September 2015 News

9-30-15  Charlottesville Newsplex.  Protest on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “A group of protesters gathered in front of the Dominion building on Hydraulic Road Wednesday to protest the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Anger over the 554-mile proposed natural gas pipeline isn’t diminishing as time goes by.  Friends of Nelson is a group formed to oppose Dominion’s plans, and the protest was a way of keeping members’ opposition to the project in the public eye.  ‘The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission who’s responsible for permitting or denying this pipeline needs to really listen to what the citizens are saying, that these pipelines are not safe, that they’re encroaching on our property rights, and that they are no solution to America’s energy problems,’ said Joanna Salidis, president of Friends of Nelson.”

9-30-15  NBC 29.  Dominion Hears Opposition to Proposed Buckingham Co. Station.  “Dozens of people in Buckingham County are going head-to-head with Dominion Virginia Power.  The power company wants to put a natural gas compression station there as part of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. That compression station facility would span eight to 10 acres.  The current plan would put the compression station on a spot of land that is within walking distance to four historic churches.  Pastor Paul Wilson joined environmental groups, protestors, and other stakeholders in opposition to the proposal at the Buckingham Co. Administration Building Wednesday afternoon.  The pastor says he is fighting for his congregation.”

9-29-15  WINA Newsradio.  Friends of Buckingham County Protest Planned at Dominion’s First Compressor Station Community Meeting.  “Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League’s, Sharon Ponton, talks with Les Sinclair about the Friends of Buckingham County planned protest and who they’d like to attend and what they hope to accomplish.”

9-28-15  Public News Service.  Three Pipelines Would Cross Two Miles of Creek, Opponents Want Consolidation.  “A boom in gas pipeline building means three could all cross one Doddridge County Creek at the same spot.  Opponents say pipeline review and approval should be consolidated to reduce the pipelines’ impact.  Critics say the pipeline companies are racing to lock in eastern markets. But if the companies get their way, one pipeline now under construction and two other proposed lines would all cross within one two-mile stretch of Meathouse Fork.  Rick Webb, a retired environmental scientist and coordinator of the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, says regulators have already cited the 36-inch Stonewall Gathering Pipeline for erosion and sediment problems.  ‘Within a two mile stretch, this pipeline will cross this stream along with the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline and the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, both of which are even larger,’ he points out.  Webb says federal regulators should require what’s known as a programmatic or regional environmental impact statement. He says that would mean writing a coherent plan, rather than each company pushing to build as fast as it can.  Webb adds the energy industry might be able to use fewer pipelines, put several in the same right-of-way, or use an existing right-of-way.  He says that makes sense since the terrain is especially steep, and vulnerable.  ‘We need to take a comprehensive look at pipeline development in the region, and do some coherent type of planning,’ he stresses. ‘Rather building three separate corridors just within two-mile areas.'”

9-28-15  Fayette Tribune.  Groups Seek Answers from WV Department of Environmental Protection.  “Members of a coalition of groups including West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition commissioned the consulting firm Downstream Strategies to investigate public input opportunities related to the onslaught of proposed natural gas pipeline construction projects across the state. Special focus is given to one of the proposed large-scale interstate transmission lines, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — a 42-inch diameter pipe set to cross a total of 100 water bodies within West Virginia…. ‘The rush to build pipelines raises serious concerns for water quality,’ said Angie Rosser, executive director of West Virginia Rivers Coalition. ‘We’re seeing that efforts to control run-off and slides from these projects aren’t working and our streams are paying the price.’… “Although pipeline companies promise to comply with regulations and avoid impacts to landowners, the reality on the ground is quite different,” said Rick Webb, coordinator of the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition.  ‘The companies show very little respect for either people or the environment. The fines they sometimes pay are simply the cost of doing business. It seems that non-compliance is cost effective.’”

9-27-15  The News & Advance.  Nelson Group Urges Protestors to Become Formal ‘Intervenors’ in Fighting Pipeline.  “Friends of Nelson President Joanna Salidas urged opponents of a proposed natural gas pipeline to formally register as ‘interveners’ during a public meeting of the group Sunday attended by nearly 200 people…. Registering as an intervener, or someone with a direct stake or interest in the project, will give teeth to any comments that person files with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, she said. Moreover, she explained, if the situation ever came to a lawsuit to try to stop the pipeline in Nelson County, the people positioned to bring such a suit would be landowners who have formally signed up as interveners.  Landowners are the most critical to get on board with this effort but everyone in the Nelson County community has a stake, she said. Anyone who can reasonably state why they are opposed to the pipeline should sign up, she said.”

9-26-15  WHSV 3.  Pipeline Awareness Event.  “People working to keep the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline from crossing the Valley got together Friday to raise awareness about the plan.  Friends of Augusta sponsored an event called ‘Say ‘Yes’ to Pints, ‘No’ to Pipelines’ at Seven Arrows Brewery to raise opposition to the project.”

9-23-15  The News Virginian.  Decisions Coming up for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Opponents.  “Last week, the federal government received an official application for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. Now opponents of the project have some decisions to make, as the process moves forward.  At some point over the next week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will send out a notice, acknowledging that they received the application. That document will also establish the timeline for the rest of the process, including deadlines for comments, protests and for groups to decide if they want to intervene in the case. ‘There are three categories, for those who want to comment on the proposal,’ said FERC spokesperson Tamara Young-Allen. ‘You can file comments, you can file protests or you can intervene.’  People who file comments or protests against the project, that’s where their involvement ends, Young-Allen explained. Deciding to intervene is a bit more involved. A person or group who intervenes becomes a part of the quasi-judicial proceeding. That means they’re allowed to ask FERC to reconsider, if they don’t agree with the final decision. It also means they’re allowed to challenge the decision with a federal appeals court…. The application does have an official docket number of CP15-554. People can go to the FERC website and track the application process by entering that number in.”

9-23-15  The News & Advance.  Update: Friends of Nelson to Meet Sunday to Address Filing of Pipeline Proposal.  “Opponents of the pipeline are angry Dominion has filed while many concerns remain. ‘Dominion’s filing ‘on time’ despite the serious safety, environmental, and economic concerns raised by federal agencies, citizens, and local governments shows their utter disregard for the people and communities they are using,’ Friends of Nelson President Joanna Salidis said.  Salidis said the filing occurred the same day many fighting the ACP and the Mountain Valley Pipeline were meeting. Now, Friends of Nelson plans to meet this Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Rockfish Valley Community Center to discuss the filing, interview local candidates for election on their stance and decide what to do next.  ‘We all know that these mammoth, high-pressure transmission lines cannot be built without severe impacts to Virginia’s citizens and are working together to ensure that FERC analyze the multiple proposals through the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains in a single comprehen-sive environmental review document,’ she said.”

9-23-15  NBC 29.  Anti-Pipeline Groups Prepare to Fight Dominion’s Applications.  “Dominion Resources is filing to get the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline application reviewed by federal regulators.  Now, anti-pipeline groups around central Virginia are getting ready to help people learn how to fight it.  When the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announces it received the application this week, people will have the opportunity to submit comments or become an intervener. As such, they’ll legally have access to all information submitted to FERC, and have the opportunity to vote to overturn the final decision.  Wild Virginia, a group against the proposed 42-inch wide natural gas pipeline, plans to hold workshops to help people file…. The group Friends of Nelson also says it will file as an intervener and hold workshops to show others how to do the same.  Dominion has also filed a separate application with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and Wild Virginia says it will help people submit comments for that as well.”

9-22-15  The Roanoke Times.  Activists Urge DEQ to Turn to Renewable Energy.  “Environmentalists and anti-pipeline activists urged state regulators Tuesday to turn to solar, off-shore wind and energy-efficient construction as they consider how best to meet the new carbon emission limits announced under the federal Clean Power Plan.… Speaker after speaker at Tuesday’s listening session — organized by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality — deplored fracking and proposals to build new natural gas pipelines across the state.  ‘I hope we will not see our region trade our overreliance on coal for overreliance on fracked gas,’ said Hannah Wiegard, of Appalachian Voices.  Solar was perhaps the most popular alternative energy mentioned by those who stepped up to the podium at DEQ’s regional office on Peters Creek Road.  Solar’s cost-effectiveness will only continue to improve, advocates said, and it has the potential to create thousands of jobs as the industry expands.  But Virginia is lagging behind other states on the issue, they added, and major power companies are pushing laws that put solar panels at a disadvantage…. Tuesday’s forum, which was open for three hours, is part of a series of listening sessions DEQ is holding across the state as it considers how to implement the final requirements of the Clean Power Plan announced in August.  Public comments also will be accepted by mail, email or fax through Oct. 13.”

9-19-15  Friends of Shenandoah Mountain.  Dreaded Atlantic Coast Pipeline Application Filed on 9/18/2015.  “The proposed ACP route crosses Shenandoah Mountain south of Rt. 250 through Cow Knob Salamander habitat and then passes through the corner of our proposed Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area near Ramseys Draft Wilderness and Braley Pond.    The pipeline threatens the scenic beauty, wildlife habitat, and recreational resources that make Shenandoah Mountain such an excellent candidate for Congressional designation…. The Cow Knob Salamander is a sticky issue for the ACP.  Its habitat is protected by a Conservation Agreement signed in 1994 by the USFS and US Fish & Wildlife.  GWNF Forest Supervisor Tom Speaks sent a letter to FERC on Sept. 17 asserting that the ACP is not in compliance with the Conservation Agreement for this species which is ‘at high risk for extinction or extirpation.’  Supervisor Speaks added that ‘project effects on Cow Knob and Cheat Mountain salamanders must be avoided and cannot be mitigated.'”

9-19-15  Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Dominion Says ‘No Easy Fixes’ Remain to Transport Natural Gas.  “The gas-rich Marcellus is the impetus for Dominion’s 42-inch Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a massive $5.1 billion investment for the Richmond-based utility and partners whose long path through Virginia’s mountains and Piedmont has stirred environmentalists to battle…. The federal government already has begun an environmental impact review of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley projects, but opponents say the FERC review should encompass the cumulative effects of all of the projects, including the Appalachian Connector, on Virginia’s natural resources and communities in the pipelines’ paths. The Southern Environmental Law Center called for a regional environmental impact statement in a letter Thursday on behalf of 28 organizations to the U.S. Forest Service, which has raised significant concerns about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The project would cross about 30 miles of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia and the George Washington National Forest in Virginia, including the habitats of two rare native salamanders.  ‘This pipeline is proposed through some of the best remaining forest habitat in the eastern United States — what the Forest Service called ‘the wildlife core of the central Appalachians’ — and a rigorous (federal environmental review) process is critical to ensure a careful and deliberate decision that is protective of these special lands,’ states the letter from attorneys Gregory Buppert and Kathryn Boudouris.”

9-19-15  NBC 29.  Wild Virginia Rallies Opposition to Dominion’s Federal Filings of Pipeline Plans.  “The non-profit environmental group Wild Virginia is rallying supporters to keep the Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposed by Dominion out of the George Washington National Forest.  This latest push comes a day after Dominion filed its application with federal regulators…. Activists say Virginia’s forests are very sensitive environments and that there is no way to avoid the destruction that would occur if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves Dominion’s natural gas pipeline.  Wild Virginia say it will continue to do what it can to protect the community. ‘We’ll continue in every way possible to oppose this because we think it’s just bad for Virginia, it’s bad for our forests, our ecosystems and it’s bad for communities…because communities rely on the good environmental factors that we’re trying to protect,’ says David Sligh.  Community members have the option to become intervenors – which will allow them to submit comments to FERC, file briefs, and appear before a court.  Wild Virginia says it plans to roll out a guide early next week that will help people register as official intervenors with FERC.”

9-18-15  Charlottesville Newsplex.  Yogaville Residents in Opposition to Pipeline.  “Four energy companies, including Dominion, formally asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to begin building the Atlantic Coast Natural Gas Pipeline Friday.  The companies made their argument in a massive document detailing why the pipeline through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina ought to be approved. This comes despite a lot of opposition from landowners.  One of the landowners on that list is a community called Yogaville, based upon wellness, serenity and silence. Now residents fear the pipeline would change their atmosphere.”

9-18-15  NBC 29.  Nelson County Petitions Federal Agency Against Pipeline.  “After years of planning and review, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC finally submitted its project proposal to federal regulators Friday. At the same time, people in Nelson County are petitioning the same federal agency to protect their historic land from that project…. Last week, supervisors in Nelson County sent a resolution to the agency detailing two historic areas in the county that are in the pipeline’s proposed path.  The South Rockfish Valley District and the Warminster District along the James River have been declared eligible to be on the National Historic Register.”

9-18-15  News Leader.  Atlantic Coast Pipeline Group Files Formal Application.  “Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC made its formal application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Friday for permission to build a 564-mile natural gas pipeline from West Virginia through Valley counties on its way to North Carolina.  While the filing is on schedule according to forecasts by Dominion, the lead of the four-company ACP consortium, it comes disappointingly soon, when local groups have yet to receive responses to their concerns, Augusta County Alliance leader Nancy Sorrells said.  The application is not substantially changed from the most recent draft resource reports Dominion has already filed with the federal agency. It includes a controversial route within the recharge area of the county’s Lyndhurst public water supply…. Out of 30,000 application pages stacking 10-feet tall, the changes have been relatively small in response to thousands of stakeholder comments and concerns, including 335 issues identified by the U.S. Forest Service.  ‘The ACP should not cite lower costs or less restrictive locations as the sole purpose of crossing NFS lands,’ the agency wrote in its report.  But that is precisely the reason it does: to avoid having to gain Congressional approval to cross the Appalachian National Scenic Trail on National Park Service lands, according to Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle.  Augusta County Service Authority is protesting the pipeline route crossing its Lyndhurst water supply recharge area for the same reason…. Sorrells reacted with disappointment that the formal filing came before Dominion upheld its promise to meet with and address the ACSA’s concerns. ‘Despite giving it lip service, they have not shown one act of caring about the communities they will impact deeply and forever,’ she said.”

9-18-15  Charlotte Business Journal.  Atlantic Coast Pipeline Files for FERC Permit, Costs and Length Increase.  “Estimated construction costs for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have risen to $5.1 billion and its length is now pegged at 564 miles, according to a formal application filed Friday with federal regulators…. The bump in the price and the length of the project are related, says Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle. The route has been extended by an alternate route proposed in Nelson County, Va. — the epicenter for opposition to the project— and some shifts made near the Virginia-North Carolina border to allow the project to run along existing right of way. The longer route caused most of the increased cost, he says…. there has been opposition, largely in the Virginia mountains and most vocally in Nelson County.  In June, a group of people influential in Virginia politics announced plans for an organization to oppose building the project along the proposed route. In Nelson County and some neighboring counties, landowners have refused to cooperate with surveys of their land and there has been significant organized opposition from existing environmental groups and new groups that have sprung up to oppose the project.”

9-18-15  The News & Advance.  Atlantic Coast Pipeline Files Formal Application for 564-Mile Project Through 3 States.  “The group behind the Atlantic Coast Pipeline formally filed its request Friday with federal regulators to build the 564-mile natural gas pipeline from West Virginia through southeastern Virginia and to the North Carolina coast.  A portion of the contested pipeline will pass through Nelson County, where opposition has been fierce…. Opponents of the pipeline are angry Dominion has filed while many concerns remain.  ‘Dominions filing ‘on time’ despite the serious safety, environmental, and economic concerns raised by federal agencies, citizens, and local governments shows their utter disregard for the people and communities they are using,’ Friends of Nelson President Joanna Salidis said.  Salidis said the filing occurred the same day many fighting the ACP and the Mountain Valley Pipeline were meeting.  ‘We all know that these mammoth, high pressure transmission lines cannot be built without severe impacts to Virginia’s citizens and are working together to ensure that FERC analyze the multiple proposals through the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains in a single comprehensive environmental review document,’ she said.  ‘Legally, this is called a programmatic environmental impact statement and is mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act for projects like the ACP and MVP.’… Nelson County Supervisor Connie Brennan, who has worked to pass several resolutions against the pipeline, said Dominion’s statement about filing with FERC in mid-September turns out to be one the ‘few true things from them.’  ‘Somewhat surprising in view of the very recent statement from the [National Forest system] that it is essential to evaluate alternatives to the proposed route because of the potential for serious project-related impacts for certain animal species that cannot be mitigated,’ she said.  ‘Because responsible alternate routes that use existing utility corridors or collocation options exist, this is an affront to our community and many of us will continue to fight to insist Dominion do the right thing.’”

9-18-15  Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Partners Submit Application for 3-State Natural Gas Pipeline.  “Four energy partners formally asked the federal government on Friday for permission to build a 564-mile natural gas pipeline in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina…. The proposed route would carve a swath through national forests in Virginia and West Virginia, raising concerns from landowners and the U.S. Forest Service.

9-18-15  Charlottesville Newsplex.  Atlantic Coast Pipeline Asks FERC for Permission to Build.  “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline formally filed its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Friday in order to move forward with building the $5 billion natural gas pipeline.  FERC will have to certify that the project is in fact needed in order to provide cleaner energy…. The project has faced steep opposition from several landowners, especially in Nelson County, who don’t want the pipeline to run through their properties.”

9-16-15  Nelson County Times.  Nelson Supervisors Ask FERC to Protect Historic Sites from Pipeline.  “Nelson County is host to an ‘outstanding’ Virginia legacy of historic places that should be safeguarded from possible adverse effects from the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Nelson County Board of Supervisors stated in a resolution passed in a split vote last week.  The resolution petitions the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure the pipeline avoids or minimizes impact to sites that are listed or eligible to be listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places.”

9-14-15  Bloomberg Business.  America’s Shale Gas Supply Is Caught in Its Largest Ever Decline.  “America’s shale gas boom hasn’t exactly been booming lately.  Natural gas production from the seven largest U.S. shale deposits will drop for a fourth straight month in October to average 44.784 billion cubic feet a day, the lowest since March, based on an Energy Information Administration forecast released Monday. That’s the longest streak of monthly declines in government data going back to 2007.”

9-14-15  Blue Ridge Life.  Tourism Revenue Reached in Nelson County in 2014.  “According to the US Travel Association, tourism in Virginia generated $22.4 billion in travel spending. Tourism also supported 216,900 jobs in the Commonwealth and $1.5 billion in local taxes, an increase of 5.6 percent compared to 2013. The increase is largely attributed to Virginia’s authentic, local travel experiences and surging culinary scene.  Tourism was again an important contributor to the local economy in 2014. Tourism revenue for Nelson County reached $5,259,142. Local tourism-supported jobs totaled 1,631, while local tourism-related taxes received were $879,731 in meals taxes (and increase of 6.3% ) and $417,453 in lodging taxes. All data was received by the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) from US Travel Association and is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the United States) from trips taken 50 miles or more away from home.  ‘These new figures illustrate the importance of investing in tourism, an industry which is helping to build a new Virginia economy, creating solid, good-paying jobs for our residents,’ said Governor Terry McAuliffe. ‘Travelers are coming to Virginia to experience our oysters, wine, craft beer and cider, as well as exceptional opportunities for outdoors lovers, history buffs, and people who just love adventure.’”

9-14-15  NBC 29.  Governor McAuliffe Announces Tourism Revenues Topped $22.4 Billion in 2014.  “Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Virginia’s tourism revenues topped $22.4 billion in 2014, a 4.1 percent increase over 2013. In 2014, tourism in Virginia supported 216,949 jobs, an increase of nearly 700 jobs to the previously reported forecast estimate of 216,300 jobs. These jobs comprised 7.1 percent of the state’s total private employment, which makes the travel industry the fifth largest private employer in Virginia. The tourism industry also provided more than $1.5 billion in state and local revenue, an increase of 5.6 percent compared to 2013.  Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, ‘Promoting tourism in the Commonwealth is a key component of my administration’s efforts to build a new Virginia economy.  These figures illustrate how the industry creates solid, good-paying jobs for Virginians, helping us to grow and diversify the economy.'”

9-12-15  News Leader.  Safety Issues Important in Pipeline Debate.  Editorial.  “In a better world, FERC would simply be responsive to local concerns and Augusta would not have to pay to be heard. However, recent history has shown that FERC does not always have receptive ears. The safety of Augusta’s water supply merits the $5,000 investment.  Despite Dominion’s assurances, new pipelines are not necessarily safe. The Pipeline Safety Trust, a national watchdog group, had analyzed federal data that shows pipelines installed since 2010 had an annual incident rate of 6.64 per 10,000 miles through 2013. The next highest 2005-13 rate was 6.081, for gas lines installed before 1940. Every other installation decade had a 3.164 rate or lower for that time period.  Is the country compromising safety in our rush to build pipelines? The data says, yes. Newer pipelines have more incidents than all others, with only the very oldest coming close.  The Augusta County Service Authority is right to keep questioning FERC and Dominion Power. We are not sure in the end how successful the local effort will be, but it is worthy, nonetheless.”

9-11-15  NBC 29.  Augusta Co. Concerned Proposed Pipeline Could Hurt Water Supply.  “The Augusta County Board of Supervisors is worried the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline could endanger the county’s biggest water supply.  The board recently hired a consultant to help them use a federal law to get regulators to listen to their concerns.  The Lyndhurst Well produces around one million gallons of fresh water a day, and serves roughly 15,000 people in the county. The well is fed by an underground spring, and the proposed route for Dominion Resources’ natural gas pipeline crosses right over it.  Supervisors are now demanding that federal regulators review the situation so their water isn’t endangered.”

9-10-15  News Leader.  County Invites FERC to Discuss Water Supply Concerns.  “Frustrated by the lack of attention to their concerns about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Augusta County leaders are trying something new – a little known law called “coordination” that could bring the ACP’s federal authority to the discussion table.  Supervisors voted to ink a limited $5,000 contract with Coordination America, a Washington, D.C.-based consultancy that will help them bring the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and U.S. Forest Service to the discussion table to protect the county’s water resources.  Coordination is actually a law, although most localities are unaware of it, Coordination America consultant Joe Guarino explained in a recent presentation to the board. Baked into the National Environmental Protection Act, it gives localities the right to participate on an equal basis in all phases of planning and management of land, water and wildlife resources, he said.  Topping the list of supervisors’ concerns is the county’s water supply – both the Lyndhurst well that provides public drinking water, and the private wells that supply close to half the population.”

9-9-15  The News Virginian.  Supervisors Hire Company to Help Fight Pipeline Route.  “Augusta County supervisors agreed Wednesday to spend $5,000, in order to hopefully see changes made to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route.  By a 5-2 vote, they signed a contract with an organization to assist in the county’s dealings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Forest Service over the pipeline.  Coordination America is supposed to work with the county to assure that FERC — the licensing agency for the pipeline — will consider the county’s interests in approving the project. A formal application for the pipeline to FERC from Dominion Resources is expected this fall.”

9-9-15  SNL Financial.  As US Rushes to Build Gas Lines, Failure Rate of New Pipes Has Spiked.  “The push to build new pipelines to transport abundant shale supplies appears to be having a materially adverse impact on pipeline safety.  According to a Pipeline Safety Trust analysis of federal data, new pipelines are failing at a rate on par with gas transmission lines installed before the 1940s.  ‘I think new models of anything — a new model of a car, a new computer, whatever — have problems when they’re first put in. You have to get the kinks out. That’s probably part of the explanation, but there’s also some suggestions that we’re trying to put so many new miles of pipeline in the ground so fast that people aren’t doing construction … the way they ought to,’ Carl Weimer, director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, told attendees at a National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives annual meeting in Tempe, Ariz.  ‘The new pipelines are failing even worse than the oldest pipelines,’ he said.”

9-6-15  Potomac Local.  More Access to Clean Solar Power for Virginians.  Opinion piece by Delegate Scott Surovell.  “Last week, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved an innovative solar program proposed by Dominion Resources, a project that will enhance consumer choices and facilitate clean, renewable energy production for many Virginians.  As Virginia implements the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, the state’s utilities  need to transition to systems that reduce carbon emissions and deliver reliable, affordable power to  homes and businesses…. Natural gas is another alternative, but it too emits carbon dioxide when burned.  And producing natural gas by fracking is well-documented to cause ground water pollution and can even cause water to catch on fire.  In addition, the infrastructure to transport natural gas requires pipelines and condemnation or forfeiture of private property.  Solar energy does not have these shortcomings.  Due to declining manufacturing costs as factories achieve economies of scale, solar power has increasingly become the preferred energy source of choice for many homes, businesses and utilities.  Solar also promotes individual freedom as Virginians can live off the grid and produce their own power on their own terms.”

9-2-15  The Washington Post.  Dominion Power’s Confusing Riders and What They Mean for Virginia.  “Dominion Virginia Power is under more scrutiny than it has been in some time. Richmond’s politically muscular electric utility has been under assault from grass-roots movements for proposed natural gas pipelines and not pushing renewable energy such as wind and solar fast enough.  Now, new issues have come forward on how it sets its rates.”

9-1-15  The Farmville Herald.  Additional Suits Filed by Pipeline.  “Four additional civil lawsuits have been filed against landowners in Buckingham Circuit Court by Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) LLC…. ‘Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC filed legal notices against four landowners in Buckingham County who have denied us permission to survey,’ said Dominion spokesman Frank Mack. ‘Their properties are located on the latest proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline route.’”