May 2015 News

5-31-15  We Are Cove Point.  Hundreds March in Vibrant Protest of Dominion LNG Export Plan.  Opinion blog.  “Approximately 200 people participated today in what is believed to be the largest march Southern Maryland has ever seen, spanning six miles from Solomons Island to Lusby. They walked to show Dominion and government officials how much they value the health and safety of people in Southern Calvert County, who would be most impacted by Dominion’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and refinery should the project be completed.  Marchers included residents who live on Cove Point Road in Lusby — near the main facility site and near the offshore pier, which would see dramatically increased tanker traffic — as well as people who would be affected by other fracked-gas projects in Pennsylvania, Virginia and other states where infrastructure is proposed to be built to feed the proposed export terminal at Cove Point.”

5-28-15  The Roanoke Times.  Pipeline Contractors Face Trespassing Charges in Craig County.  “Two Ohio men conducting environmental surveys for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline project were arrested and charged Tuesday night with misdemeanor trespass in Craig County after being accused of crossing private properties to complete survey work in the Jefferson National Forest.… The men, driving a pickup, are accused of using a private road serving the Foxfire subdivision, a rural housing development near Craig County’s boundary with Montgomery County, to access the Jefferson National Forest to conduct environmental surveys along a possible pipeline route…. Foxfire resident Ken Broughman said the men had plants in their possession when they emerged from the national forest Tuesday afternoon but said he was unable to identify the plants’ species…. Ken Landgraf, natural resources group staff officer for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, said collecting plant samples could be acceptable practice under the special use permit granted to Mountain Valley to allow pipeline-related survey work in the Jefferson National Forest.  ‘It is common practice in conducting botanical surveys to collect samples of some plants to take back to the office/lab for identification,’ Landgraf said Wednesday.  But the collection of endangered or threatened plant species would not be allowed, he said.”

5-28-15  August Free Press.  Friends of Nelson Joins Grassroots Coalition Protesting FERC over Proposed Pipeline.  “Today, on the steps outside the Washington office of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Friends of Nelson is protesting what it calls FERC’s flagrant disregard for the public in the permitting process for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Nelson County residents have joined activists and organizations all over the East and Northeast in opposing what they feel is FERC’s abuse of its responsibility to fairly consider the public and their comments.”

5-28-15  Nelson County Times.  Supervisors Talk Floodplain Permitting Issues for Pipeline.  “The Nelson County Board of Supervisors is looking into whether the county would need a permit to allow construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline because the proposed route lies in a regulated floodplain.  Charles Kline, floodplain program planner with the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation, presented the board earlier this month with information on the county’s responsibilities regarding the pipeline and National Flood Insurance Program requirements.  ‘If a community does not enforce the requirements of the NFIP, they may be suspended from the program and could lose access to flood insurance for residents and businesses and access to different types of federal funding ranging from loans and grants to emergency disaster aid,’ Kline said…. The board took no official action on the topic, but members said they would continue to enforce the requirements of the county floodplain ordinance, as Kline recommended.”

5-27-15  The Telegraph.  Fossil Industry Faces a Perfect Political and Technological Storm.  “The political noose is tightening on the global fossil fuel industry. It is a fair bet that world leaders will agree this year to impose a draconian ‘tax’ on carbon emissions that entirely changes the financial calculus for coal, oil, and gas, and may ultimately devalue much of their asset base to zero. The International Monetary Fund has let off the first thunder-clap…. The killer point is that this architecture of subsidy is a ‘drag on economic growth’ as well as being a transfer from poor to rich. It pushes up tax rates and crowds out more productive investment. The world would be richer – and more dynamic – if the burning of fossils was priced properly.  This is a deeply-threatening line of attack for those accustomed to arguing that solar or wind are a prohibitive luxury, while coal, oil, and gas remain the only realistic way to power the world economy.”

5-27-15  The News Virginian.  More Adjustments Coming for Pipeline Route.  “In the next two months, more changes could be coming for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline route. During a conference call Wednesday morning, Dominion officials said they continue to look at different options and expect to make more changes.  ‘We are probably going to make several more [of] what I would consider minor adjustments, so we can co-locate on some electric transmission line routes,’ said Leslie Hartz, Dominion’s vice president of pipeline construction.  That doesn’t mean the project would follow the same routes as other planned pipelines, Hartz explained, as those other operations head off in different directions…. Those opposed to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project spent parts of this week in Washington, where they held protests outside of FERC headquarters.”

5-27-15  Business Insider.  Jim Chanos: There’s a ‘Disaster Waiting to Happen’ in the Oil and Gas Industry.  “Huge oil companies, among the largest businesses in the world, don’t excite hedge fund manager Jim Chanos because today they have to work harder and more inefficiently than ever to bring their products to market…. Further, he said, energy companies are now forced to ‘construct these enormously expensive LNG – liquefied natural gas – plants and increasingly add … risk to the portfolio where it just used to be much simpler. You know, drill somewhere and pull the oil out.’  All told, he said, he and other hedge fund managers have come to feel ‘really negative’ about integrated oil companies. As a result, he said, Kynikos is short-selling some of the most prominent energy giants because of a potential surplus of oil and gas that is a ‘disaster waiting to happen’ to the industry…. In a nutshell, Chanos replied, he would ‘short the North American frackers,’ whose oil and gas extraction process is so expensive.  ‘It’s a flawed business model,’ Chanos said.”

5-25-15  NBC 29.  Wintergreen Resort Joins Fight Against Proposed Pipeline Route.  “Nelson County’s largest employer is joining the opposition to Dominion Resource’s proposed path for a natural gas pipeline.  Wintergreen Resort is taking advantage of the long holiday weekend, when many out-of-town property owners and visitors come to the mountaintop, to rally opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  More than 550 people packed into the resort’s Skyline Pavilion Monday morning to learn about the potential impacts of the project on Wintergreen. Dominion has focused its plans on an alternate route across the mountain, and through the resort’s main entrance.  ‘This is the wrong path, and we’re joining with the citizens of the area to support them and work collaboratively with them,’ said Wintergreen Resort General Manager Hank Theiss.”

5-25-15  The Charlottesville Newsplex.  Businesses, Wintergreen Property Owners Take Stand Against Pipeline.  “Wintergreen Resort is taking a stand against the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  More than 550 Nelson County property and business owners rallied together at the resort Monday morning for a meeting on the potential impacts of the pipeline on area jobs, tourism, and the environment…. Wintergreen Resort’s general manager Hank Thiess said he wants to see Dominion use existing rights of way to build the pipeline.  He led the call to action Monday, advising property owners how they could stop the pipeline’s construction through writing local legislators and donating to pipeline opposition groups such as Friends of Nelson and All Pain, No Gain…. In response to Monday’s meeting, Dominion said the concerns of the Wintergreen property owners is important to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline team. In a statement, Dominion said it no longer plans to cross under the Wintergreen entrance road to minimize the construction impact.”

5-23-15  The Hill.  Feds Resist Push for Pipelines.  “The Obama administration is resisting a congressional push to establish new natural gas pipelines on federal lands in the eastern United States.  Lawmakers have introduced legislation to establish pathways for future pipelines. Supporters say it’ll speed up the permitting process for natural gas pipelines, helping the industry get its product to market more quickly and reducing energy prices for consumers…. But the Interior Department says it opposes the bill, arguing that it would limit public input on new pipeline projects, and calling its timelines too constricting.   MacArthur’s bill calls for establishing at least 10 ‘energy corridors,’ swatches of land on which energy transmission lines would be set up, in the eastern United States within two years. It would also speed up the permitting process and environmental reviews.  In testimony to a House subcommittee this week, Timothy Spisak, a Bureau of Land Management official, said that is ‘too short a timeline to adequately coordinate with states, tribes, and other federal partners, and the public.’  ‘The department is committed to providing full environmental review and public involvement opportunities … on proposals for the use of the nation’s public lands,’ he said.  Environmental groups are standing with the administration.  ‘I think that corridors across federal lands make sense, but they have to be designed in an inclusive process that draws heavily on input from the public,’ Greg Buppert, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, told the committee. ‘What this bill does is it cuts the public out of that process.’”

5-23-15  News Leader.  How the Pipeline Would Affect My Farm.  Opinion piece.  “In 1971 my grandparents, against their wishes, signed documents that allowed VEPCO (now known as Dominion) to build a high-power transmission line across their property…. The result of that project is still visible today for our family. Giant poles and lines are traversing our farm, marring one of the most beautiful views of the Allegheny Mountains to the west. The lines are a constant reminder of how Dominion has changed the landscape in our neighborhood…. Fast forward 44 years and Dominion is at our doorstep again, preaching the same story of economic development, prosperity and jobs. Again, we and our entire community of farmers and homeowners are at the mercy of the process of eminent domain that will allow Dominion to build a high-pressure gas pipeline through our properties if FERC approves it. Eminent domain should be reserved for those situations where everyone benefits. It was never intended to be used by a public company and its shareholders to gain a profit.  The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be out of sight, below the surface of the ground, but it will never be out of mind. Our way of life and the way we farm will be directly impacted. The value of property will be adversely affected forever.  Our farm consists of a greenhouse, poultry and grain operation. The potential path of the pipeline would cut through the middle of one of the most productive grain fields we farm. Construction would destroy the soil profile and render that land unproductive for many years. There is no way soil, once removed, can be replaced and not have an impact on productivity. In addition, at one of the Q & A meetings at Augusta Expo last fall, we were told we might not be allowed to traverse the pipeline with heavy farm equipment. This would have a severely negative impact on our farming operation.”

5-22-15  The Charlottesville Newsplex.  Wintergreen Resort General Manager Speaks out Against ACP.  “The general manager of Wintergreen Resort is taking a stand against the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Hank Thiess says he understands the importance of natural gas and becoming energy independent, but he does not support the proposed pipeline.  The route the pipeline could follow would go through Nelson County and the resort, on its way from West Virginia to North Carolina.”

5-21-15  Citizen-Times.  Study: Blue Ridge Mountains No. 1 in Nation for Conservation Priority.  “The Southern Blue Ridge Mountains have never been hotter.  And not just for kayaking and national park tourists. The mountains are a hot spot and topic of conversation in the conservation world, as climate change looms with its ominous ramifications such as shrinking coastlines, warming oceans, warming climate, shrinking habitat, increasing areas of drought, and wilder weather (think Hurricane Sandy).  The Blue Ridge Mountains — particularly the middle to southern sections, including the Cherokee, Nantahala, Pisgah, and Jefferson national forests — were just named No. 1 in an important new study released by the National Academy of Sciences.  The paper, ‘US protected lands mismatch biodiversity priorities,’ was published April 6 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, naming the Blue Ridge Mountains as the No. 1 priority in the United States for expansion of conservation.  ‘What’s so great about this study is it shows how disproportionate the conservation funding is nationally, compared to where the biodiversity is,’ said Brent Martin, Southern Appalachian Regional director for the Wilderness Society, based in Sylva.”

5-21-15  The Recorder.  Group Focused on Protecting Water from Pipeline.  “Last week, several water quality experts associated with the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition met with DEQ officials with questions about the agency’s role with regard to Dominion’s pipeline, and they left Richmond more concerned than ever — DEQ told them it simply does not have the resources to effectively and closely monitor water quality when pipeline construction is under way.  DEQ officials told The Recorder the same thing this week: it will review the project as one entire unit, but it does not have the staff to look specifically at multiple points along the pipeline’s path…. Spokesman Jim Norvelle … confirmed DEQ will not require a plan for its purposes. ‘The DEQ has informed Dominion that it intends to exempt the company from filing an E&S plan with the state under the oil and gas exemption in the U.S. Natural Gas Act for transmission pipelines and their associated facilities, as a matter of consistency,’ Norvelle said. ‘The DEQ said it had used the exemption for other pipeline projects in Virginia.’… One of the biggest concerns, according to the DPMC, is that without specific ESC plans, localities and citizens in Virginia affected by linear projects have no opportunity to review a plan before construction begins, nor gain access to the reviews and inspection reports that follow during construction…. Gaining public access to a specific ESC plan for the ACP is one of the coalition’s concerns, but more importantly, the DPMC worries about water quality protection when the fox seems to be guarding the hen house…. DEQ inspections are entirely complaint driven; in other words, DEQ doesn’t look at these projects until someone calls to tell them something is wrong.  ‘There is no actual oversight and enforcement of Virginia’s ESC and stormwater management requirements for pipeline construction,’ Webb said. ‘Dominion spokesmen have repeatedly stated that pipeline construction is highly regulated with respect to water resources protection, and our governor has promised that the ACP will not cause environmental harm. But it’s essentially a voluntary compliance system.’  Webb said the coalition has little reason to expect that pipeline companies, on their own, without independent oversight, will strictly comply with water-related laws and regulations.”

5-20-15  Augusta Free Press.  SELC Testifies Before Congress on the Need to Consider the Local Communities Impacted by Natural Gas Pipelines on Federal Lands.  “Southern Environmental Law Center Senior Attorney Greg Buppert testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on Wednesday on the failure of the proposed National Energy Security Corridors Act to account for the significant impacts that natural gas pipelines crossing federal lands would have on the surrounding local communities and private property. The proposed legislation would allow pipelines to be sited through federal lands without providing the general public an opportunity to weigh in…. In the last year private companies have proposed three large-diameter gas pipelines that would cut through western Virginia and scar the landscapes of public lands on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, Jefferson National Forest, and George Washington National Forest. These three separate pipeline plans are reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in isolation without consideration of the best way to meet the regional needs in the most streamlined and least harmful way.”

5-20-15  News Leader.  Analyze This: 5,000 Pages of Dominion Pipeline.  “Quicker than you can say Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Dominion dropped 5,400 pages of reports on the Federal Regulatory Commission’s desk Tuesday evening for the agency and public to ponder.  The reports, which are part of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline vetting process, came earlier than expected. Just last week Dominion gave FERC its responses to some 28,000 comments, including many from Augusta and Nelson County residents…. Many of Dominion’s responses deferred to 12 reports, all of which the company made available Tuesday night, If people felt they were getting vague answers before, they’ll feel deluged now…. ‘It’s mostly canned, non-specific responses,’ Augusta County Alliance Co-Chair Nancy Sorrells said after reading them…. Dominion filed its responses with a letter of endorsement from Consumer Energy Alliance, a non-governmental agency whose members include 90 energy providers and suppliers, including Dominion.  Close to 22,000 of the comments received by FERC came from signers of a CEA petition.  On that basis, Dominion prefaced its responses with a table showing overwhelming support for the pipeline.  A FERC spokesperson said such petitions are common on big energy projects, but dismissed their importance to FERC’s evaluation and approval of the project.  ‘This isn’t American Idol,’ she said.”

5-19-15  The Charlottesville Newsplex.  Nelson Residents React to New Proposed Pipeline Route.  “Dominion Resources has a new favored route for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline that still goes right through Nelson County…. That means many residents that thought they had avoided the pipeline are now in its direct path and facing potential lawsuits from Dominion if they don’t agree to let the company survey their property…. Chapin Wilson says it is emotional for him, because this is his home. He bought his land back in the 1960s and has lived there for years. In fact, it’s the resting place for many of his family members.  His wife, Janice Jackson, says there is no ideal place on their land to build the pipeline if she allows Dominion to survey. In fact, she says there is no ideal place in Nelson County.  ‘You can’t go anywhere in Nelson without having environmental, historical, and cultural impact,’ she said. ‘There are steep slopes, 100-year-flood plain, a number of wetlands, and rare wildflowers.’  For his part, Wilson feels the pipeline is being built for the wrong reasons, which Dominion disputes.  ‘Basically, it’s about how can we make some money off this stuff,’ said Wilson. ‘They don’t care a bit about what happens to the environment. This is a dangerous thing that they are doing. It will cause sea level to rise, it will cause increased storm activity, it will cause lightening thunderstorms, and it will change everything.’”

5-19-15  The News Virginian.  Dominion Picks Alternate Pipeline Route Segments for Nelson and Augusta Counties.  “Dominion Resources announced Monday that Atlantic Coast Pipeline will take several alternate route segments in Augusta and Nelson counties, the two counties where the project has faced the most opposition.… Nancy Sorrells of the Augusta County Alliance said the Augusta Industrial Park alternate goes through some industrial development land in the Stuarts Draft area. Sorrells said the Appalachian Trail South alternate goes through Augusta County’s water recharge area for the Lyndhurst production well, and through several sinkhole areas.  ‘They are doing this because it helps them get the route done as fast possible,’ Sorrells said. She said Dominion should put the pipeline closer to existing right of ways to mitigate the landowner impact…. Supervisor Tracy Pyles of the Pastures District said it is difficult to discern what the changes will mean for Augusta County until Dominion releases more concrete details.  ‘They were not working with us about what is important for us and what we find dangerous,’ Pyles said. ‘They often talk about meetings, but they are very limited in meeting with us and are very unresponsive.’”

5-19-15  The Roanoke Times.  Lovett: United in Opposition to Both Pipelines Proposed in Virginia.  Opinion piece.  “Overwhelmingly, opposition to the multiple 42-inch natural gas pipelines proposed for this region is unified and broad…. Preserve Floyd and other groups remain active because their opposition isn’t based on a ‘Not In My Back Yard’ mentality but an understanding that ongoing investments of this magnitude in a fossil-fuel infrastructure are shortsighted and will discourage development of clean, renewable energy sources.  It’s unclear whose agenda is served by attempting to create divisions where none truly exists or sew resentment among pipeline opponents, but it is both unfair and untrue to suggest that SELC is focused solely on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”

5-18-15  The Daily Progress.  Dominion Announces Several Alternate Route Segments for Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “The proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is being changed in two counties where the $5 billion project has faced the most opposition.  Dominion Resources Inc. announced Monday that the planned natural gas pipeline was shifting to a more-southern alternative route in Augusta and Nelson counties where it would cross the crest of the Blue Ridge, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail.  The pipeline’s route also would take a more-eastern route in Nelson, where it would pass the county seat of Lovingston…. Nancy Sorrells, a former Augusta supervisor and one of the leaders of the Augusta County Alliance opposition group, said the idea that Dominion has listened to residents there ‘laughable.’  Sorrells said her group remains troubled that only a minuscule portion of the pipeline route travels along existing rights-of-way instead of disturbing untouched land. And the new route doesn’t diminish the group’s concerns about the potential harm to much of the county’s drinking water, she said.  ‘The fact is, these are tiny variations on the singular route that they have put forth and refused to do much compromising on since the very beginning,’ she said. ‘If there is a pipeline, then it needs to be routed on a responsible route, not just an alternate route.’  Joanna Salidis, president of the Friends of Nelson group that opposes any route that goes through that county, said the alternate route doesn’t do anything to change her group’s position.  ‘They appear to be claiming that they are choosing these alternates as the preferred route in response to landowner and opposition opinions or things we’ve brought up,’ Salidis said.  ‘I don’t believe that’s the true reason that they’re choosing these alternatives. I think they’re choosing it like they’ve chosen the main route from the beginning because they perceive it as the easiest and quickest and most lucrative route for themselves.’”

5-18-15  The Charlottesville Newsplex.  Dominion Now Favors Alternate Route for ACP.  “Dominion says it now favors a new route for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  However, the underground pipeline will still go through Nelson County…. The pipeline will also go east of Lovingston to avoid areas that were damaged by Hurricane Camille in 1969…. Groups in Nelson and Augusta counties have been fighting the pipeline for months, saying it could poison water and ruin beautiful views.”

5-18-15  News Leader.  Dominion Shifts Proposed Pipeline Route Through County?  “Dominion Transmission today announced alternatives to the route it proposes for its Atlantic Coast Pipeline as it passes through Augusta County on its way from West Virginia to North Carolina…. Landowners in Augusta and Nelson Counties will know the alternate routes as the Augusta Industrial Park variation, the Appalachian Trail South alternate, the East of Lovingston Connector alternate and the East of Lovingston alternate, Hartz said…. The main reason for the change is that it would take an act of Congress to get permission to cross National Park Service lands. Although Dominion isn’t dropping the route it previously proposed, Norvelle said that route is now seen as the alternate.”

5-18-15  Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Atlantic Coast Pipeline Picks Several Alternate Route Segments.  “The controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline will take an alternate route for several segments in two counties where it has faced the most opposition, Dominion Resources Inc. announced today.  Dominion is working with Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas to build the proposed 550-mile pipeline to bring low-cost natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina. But the plan has been met with protests and stiff resistance.  The proposed changes are located in Nelson and Augusta counties, with Dominion saying the changes ‘potentially have less impact to environmental historical and cultural resources than the initial route.’… It said landowners would know the alternatives as the Augusta Industrial Park variation, the Appalachian Trail South alternate, the East of Lovingston Connector alternate and the East of Lovingston alternate.”

5-18-15  EcoWatch.  Ted Glick: It’s Time to Stop FERC’s Rubber Stamping of Fracking Infrastructure Projects.  “FERC has more to do with fracking than any other federal agency, and much more than any one state. They approve interstate pipelines to carry fracked gas, compressor stations to push the gas along, storage terminals to store it and, for the last two years, export terminals to ship it around the world. Without this infrastructure, fracking wouldn’t be happening.  Norman Bay is not stupid. He knows this. And yet, because FERC has been a target of nonviolent direct action for more than 10 months, organized by Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE), and because BXE is planning a return to FERC from May 21-29, he has been thrown off, saying and doing things that have not been helpful to resolve ‘the situation’ they are now in…. I was contacted by a reporter after this action, wanting to know why BXE was engaged in this campaign, where it came from. I proceeded to explain to him that it had emerged out of years of experience by lots of grassroots people trying to get a fair hearing from FERC concerning pipelines, compressors and storage and export terminals being proposed for their communities. These are people who played by FERC’s rules, going to the one public meeting attended by FERC staff to learn about the proposed project, becoming an official ‘intervenor,’ presenting well-researched arguments against proposed infrastructure projects, filing large numbers of comments with FERC, appealing a FERC decision within the FERC administrative process and the results were always the same: FERC approval of what the gas industry wanted.”

5-17-15  USA Today.  U.S. Natural Gas Projects Face Keystone-Like Resistance.  “The U.S. is producing record amounts of natural gas, a fuel widely viewed as cleaner and preferable to coal for electric power generation. But building the infrastructure necessary to bring that fuel to market is increasingly difficult for the industry.  That was the message from industry executives at an ‘Infrastructure Week’ event held in Washington by America’s Natural Gas Alliance, an industry group.  Among them was Diane Leopold, the president of Dominion Energy, whose company is proposing a 550-mile gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina and just got final government approval to export liquefied natural gas from a plant in Maryland…. TransCanada, the pipeline company that would build Keystone, has been awaiting U.S. government approval for more than six years now, with no decision in sight. Opposition by landowners along the route of the proposed pipeline and environmental groups has turned Keystone into one of the most controversial energy projects ever in the U.S.   Similar opposition is shaping up against the ACP project.  ‘These aren’t new issues,’ Durbin said of questions over safety and property access that are common to energy projects. ‘These are things that pipeline developers have had to deal with for a long time. But we’ve seen a change in the debate. I hesitate to put it this way, but call it the Keystone-ization of every pipeline project that’s out there, that if you can stop one permit, you can stop the development of fossil fuels. That’s changing the way we have to manage these projects.’  Dominion Energy, a subsidiary of Richmond, Va.-based Dominion Resources, is already feeling the heat over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which it proposed last year. Just recently, opponents targeted Dominion Resources’ annual shareholders meeting.”

5-15-15  Style Weekly. Wild Virginia Group Turned Away: Dominion Riverrock Organizers Say Thanks But No Thanks to Pipeline Protestors.  “Wild Virginia, a Charlottesville-based environmental group critical of Dominion Resources’s efforts to build a $5 billion natural gas pipeline in sensitive Appalachian Mountain areas, is unwelcome at a Richmond outdoor sports and music festival sponsored by the utility.  The group had sent out emails saying that it had arranged for a table at Dominion Riverrock, the three-day festival starting today, so it could ‘tell the truth’ about Dominion.  In a story about Dominion published May 12, Style noted the group’s plans. The next day, Megan Schultz, events manager for Sports Backers, which is putting on Riverrock, informed Wild Virginia that its application for a vendor table had been rejected. She included a credit for the $1,200 entry fee…. Misty Boos, a member of Wild Virginia, said, ‘It looks like we are not welcome at Riverrock.’  She said earlier that her group had toured mountain areas where Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline would traverse. She said the project seemed like it would be highly damaging to the environment.”

5-14-15  DCMediaGroup.  Dozens Denied Access to FERC Public Meeting.  “On May 14, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in its monthly open meeting took up the issue of the electrical grid’s vulnerability to geomagnetic disturbances. But the government agency’s own vulnerability to public disturbance was front and center.  Federal Protective Services took extraordinary measures to prevent disruption of the Commission meeting by planned protests, barring access to about 30 members of the public…. FERC’s actions occurred after the last several Commission meetings were disrupted by protesters who object to FERC’s no holds barred approval of gas infrastructure projects, such as interstate gas pipelines. May’s meeting was originally scheduled for Thursday, May 21, but it was moved up a week to thwart a protest planned by coalition group Beyond Extreme Energy, which has stepped up the pressure on the formerly obscure agency…. FERC’s actions have become controversial as a tidal wave of infrastructure to transport gas produced by hydraulic fracking intrudes on property owners and communities. FERC never fails to approve pipelines, earning it the nickname ‘rubberstamp agency.’  Frustrated by FERC’s intransigent bureacracy, those affected by giant pipelines, compressor stations and LNG terminals around the country are now circumventing the process…. Last November, FERC headquarters was blockaded for an entire work week by demonstrators intent on proving that gas infrastructure projects are negatively impacting their communities. More protests are planned later this month. Beyond Extreme Energy predicts that more than 500 people will participate in the protests.”

5-14-15  Richmond Times-Dispatch.  U.S. Regulators Reject Request for More Hearings on Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “Federal regulators have rejected a request by Virginia’s U.S. senators and a congressman for additional public hearings on the proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline.  In April, Sens. Timothy M. Kaine and Mark R. Warner, both Democrats, and Rep. Robert Hurt, R-5th, said they wanted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to allow more time and public hearings in order for opponents of the project to have their say, particularly in Nelson and Augusta counties…. In a separate letter to Warner, Bay said that while he regrets that not all who wished to got to speak at previous meetings, the commission will not hold additional hearings.  ‘FERC staff has concluded that, based on the 10 scoping meetings that have been held in locations along the pipeline and the over 2,000 written comments received, it has been able to fully identify the issues surrounding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project and that additional meetings would not be likely to bring new matters to light,’ Bay wrote.  ‘Therefore, FERC staff does not plan to hold additional scoping meetings regarding the project.’  The senators’ offices said in a joint statement Thursday evening: ‘While FERC has assured them that verbal and written comments will receive equal consideration, Senators Kaine and Warner are disappointed that FERC will not be holding additional public scoping meetings on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  With that said, both senators plan to follow up with FERC in the coming weeks to give voice to a number of the key issues raised with them and their staffs by Virginians with concerns about this project.’”

5-14-15  News Leader.  ‘Powerless’ over County Power Line.  “Residents at Wednesday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting described feeling powerless over the impact Dominion Virginia Power’s new transmission line has made in their backyards.  They weren’t the only ones feeling that way…. ‘Records of what was provided to the counties, including the SCC filings and what was provided to county administrator Pat Coffield in Augusta County, reflect that the counties were told the towers would be smaller,’ Baumann wrote in a letter to the supervisors read for him by Faye Cooper on Wednesday night.  ‘At no point were counties told multiple towers would be taller than 150 feet, let alone over 160 feet tall, let alone 174 feet tall — which they are,’ Baumann claims. ‘At no point were counties told to expect triple towers, which we now have.’…  ‘If we can’t trust what’s before us, how can we trust what we won’t see for years to come?’ said Drew Richardson of Riverheads, equating the transmission line with what could happen with another Dominion project, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, proposed to run through Augusta County on its way from West Virginia to North Carolina.”

5-14-15  NBC 29.  Report Suggests Majority Support Dominion’s Proposed Pipeline.  “Dominion Resources and opposition groups to its planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline are reacting to public comments about the project.  The energy company published an analysis received throughout the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) scoping process earlier this week.  Dominion’s analysis report shows that around 23,000 comments were in favor of the natural gas pipeline project, around 5,000 were against it, and roughly 200 were classified as neutral.  The purpose of the scoping process through FERC is to gather information on specific impacts the project could have. Opposition groups say whether people are for or against the pipeline shouldn’t play a factor…. ‘If people didn’t say pro or con, which was not the purpose in the first place, they wouldn’t end up in Dominion’s accounting at all. And for them to spend so much of their response to environmental impact statement to look at that is really disingenuous, and shifts the focus away from what’s really important,’ said Ernie Reed with Friends of Nelson.”

5-14-15  The Intelligencer, Wheeling News-Register.  PSC: ‘Wet Spring’ Led to Pipeline Ruptures.  “Seven natural gas pipelines have ruptured across northern West Virginia over the last month, the state’s chief pipeline inspector said Wednesday…. ‘They fall into the unregulated gathering line category,’ Mary Friend, pipeline safety director for the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, said while addressing members of the state’s Oil and Natural Gas Association at Oglebay Park…. PSC spokeswoman Susan Small previously said the vast majority of Mountain State pipelines fall into Class 1, which she said means there are 10 or fewer occupied buildings within 220 yards on any side of the pipeline.  This describes rural areas, home to nearly all pipelines. If they lines are considered Class 1, she said no inspections take place.”

5-13-15  Richmond Times-Dispatch.  McClellan: Dominion’s “Step Back” on Offshore Wind Has Left Virginians Wondering.  Opinion piece.  “On Earth Day last month, Gov. Terry McAuliffe praised offshore wind energy for its job-creation potential for Virginia. The governor likely had not been told by Dominion Power that 24 hours later the utility would decide to ‘take a step back’ from the much-touted offshore wind demonstration project based on a single bid for the project’s construction…. A recent study jointly released by the University of Delaware’s Special Initiative on Offshore Wind and the state of New York shows a clear path for states to affordably take advantage of the significant job-creation potential of offshore wind.  That study is backed up by the extensive experience the offshore wind industry has had in Europe, where nearly 10 gigawatts of offshore wind energy has been deployed, enough to power more than 5 million households and employ 154,000 people…. It’s also worth noting that a large majority of Virginians (64 percent) wants these resources developed…. Finally, Virginia has to decide to how to meet the new federal Clean Power Plan standards. While the commonwealth has a lot of flexibility on how to do that, a smart response will be based on cutting energy waste and building clean energy sources to protect against future price hikes in natural gas. This path will drop people’s utility bills while growing a significant job base and entire new industries…. There’s a viable path to seize the opportunity in front of us, and the governor is right to see it and push for it. The sooner Dominion can draw on experienced experts to chart a clear path forward, the sooner Virginians can reap the significant economic benefits that offshore wind energy offers.”

5-13-15  Nelson County Times.  Realtors: Proposed Pipelines Already Affecting Real Estate Sales.  “Business and landowners in the path of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline are worried about how their real estate and property values would be impacted by the Dominion Resources project that would run from West Virginia through Nelson County and into North Carolina.  Time after time, Dominion has dismissed these claims and said studies have been completed finding no evidence that the pipeline would result in decreased property values.  But several area real estate agents have said they already have seen property sales impacted by the as of yet unapproved and unconstructed pipeline.”

5-12-15  Style Weekly.  Spikes and Valleys: The Financial Wins and Environmental Challenges Facing Dominion Resources.  “Dominion — the state’s top corporate donor to politicians — is facing the strongest opposition from multiple fronts in years.  Some homeowners bitterly oppose the $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline that will carry controversial fracked natural gas over sensitive mountain habitat from West Virginia to North Carolina. The company’s taking heat on its LNG plant at Cove Point, Maryland. And it’s facing criticism for sticking with fossil fuel and nuclear plants while seeming to ignore such renewables as wind projects…. Environmentalists are suspect of the build-out because it seems to avoid renewable energy and sticks ratepayers with older, more polluting generation that Dominion claims is cheaper. ‘We’re just extremely disappointed that Dominion is choosing the dirty power path,’ says Glen Besa, executive director of the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club.  Another Sierra Club official, Ivy Main, a Northern Virginia lawyer, says that Dominion makes allusions toward renewables but seems to pull away. The utility had won kudos when it announced a $230 million plan to erect two six-megawatt wind turbines offshore of Virginia Beach.  But when Dominion auctioned for contractors, it got only one bid. It was from $375 million to $400 million — about double what Dominion had planned, so it halted the project. Getting just one bid is suspect, Main says, adding, ‘we wonder if it was set up to fail.’”

5-12-15  StateImpact: NPR.  As Gas Boom Cuts into Forests, Scientists Study How to Put It Back Together.  “In the seven years since Marcellus Shale gas companies began working in Pennsylvania’s state forests, none of the nearly 1,700 affected acres has been fully restored and put back the way it was before drilling began.  Now state foresters and Penn State scientists are trying to plan for the future and help gas companies figure out the best ways to clean up after themselves…. The research team will be watching this patch of land for a long time, to see which techniques work best. It could be decades, or even generations until the state’s forests are fully restored from Marcellus development.”

5-12-15  The Charlottesville Newsplex.  Response to Pipeline Comments Submitted.  “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC filed its response Tuesday to comments submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…. According to a release, the company says the top fives issues of concern are waterbodies, route alternatives, emissions, safety and water supply.”

5-11-15  News Leader.  Cyclists Dazzled by Pipeline Route’s Beauty.  “Coming from mostly urban schools, some of the cyclists on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Resistance Ride had never seen land so pristine. Pitching camp next to Jack and Mary Wilson’s home alongside George Washington National Forest, they got their first lesson from the couple on human impact on plant and animal life.  The Wilsons, who hope to open a refurbished White’s Wayside this summer, showed them American Chestnut saplings that will never make it to maturity because of a blight that befell the trees 100 years ago. They spoke of their declining bat population and white-tailed deer, both plagued by diseases that spread as species migrate to avoid human disruptions like logging trucks — or pipeline construction.  But the students didn’t need convincing by the Wilsons, who have been outspoken in opposing the natural gas pipeline from West Virginia that is planned to go through their property en route to North Carolina.  ‘I think the students are in line with our environmental concerns,’ Jack Wilson said. ‘They’re looking ahead to their grandchildren.'”

5-8-15  NBC 29.  UVA Students Join ‘Resistance Ride’ Against Proposed Pipeline.  “College students from across Virginia are teaming up to start their own protest to Dominion Resources’ Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  The students will participate in a 10-day resistance ride along the proposed route for the natural gas pipeline. The 30 riders are part of a group called the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition.  They’re joining the movement against the energy company’s project, and hope to raise awareness in the communities the pipeline could affect.  The bicyclists start their 332-mile ride on Sunday morning in Augusta County.  Students from seven colleges, including the University of Virginia, James Madison University and Virginia Commonwealth University are participating in the ride.  Along the way, they’re stopping in different communities to hear stories about how the pipeline will impact the region.”

5-8-15  Power for the People VA.  Opinion blog.  In Reversal, Virginia AG Says Localities May Ban Fracking.  “Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring issued an official advisory opinion on May 5 holding that Virginia localities have the right to prohibit hydraulic fracturing (or ‘fracking’) as part of their power to regulate land use within their boundaries. The letter reverses a two-year-old opinion by former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.  Herring’s opinion cites §15.2-2280 of the Virginia Code, which grants broad zoning powers to localities. These include the power to ‘regulate, restrict, permit, prohibit, and determine’ land uses, such as ‘the excavation or mining of soil or other natural resources.’ Thus, writes Herring, ‘I conclude that the General Assembly has authorized localities to pass zoning ordinances prohibiting fracking. The plain language of the stature also authorizes localities to regulate fracking in instances where it is permitted.’”

5-8-15  The Free Lance-Star.  Localities Can Prohibit Fracking, Virginia Attorney General Rules.  ” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring declared Friday that counties have the authority to prohibit fracking—exactly opposite of what the same office ruled two years ago.  Herring said he believes the General Assembly and the Code of Virginia both ‘permit localities to prohibit fracking operations through duly enacted land use or zoning ordinances.’”

5-8-15  Natural Gas Intelligence.  Pipelines Emphasize Early, Dedicated Outreach Against Growing Protests to Construction.  “Finding ways to dampen escalating opposition to natural gas and oil development requires a lot of face time, town halls, dinners and no fear, according to a public outreach coordinator with Williams…. Money alone isn’t enough to plug a rising tide of opposition to just about anything involving gas and oil development. Amy Myers Jaffe, executive director of Energy and Sustainability at the University of California, Davis, told an audience at the Gas Processors Association last month protesters are more informed, with politics ‘increasingly local’ regarding the environmental movement.”

5-8-15  Politico:  Morning Energy.  FERC Moves May Meeting to Avoid Protestors.  “FERC has moved up its monthly May meeting at the recommendation of federal law enforcement in order to avoid planned large-scale protests. The commissioner’s regularly scheduled monthly public meeting had been slated to take place on May 21, but because of plans for protest actions involving potentially hundreds of people, FERC has moved up the meeting to next Thursday, May 14. The decision was made after a recommendation from the Federal Protective Service ‘to better ensure the safety of its staff and the public during the protests planned for May 21 at FERC headquarters,’ FERC spokesman Craig Cano wrote in an email.  About the protests: An umbrella group called Beyond Extreme Energy that charges FERC is a ‘rubber stamp’ for the energy industry has long planned a weeklong series of protests and other events to coincide with FERC’s May meeting. Those events begin on May 21 and last until May 29, and could include nonviolent arrests. FERC has increasingly found itself the target of climate protestors and others opposed to expanding natural gas use and exports, and has taken steps to limit disruptions at its public meetings. The commissioners argue that they have a specific, limited role granted by Congress to review proposed projects that means FERC is not an environmental regulator.”

5-8-15  WTVR 6.  Va. College Students to Bike 332 Miles, Along Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “On Saturday, May 9, a group of 30 students begin a 10-day, 332-mile bicycle journey along Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  The ride, officially called the ‘Atlantic Coast Pipeline Resistance Ride’  starts in West Augusta County and ends in Norfolk on May 19. The student group behind the event is the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition, a network that works toward ‘environmental justice’ in the Commonwealth…. The group will use social media to document the ride, and to highlight the concerns of landowners.”

5-7-15  The Daily Progress.  Forest Service Approves More Pipeline Surveys.  “Officials can now survey additional routes for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in parts of the George Washington National Forest. On Wednesday, the Forest Service gave Dominion and its partners a special use permit to survey 4.4 miles of new routes through the forest, areas that include parts of Highland and Augusta counties.  Those surveys are to identify wetlands, water, soil and suitable habitat for sensitive species, including any federally protected plants and animals. Under terms of the permit, the surveys will be done within the next year.”

5-7-15  StateImpact: NPR.  Environmentalists Sue FERC over Cove Point LNG Project.  “Environmental groups filed a lawsuit in federal court today challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG export terminal in Lusby, MD. FERC had granted approval to the $3.8 billion project back in September, and construction on expanding the idled import terminal into an export terminal began in October. But environmental groups had sought to halt construction, and force FERC to consider the upstream impacts of an export facility on Marcellus Shale development. FERC rejected those arguments in a decision posted Monday…. Frustration and anger among activists has mounted against FERC in recent years as the natural gas industry expands infrastructure to serve the booming Marcellus Shale production in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Protests against the agency have grown. Lawsuits have been filed against FERC’s approval of several pipeline projects. And suits are pending against other planned export terminals. Environmentalists say FERC simply rubber stamps natural gas pipeline and export projects.”

5-7-15  StateImpact: NPR.  FERC Rejects Environmentalists Appeal on Cove Point LNG Exports.  “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has denied a request by several environmental groups to halt construction on Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG export terminal in Lusby, MD and conduct a more thorough environmental review. Environmentalists have been fighting the conversion of the mothballed import terminal into an import/export facility, saying FERC should consider the environmental impact of upstream Marcellus Shale production…. Ryan Talbott, an attorney and executive director of the Allegheny Defense Project, says he wasn’t surprised by FERC’s decision.  ‘One of the problems with FERC’s environmental analysis, and every analysis they do whether it’s for compressor stations or pipelines, is it’s all being done to develop to Marcellus and Utica shales,’ said Talbott. ‘Under federal law they have an obligation to consider the cumulative effects.’”

5-6-15  Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Dominion Shareholders Pepper CEO with Questions About the Proposed Natural Gas Pipeline.  “Opponents of a 500-mile natural gas pipeline targeted Dominion Resources Inc.’s annual shareholders meeting Wednesday, with more than 100 protesters picketing outside and others who will be affected directly asking the company’s top executive to halt the plan.  Thomas F. Farrell II, the chairman, president and CEO of the Richmond-based energy giant, called the planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline a necessity during comments to investors outlining the company’s strategy for the next six years.  The $4.5 billion to $5 billion pipeline will carry natural gas from the abundant shale fields of West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina, but it has drawn the ire of environmental groups and rural Virginia residents who do not want the line to run through their property…. After one of the shareholder’s questions, Farrell said he was somewhat surprised that the company was not receiving more praise for all the work it has already done to reduce pollution and increase its portfolio of renewable energy.  Stockholders rejected seven shareholder proposals that would have, among other things, required Dominion to outline the financial risks posed by climate change, tied executive compensation to reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, and scraped the idea of building a third nuclear reactor at its North Anna plant in Louisa County.”

5-6-15  The Virginian-Pilot.  Protestors Target Dominion’s Proposed Gas Pipeline.  “About 150 protesters gathered outside Dominion Virginia Power’s annual shareholders meeting Wednesday morning and accused the company of ‘dirty energy investments’ and ‘dirty politics.’  Many of them came by bus from counties in the path of a proposed $5 billion natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina. Dominion says the pipeline is essential for meeting Virginia’s energy demands.  Protesters held signs, made speeches and chanted outside Dominion’s Innsbrook Technical Center near Richmond.  Joanna Salidis, a stay-at-home mom and a volunteer in Nelson County who lives half a mile from a proposed pipeline route, said the plan is troublesome for several reasons.  First, the community is worried about safety, she said, citing several pipeline explosions so far this year.  Also, she said, the county’s mountain scenery, pristine environment and local breweries are a key part of its tourist appeal. Industrial infrastructure diminishes that, she said, and would threaten part of the area’s economy.  Last, Dominion has made no legitimate effort at promoting renewable energy, she said.  ‘Many people feel that if we saw them doing what, for example, many utilities in California do, and they still say, ‘We absolutely need this fracked gas transmission line,’ they would have more credibility. But they do the opposite of that. They do everything they can to suppress alternatives.’  Dominion has touted its plans to test two wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach. But last month, the company said it would delay the plan because it would cost far more than originally estimated – at least $375 million, instead of $230 million.  Protesters noted Dominion hasn’t cited cost as a problem for its planned third nuclear reactor at the company’s North Anna Power Station.”

5-6-15  The Charlottesville Newsplex.  Pipeline Protestors at Dominion Shareholders Meeting.  “There was another round of protests Wednesday against Dominion’s planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Protesters moved their efforts to the company’s Glen Allen campus, where it is holding an annual shareholders meeting.  More than 150 protesters from across Virginia and Maryland were there, with about 50 of them coming from counties along the path of the ACP.  They brought with them an inflatable pipeline to give people an idea of the scale of the project.  A member of the group Friends of Nelson County, Joanna Salidis, attended the protests to ask the company to stay off residents’ property.  She said, ‘The vast majority of people in our county have made it plain as day that we are deeply opposed of the pipeline in our county, but Dominion keeps coming and coming and coming.'”

5-6-15  Politico.  President Obama’s Pipeline Safety Agency Waits for a Leader.  “President Barack Obama has blown past the legal deadline to name a permanent boss for the agency that oversees the safety of the nation’s oil trains and fossil-fuel pipelines — while potentially life-or-death regulations continue to sit in limbo.  It’s part of a pattern for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, where an internal structure that gives deference to industry has helped stymie safety initiatives for years, even as pipeline accidents have caused more than 170 deaths, 670 injuries and $5 billion in property damage during the past decade. Critics say the agency is in dire need of an overhaul — and want Obama to appoint a leader who’s willing to carry one out.”

5-5-15  Augusta Free Press.  Friends of Nelson Asks Dominion Board of Directors, Stockholders to Drop Plans for Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “On Wednesday morning, on the steps outside the Dominion Resources Board of Directors and Shareholders Meeting, Friends of Nelson will ask that Dominion drop its plans to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  ‘Nelson County property owners want Dominion to respect that no means no,’ said Joanna Salidis, president of Friends of Nelson. ‘We want Dominion to uphold their claim that eminent domain is a method of last resort – not a gift from the government to maximize profit on the backs of unwilling private property owners and communities.’  ‘Landowners in these communities do not want this pipeline,’ said Ernie Reed of Friends of Nelson. ‘This pipeline as proposed would tear apart communities, businesses and properties in Nelson, Augusta, Buckingham and Highland Counties and continue across the entire state. Dominion’s lawsuits to force access for surveying reveal they have no compassion for Virginia landowners and no interest in limiting the force they will use to seize private property by eminent domain for their own corporate profits.’”

5-5-15  WHSV-TV3.  Students Create Anti-Pipeline Film.  “Some James Madison University students turned a class project into a documentary film being watched across the commonwealth.  The film is about the fight against the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline project and it was shown at Court Square Theater Monday night.  Four student filmmakers worked on ‘Won’t Pipe Down’ for nine months. They teamed up with Wild Virginia, a non-profit that fights to preserve Virginia national forests and wild forest ecosystems.  Abby Riggleman, one of the filmmakers, said that this story was personal for her because her family lives in Nelson County and would be impacted by the pipeline.  ‘I think it became a personal story,’ said Riggleman. ‘We wanted to tell this story well. We’ve never really thought of it as just a project, we thought of it about something we had to do.'”

5-4-15  The Baltimore Sun.  Court Halts Stream Crossings by Natural Gas Pipeline in Baltimore County.  “A Baltimore County judge stopped completion — at least temporarily — of a 21-mile natural gas pipeline through northern Baltimore and Harford counties, declaring that state regulators failed to do enough to protect environmentally sensitive waterways and historic properties in the controversial project’s path.  Circuit Judge Justin J. King ordered the Maryland Department of the Environment to revise the permit it issued last year to Columbia Gas Transmission to lay a 26-inch pipeline from Owings Mills to Fallston. King said state regulators failed to spell out safeguards the company must follow in crossing rivers and streams, making it impossible to tell if the project meets state and federal water-quality regulations.”

5-4-15  The Charlottesville Newsplex.  “Won’t Pipe Down” Screens at UVa.  “Since May 2014, a continuous battle has waged on between Dominion Resources and opponents strongly against the company’s proposed natural gas pipeline.  The route of the pipeline would cut through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina affecting landowners in several county’s on the way.  Abby Riggleman, a junior film major at James Madison University teamed up with fellow students Daniel Mcnew, Marley Mcdonald and Art Pekun to film ‘Won’t Back Down’ [sic] when she found out her family’s Nelson County home would potentially be affected…. President of environmental conservation organization Wild Virginia, Ernie Reed is concerned with the effect the pipeline would have on national forests.  ‘This is an interest to everybody in Virginia,’ he said. ‘Because these are public lands, they belong to everyone in the United States so we’re advocating the highest values that these national forests could possibly have that serve everybody, not just a pipeline or natural gas company.'”

5-3-15  Politico.  Pipeline Politics: Virginia’s Keystone?  “The pipeline opponents say their fight is neither Republican nor Democratic, and Anderson said his campaign against Atlantic Coast is ‘not mutually exclusive’ with the overwhelming GOP support for Keystone. He notes that Dominion could use condemnation to acquire access to private property for the project if it can’t work out agreements with the owners.  ‘A lot of conservatives oppose this pipeline — eminent domain for a pipeline that’s not providing any true public utility,’ Anderson said. He added: ‘The XL debate obviously has raised talking points about pipelines to a higher level, but in many ways they are not germane to this issue in Virginia. It’s a different type of pipeline, a different sort of need.’  Still, Atlantic Coast’s opponents acknowledge the parallels with the anti-Keystone push that has pitted President Barack Obama against a chorus of GOP lawmakers in Washington. The dispute is also a reminder of how Keystone has changed the politics of pipelines nationwide, offering a template that activists from New England to Minnesota and Wisconsin are using to grind projects to a halt.  ‘In some ways, I think we’re not too far from the crowd of folks who say, ‘No pipelines, nowhere,’’ said campaign co-Chairwoman Charlotte Rea, an Air Force veteran and self-described independent. ‘We have a lot of common ground with those folks, more common ground probably than we do differences.’  The activists leading the fight against the Alberta-to-Texas Keystone XL project say: Welcome aboard, Virginians.  ‘Any effort to slow the building of new fossil fuel infrastructure is a blow for climate sanity at this point,’ said Bill McKibben, co-founder of the group 350.org.”

5-3-15  The News Virginian.  ACP: Pipeline Construction Presents Challenges.  “Building the 554-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline wouldn’t be easy.  In fact, for some, construction could raise more concerns than the concept itself, as some of the work would have to be carried out in steep mountain ranges in West Virginia and Highland, Augusta and Nelson counties in Virginia…. a bigger pipeline could create larger problems in the event of an accident, Virginia Tech geochemistry professor Robert Bodnar said. The engineers who designed the larger pipeline would have to use different criteria and the safety measures would need to be more rigorous, Bodnar said.  ‘The bigger the pipeline diameter, the more significant any type of accident would be,’ he said. ‘If there were to be a leak from an eight-inch pipeline and an explosion, it would be much less significant than what would occur with a 42-inch pipeline.’”

5-3-15  The News Virginian.  Dominion Puts Price Tag on Connections.  “Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle said the cost of a tap on the pipeline would be $500,000. A metering and regulation station also would be required, driving the total expense to $5 million to $8 million, Norvelle said. In most instances, the bill would be footed by large-volume customers, said Dominion spokesman Frank Mack.  ‘That relieves the local community of having to invest in facilities to serve customers,’ Mack said.  If that doesn’t happen, many rural cities and counties would be left out.  Augusta County, for example, would not have the money in reserve to pay the full cost of a pipeline tap, said Economic Development Director Amanda Glover.”

5-2-15  The Daily Progress.  Center of the State, Buckingham Finds Itself in Middle of Pipeline Battle.  “Carlos B. Arostegui knows the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is headed for the back pasture of Whispering Creek Farm, a 184-acre spread where he grazes Jersey cows for a fledgling micro-dairy here.  Arostegui is more afraid of what he doesn’t know — the siting of a 31,515-horsepower natural gas compressor station that he is convinced the pipeline company plans to build on property about a mile from his front door.  ‘So I get the double whammy,’ he said, standing in the farm milking shed. ‘Not only does it take out my biggest pasture, I get to live the rest of my life with a compressor station.’  The location of the compressor station is an undetermined but critical link in the $5 billion, 550-mile natural gas pipeline proposed to run through Buckingham, the geographical heart of Virginia, now in the middle of an escalating political battle between powerful energy interests and people in the project’s path. Dominion Transmission Inc., leader of a limited liability company that includes North Carolina’s biggest electricity producer and gas distributors in Hampton Roads and North Carolina, won’t confirm that it has found a site for the compressor station, which would need at least 75 acres as a buffer around the five- to seven-acre operation.  ‘We’re still looking for one,’ said Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle, who said the company has sent notification letters to the owners of 85 Buckingham owners of properties within a half-mile of potential sites.  But the company acknowledges what opponents know — the station would have to be built near the existing Transco interstate pipeline through which the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would connect to reach big users in North Carolina, and ship gas on the major transmission artery between the Gulf Coast and Northeastern markets.”

5-1-15  The Charlottesville Newsplex.  Dominion Facing Deadline to Respond to Pipeline Comments.  “Dominion officials have two weeks to respond to all of the comments submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  The 550-mile pipeline would carry natural gas from West Virginia, through Virginia, and into North Carolina. It has faced strong opposition in Nelson and Augusta counties, where homeowners are concerned that the pipeline will destroy the natural beauty of the area.  Dominion spokesperson Jim Norvelle said the company has until May 12 to respond to each comment submitted to FERC.  He admitted that most of the comments received are negative…. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe maintained his support for the pipeline during his monthly radio show on WRVA earlier this week, but he said Dominion needs to be careful about choosing a path.  ‘I support the pipeline, the job creation,’ McAuliffe said. ‘But it’s got to protect our environment. Let’s pick the best route that doesn’t affect the homeowners.’  Charlotte Rea, who is a member of All Pain, No Gain, a group opposed to the pipeline, said McAuliffe’s comments are encouraging because they show he is listening to homeowners’ concerns.  ‘The only acceptable route is one that uses existing right of ways or natural gas infrastructure to the maximum extent possible,’ Rea said.”