properties devalued and their lives compromised. The business community will also suffer the consequences.’”

3-3-15  NBC 29.  Pipeline Economic Study.  “Groups in Nelson and Augusta Counties are working together to document the potential impact of Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Friends of Nelson and the Augusta County Alliance hired Charlottesville-based Key-Log Economics to perform a study on the pipeline’s economic impact.  The groups say the pipeline will hurt the area’s tourism-based businesses.”

3-3-15  The News Virginian.  Dominion’s Reach Has Gone Too Far.  Opinion piece by John Flannery, an attorney with the law firm of Campbell Flannery in Leesburg.  “Land owners in Nelson County, in the path of Dominion’s march, are challenging a state statute that denies them the right to object to Dominion trespassing on their land.  Dominion and our Attorney General insist that, while the Virginia Code contemplates Dominion requesting permission, Dominion doesn’t actually have to get permission.  This Alice-in-Wonderland fossil fuel fiction that our Attorney General has embraced, defending Dominion’s intent to trespass, in the absence of any right of way, when each landowner has withheld permission for Dominion to enter on his land, violates the personal land-owner’s constitutional right to be let alone. Landowners have rightly objected that the statute is, at best, vague, but they may also object that these trespassing surveyors are conducting unreasonable searches, depriving the landowners of their personal liberty and the use and enjoyment of their real property, and applying law unequally, when allowing Dominion to enjoy the unconsented right to trespass, a crime for virtually anyone else.  It’s high time that all Virginians, as well as the several states, tell their ‘elected’ reps that Dominion’s political reach has gone too far, or our neighborhoods may be the next toxic fossil fuel highway.”

3-2-15  Augusta Free Press.  Group:  Rush from Dominion Makes Regulatory Process a ‘Sham.’  “Property owners in Nelson County who first heard from Dominion that they were on the route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline just last Wednesday, discovered Friday that they had little time to give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission feedback.  The FERC announced on Friday, Feb. 27, that they were opening the ‘scoping’ period used to gather input about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline from the public and interested agencies and that they would hold a ‘scoping’ meeting in Nelson county on March 18…. Friends of Nelson believes the FERC should give more time before the scoping meeting and a longer scoping period. ‘The meeting is the most accessible and public venue for providing input to FERC – it should be scheduled at least a month after folks receive notice they are on the route,’ says Joanna Salidis, president of Friends of Nelson. ‘Furthermore, the scoping period itself should be 90 days, not 60, given the new additions, the length, and the complexity of the route through so much private property and pristine territory. Neither the public, nor the responsible state agencies have enough time to provide informed input.’”

3-2-2015  EcoWatch.  Constitution Pipeline:  ‘The Keystone Pipeline of Natural Gas.’  “A popular movement is building against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), for its outrageous rubber-stamping of permits for expansion of the gas industry. Kennedy’s powerful indictment of FERC on national television last week was the latest manifestation of this hopeful, much-needed development.  The leadership of FERC knows that they’ve got a problem. Here is how FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur put it at the National Press Club on Jan. 27:  ‘These groups are active in every FERC docket … as well as in my email inbox seven days a week, in my Twitter feed, at our open meetings demanding to be heard and literally at our door closing down First Street so FERC won’t be able to work. We’ve got a situation here.’”