April 2016 News

April 2016

4-29-16 The Daily Progress. Blue Ridge Parkway foundation opposes pipelines. “The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s board of trustees announced that it opposes the construction of two proposed natural gas transmission pipelines that would cross the parkway in Virginia. The foundation, a North Carolina-based nonprofit that is the primary fundraising arm for the parkway, released a statement Friday that specifically mentioned its opposition to pipelines that carry natural gas extracted by hydraulic fracturing, a drilling process also known as ‘fracking.’ In it’s statement, the foundation board said that it ‘has a duty to protect the Blue Ridge Parkway for the millions who visit this national jewel each year’ and that it ‘opposes the building of the fracked gas pipelines across the Parkway.’ Two pipelines that await federal approval — the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — would cross the parkway if approved. The Mountain Valley project would cross near Adney Gap in Roanoke County and the Atlantic Coast near the border of Augusta and Nelson counties. ‘If allowed, these huge 42-inch high-pressure lines will not only scar the Parkway, but also permanently degrade the viewsheds and landscapes surrounding them,’ read the statement.”

4-29-16 News Leader. Augusta County residents react to pipeline explosion. “News of a pipeline explosion in Greensburg, Pennsylvania gave Peggy Ballin chills. On Friday, a 36-inch natural gas pipeline in Salem Township, 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, exploded causing one homeowner to run for his life as towering trees were reduced to blackened poles and siding melted off buildings.’It’s frightening,’ said Ballin who lives in West Augusta where a natural gas pipeline route has been proposed. ‘That’s not the right word. This whole thing is devastating.’… The havoc in Pennsylvania is Ballin’s worst nightmare. Her 150-acre farm is located just outside of Deerfield, sandwiched between two mountain ranges where energy companies what to route a 42-inch Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Scott Ballin said if the ACP is approved, it would be located in front of his house and run parallel to the only road into and out of the valley where he and more than 130 other people live. ‘If what occurred today happened here, it would devastate the valley,’ Scott Ballin said. ‘We would not have an escape.’…Nancy Sorrells, co-chair of the Augusta County Alliance, said the Ballins and anyone else living in the valley ‘would be trapped.’ ‘A different scenario, equally as bad as Deerfield, is where the route comes through Stuarts Draft and goes so close to Stuarts Draft high school, middle school and elementary school all right there together,’ she said. Sorrells said an incident such as a gas leak or an explosion in Stuarts Draft, would affect thousands of people who would have to cross the pipeline corridor to get into or out of the area.”

4-29-16 The Daily Progress. McAuliffe gets poor marks from environmental coalition. “Environmental activists slapped Gov. Terry McAuliffe with a D+ grade in a report issued Thursday, citing in part his support for offshore drilling and new natural gas pipelines.
The coalition of advocates — seeking to raise the pressure on the Democratic governor — described his tenure as a ‘significant disappointment’ to date. But it added he could turn things around in their view by taking a strong stance on the state’s approach to the Clean Power Plan. ‘We see the implementation of Virginia’s Clean Power Plan as a critical opportunity for the governor to truly lead,’ said Joelle Novey, director of Interfaith Power & Light, a faith-based climate change group and one of four organizations involved in the gubernatorial report card. ‘We’re calling on Gov. McAuliffe now to implement a strong Clean Power Plan in Virginia that maximizes reductions in heat-trapping climate pollution,’ she said. The Clean Power Plan is a federal mandate that sets a national goal of reducing carbon pollution from power plants by 32 percent, compared to 2005 levels, by the year 2030…. States were given broad leeway to determine how to meet the new pollution standards. Environmental activists are urging McAuliffe to opt for a comprehensive cap on total carbon emissions allowed from both existing and future power plants. The state could choose to focus on existing power plants only or adopt another approach that restricts the average rate of emissions per unit of electricity produced without capping the total amount of carbon emissions allowed…. The environmental report card issued gave McAuliffe credit for his advocacy on coastal flooding concerns, efforts to expand renewable energy and role in continuing the state moratorium on uranium mining. But it contended most gains on clean-energy priorities have been modest, and would be overshadowed if proposals like offshore drilling or the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline came to fruition. McAuliffe has been a vocal supporter of the proposed natural gas pipelines and said they can be built in an environmentally responsible way.”

4-28-16 EcoWatch. New Report Shows ‘Natural Gas Increasingly Becoming an Unnecessary Bridge to Nowhere’. “Setting a new lopsided quarterly record, renewable sources (i.e., wind, solar, biomass and hydropower) outpaced—in fact, swamped—natural gas by a factor of more than 70:1 for new electrical generating capacity placed in-service during the first three months of calendar year 2016…. ‘While often touted as being a ‘bridge fuel,’ natural gas is increasingly becoming an unnecessary bridge to nowhere,’ noted Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. ‘As renewables continue to rapidly expand their share of the nation’s electrical generation, it’s becoming clear that natural gas will eventually join coal, oil and nuclear power as fuels of the past.'”

4-28-16 News Leader. Coalition: Gov. ‘cheerleader’ for high-pollution policies. “A coalition of environmental and social justice groups says Governor Terry McAuliffe is failing to keep promises made while running for office and has become a ‘cheerleader’ for high-pollution policies. At the center of the group’s accusations is a proposed Dominion natural-gas pipeline route cutting through Augusta County. ‘Governor McAuliffe has so far abandoned landowners like me, as we fight to protect our natural heritage and homes from multi-billion dollar corporations and a derelict federal agency,’ said Scott Ballin, of Augusta County whose land lies in the path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. In what the coalition is calling the ‘first-of-its-kind report card,’ the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Virginia Organizing, the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition, and Interfaith Power & Light (MD.DC.NoVA) gave McAuliffe an overall interim grade of a ‘D+’ on Thursday. ‘In this regard, the Governor has failed the climate, and the health and safety of Virginians, in a major way. When coastal Virginia is flooding at normal high tide, we’re out of time for Governor McAuliffe’s one step forward, two steps back approach,’ said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, during a telephoned press conference. ‘Climate leadership, at its core, means keeping fossil fuels in the ground, not lobbying for decades’ more reliance on fracked gas and offshore oil drilling.’… McAuliffe’s administration can rectify the low grades given in the report card by requiring utilities to ‘move toxic coal ash to modern, lined landfills to using the state’s Clean Water Act authority to block key pipeline permits,’ the groups said. ‘By joining calls for a combined regional pipeline review, and denying state water permits, Governor McAuliffe could yet become an ally,’ Ballin said.”

4-28-16 Richmond-Times Dispatch. Dominion Virginia Power begins discharging treated coal ash water into James River. “For Marion Kanour, it was a sad but not surprising climax to months of protests, demonstrations and lobbying against Dominion Virginia Power’s plans to discharge millions of gallons of treated coal ash wastewater into the James River. ‘It was heartbreaking for us to see the actual release,’ said Kanour, an Episcopal priest from Nelson County and a member of the Knitting Nannas of Virginia, an environmental group that helped organize a symbolic funeral for the river Wednesday in Fluvanna County. The protest ended at the gates of Dominion Virginia Power’s Bremo Power Station, which was Virginia’s oldest coal-fired plant until about 2014, when it stopped using coal. After reaching a settlement with the James River Association in which Dominion Virginia Power agreed to additional treatment and testing of the water it is draining from its coal ash ponds at Bremo, about 50 miles upriver from Richmond, the discharge started Wednesday…. But Kanour and groups like the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represented the James River Association in its challenge of the initial permits issued for Bremo by the DEQ and state Water Control Board, say the company’s plans to drain the ponds and cover the ash, which contains toxins like arsenic, lead and chromium, in place, leave much to be desired. ‘I’m not sure how many parts per million you’re willing to ingest, but I’m not willing to ingest any,’ Kanour said. ‘I guess it was much less expensive to poison the rest of us.’ Greg Buppert, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said the settlement the James River Association reached with Dominion doesn’t reduce the concentrations of toxins like arsenic that are permitted in the discharged wastewater, though the company did commit to additional treatment when certain levels are triggered, as revealed by tests that must be conducted every four hours. ‘The really important story is DEQ didn’t do this. The James River Association worked out a deal that is more protective than what the state required,’ he said. ‘Why did the state drop the ball on this permit and why did citizens have to step up and get a better deal for a Virginia waterway?'”

4-27-16 Appalachian Mountain Advocates. Study: MVP and ACP Show Overbuilding by Natural Gas Industry. “A study requested by Appalachian Mountain Advocates published today concludes that natural gas pipelines proposed for construction from West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina are indicative of a rush toward industry overbuilding. The study, ‘Risks Associated With Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion Across Appalachia,’ examines the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would traverse West Virginia into eastern Virginia, and the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would cross Virginia and branch deeply into North Carolina. The pipelines combined would run for more than 800 miles and together would cost roughly $9 billion. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) completed the study. Among the report’s conclusions:
• Overbuilding puts ratepayers at risk of paying for excess capacity, landowners at risk of sacrificing property to unnecessary projects, and investors at risk of loss if shipping contracts are not renewed and pipelines are underused.
• The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission facilitates overbuilding. The high rates of return on equity that FERC grants to pipeline companies (up to 14 percent), along with the lack of a comprehensive planning process for natural gas infrastructure, attracts more capital into pipeline development than is necessary.
• The arguments for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have not been adequately scrutinized. While the pipeline developers have asserted that some of the gas supplied is needed by Dominion Resources for its new Brunswick and Greensville natural gas plants, Dominion has told the Virginia State Corporation Commission that it can supply those plants through the existing Transco pipeline.
• While ratepayers of the utilities (largely Duke Energy and Dominion Virginia Electric and Power) that have contracted to ship gas through the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would be burdened with the costs of building the pipeline (which would include a profit to the developers, largely Duke and Dominion), they will probably not realize the economic benefits promised by the developers.”

4-25-16 Charlotte Business Journal. How will delay in start of Atlantic Coast Pipeline impact construction schedule? “Dominion Energy has delayed the projected construction start of the $5.1 billion Atlantic Coast pipeline to the summer of 2017….The pipeline has run into significant opposition from environmental and community groups, particularly in the mountains of western Virginia. But Dominion filed its response to all the objections and two requests from FERC for additional information and alternatives a little over a week ago. The proposed pipeline would run from eastern West Virginia, southeast to coastal Virginia and then south and slightly westward through southeastern North Carolina. It is designed to bring natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shale fields of the Northeast and Midwest to Virginia and North Carolina.”

4-25-16 Energy Global. Questioning the need for pipeline projects. “At a pipeline summit on 23 April sponsored by the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, Virginians and residents of North Carolina discussed how to stop all pipeline construction in their areas, primarily focusing on the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipeline projects, which residents believe will potentially damage Virginia’s economy. University of Virginia professor Spencer Phillips, stated: ‘Setting aside the whole question of whether this gas is needed, whether these pipelines are needed, but if they are built, what are these effects going to be?’ An additional focus at the summit was on climate change and the environmental hazards that the pipeline projects could pose. ‘We are calling for a climate test. Oil Change International and 15 other organisations in Canada and the US launched a website a few months ago. You’ve got to have a climate test. Otherwise you don’t know if it is helping or hindering your goal,’ explained Lorne Stockman, the Research Director at Oil Change International.”

4-24-16 The News Virginian. Pipeline opponents outline issues in Augusta summit. “Nobody in Augusta County needs to have a pipeline built in their backyard. The reason, according to members of the Southern Environmental Law Center in Charlottesville, is that all customers projected for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines could potentially be served by existing projects. That was the focus of a summit held Saturday in Weyers Cave, as more than 150 residents of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina discussed ideas of how to end the pipeline construction in their respective areas. Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance member Lewis Freeman moderated the panel, labeled ‘Pipeline Economics,’ which included four speakers from a wide range of backgrounds. University of Virginia professor Spencer Phillips, who also works as the principal operator of economic studies firm Key-Log Economics, argued that if they went operational, the pipelines would slow a move from fossil fuels to renewable resources, as more groups would turn toward natural gas…. Members of other opposition groups questioned the need for any new pipelines at the summit, arguing that the need could be serviced by existing operations. One of the reasons Dominion Resources gave for launching the pipeline project was to fill a growing need in Virginia, as more residents move to parts of the state like the Tidewater region. Already, more than 93 percent of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s capacity has been sold to companies on 20-year service agreements, only valid if the project gets approved by the federal government…. Also, others at the Saturday summit argued that while the push for natural gas is high now, companies should be looking toward the future and goals already set by the federal government. ‘Any analysis of the need for gas must be premised on U.S. climate goals,’ Lorne Stockman, the Research Director at Oil Change International, said. Stockman reminded the audience that President Obama, along with 175 other countries, signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on Earth Day this past Friday.”

4-23-16 Richmond Times-Dispatch. ‘Keystone killer’ rallies opponents to Mountain Valley Pipeline. “Nebraskan Jane Kleeb, dubbed the “Keystone killer” by Rolling Stone magazine and described elsewhere as a pipeline road warrior, met Friday morning in Boones Mill with foes of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline to share her take on grassroots activism. She told a crowd of about 40 people, gathered in an apartment complex’s community hall, that to beat the Mountain Valley Pipeline they must remain united and believe they can win.’The only thing that will stop these pipelines will be you sticking together,’ Kleeb said…. Kleeb said pipeline foes could point to the environmental damage attributed to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, an extraction method used to gain access to natural gas in shale formations….. She plans to meet today in Weyers Cave with opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a separate natural gas transmission project.”

4-23-16 News Leader. Pipeline summit draws large crowd. “Looking out at the large number of people in attendance at the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance Pipeline Summit on Saturday, Nancy Sorrells smiled. ‘This is not a small pocket of tree huggers,’ Sorrells said causing the crowd to laugh. Sorrells, co-chair of the Augusta County Alliance, introduced a panel discussing ‘Lessons Learned in the Battlefield’ at the summit in Weyers Cave. The meeting was hosted by the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance to ‘energize, equip and empower local communities to defeat the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’…. Jane Kleeb, who led a successful fight against the Keystone XL Pipeline, was introduced by Sorrells as the ‘Keystone Killer.’ ‘She is the only one in this room that has beaten the pipeline,’ Sorrells said…. She encouraged people to make the pipeline fight personal and political. Kleeb, who helped to band together landowners, farmers, ranchers and Tribal Nations to fight Keystone XL, said every pipeline meeting was turned into a ‘rock concert’ and she provided details about the successful campaign that stopped the pipeline. ‘You can stop this pipeline,’ she said.”

4-23-16 News Leader. In the path of the pipeline. “Thirteen towering pine trees stand between Scott Ballin’s home and a proposed natural gas pipeline. Ballin was notified the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) was being rerouted through his property on February 10, 2016…. ‘The way this process has been handled by Dominion is horrible,’ [Ballin]said. ‘They are doing the same stuff that big tobacco companies did. Before people even wake up, it’s going to be a done deal.’ The Augusta County Board of Supervisors has voiced its concerns regarding the pipeline’s proposed route through Augusta County. In a letter to FERC dated April 12, authorities point out the the pipeline ‘runs in the opposite direction of its destination in North Carolina.’ According to the county, the alternative route crosses the floodplain in eight different places and impacts lands with conservation easements…. Nancy Sorrells, co-chair of the Augusta County Alliance, wrote a letter to FERC saying not only does the pipeline’s proposed route not make sense, it does not comply with FERC guidelines that ‘routes should be drawn to have the least impact on private lands and sensitive resources as possible. There is no way that a pipeline loop that is now almost 60 miles through the heart of Augusta County could fit the description of having the ‘least impact,” Sorrells said. Sorrells said the alternative route was chosen to ‘exploit’ a federal loophole to avoid delays to its project…. ‘We should not lose what we have. There are other options available to Dominion and they need to be considered and discussed openly. What we do —or do not do— today will determine what we will leave our children in the future, so we need to get this right.'”

4/22/16 Earthjustice. In a Big Win for Climate, New York Rejects Fracked Gas Pipeline. “Today, world leaders from more than 170 countries gathered in New York City to sign the historic Paris climate treaty. With their signatures, they’re committing their governments to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, the level scientists say is crucial for sparing us from the worst impacts of climate change. Turning this from a signature on a piece of paper to real action will take courage and leadership—from all of us. Luckily, both of those were on display today as 150 miles up the Hudson River, in Albany, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that his administration was rejecting a key permit for a massive fossil fuel infrastructure project—the 125-mile fracked gas pipeline known as the Constitution. The rejected permit is yet another testament to the strength of anti-fracking activists who had bitterly fought the project, which would have spurred fracking in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale. This is the second fracked gas infrastructure project in three months that’s been defeated at the hands of New York fractivists. And it’s the second pipeline in the Northeast to hit the skids *this* week…. We’ve challenged FERC on a number of fossil fuel infrastructure projects, including the MARC I pipeline in Pennsylvania and the Dominion Cove Point LNG terminal in Maryland. Each time, the agency has rubber stamped its approval, over objections from communities, without even requiring a complete accounting of environmental impacts. Given the fact that FERC’s funding is tied to fees paid by permit holders, critics have started asking questions about conflicts of interest. As Earthjustice Moneen Nasmith told reporters in response to today’s news, ‘World leaders and our leaders in New York State are doing what’s necessary. Unfortunately their efforts are undermined by rogue agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is failing to do its job and evaluate the climate impacts of the massive fossil fuel infrastructure projects it approves. FERC is an outlier agency that, with every day, is exposed as being drastically out of step with its peers.'”

4-22-16 WDBJ7. Pipeline opponents turn to ‘keystone killer’ for advice. “Opponents of two natural gas pipelines in Virginia are getting advice from someone who fought a major project in another part of the country, and won. Jane Kleeb is the director of the group Bold Nebraska. Rolling Stone Magazine dubbed her ‘the keystone killer’, for her work opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline. During meetings on Friday she encouraged opponents of the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipeline projects to form ‘unlikely alliances.'”

4-22-16 WSET13. UPDATE: Dominion postpones construction for Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Dominion announced it’s pushed back the start of construction for the Atlantic Coast pipeline. The more than 500-mile pipeline will go through three states, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The company originally intended to begin construction in the fall of 2016, now they’ve announced they will start it in the summer of 2017…. Pipeline opposition group Friends of Nelson say this buys them more time. ‘Dominion is discovering what we’ve also known for a long time, that this pipeline is more than problematic. It just really can’t be done safely’ said Friends of Nelson President Ernie Reed.”

4-21-16  The Huffington Post.  Earth Day EcoArt Confronts Deforestation, Fracking, Nuclear Hazards in Eastern US Woodlands.  “On Earth Day, April 22, 2016, New York-based eco-artist Aviva Rahmani will conduct The Blued Tree Symphony, an interstate activist eco-artwork that she describes as “an iterative symphony with tree-soloists.” That is, in which trees actually participate in the musical performance. Rahmani’s eco-art event consists of minimalist music incorporating the sound of the trees and wind through their branches and leaves, conceptual painting in nature and political performance-activism in which residents and activists from three Eastern US states will partake in a show of solidarity for forests in danger of destruction by a proposed interstate natural gas pipeline. The visual aspect of Rahmani’s Blued Tree Symphony spans several miles of Virginia, New Hampshire and New York State woodlands, each situated at 1/3 mile measures across the states where proposed pipelines are soon to be buried.  The 42-inch-diameter Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline have eminent domain overriding both private and state rights, with property owners and state citizens having little if any say in the proposed channeling of fracked gas at high pressure beneath their properties…. Since the work is both spatial and acoustic, and is permanently integral to the habitat, it can be copyrighted and protected as a new and valuable category of art…. I can’t control how many more measures or representations of a Greek Chorus might be painted, but I hope Blued Trees will be everywhere there is a natural gas pipeline being proposed. I would like people who love their trees, to walk through forests and come upon the trees that have been marked as sentinels for ecological sanity, to stop by them and listen to the music of the wind through leaves, the chittering of many creatures, and imagine the sounds of moss growing. There are now many miles of painted measures in various states of copyright registration. I would like to fill in the dots across the country of tree-notes of resistance…. The lawyers, who are working with us on the legal framework going forward informed me that, in litigation, we will be arguing for a novel interpretation of sculpture as an integral part of permanent ecosystems. All combined, any such litigation slows the corporations from cutting down the trees while other litigation by activists compounds to make it an expensive legal process for them. At the very least, we contributed to drawing attention to the problems. So I’m absolutely giddy with this evidence of possible impact.”

4-21-16 The Recorder. Dominion pushes back pipeline plan. “Environmental issues have postponed construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The start has moved from this fall to the summer of 2017, with commercial operation still expected in the fourth quarter of 2018, Dominion announced Friday. A pipeline company filing Friday answers Federal Energy Regulatory Commission questions from December and January, but does not address the study corridor realignment that impacts hundreds of landowners in Virginia and West Virginia, including 90 in Bath and Highland counties. The realignment, resulting from U.S. Forest Service route rejections over endangered salamanders, represents about a quarter of the proposed 600-mile pipeline…. The proposed route in Bath and Highland crosses karst topography, a drinking water source, and is hotly contended by intervening landowners, water scientists, and citizen groups as highly susceptible to pollution.”

4-20-16 Think Progress. This Federal Agency Is Facing A Bunch Of Lawsuits For Permitting Natural Gas Terminals. “Environmentalists are mounting a charge against the agency that permits natural gas infrastructure in an attempt to mitigate the damages caused by fracking and burning fossil fuels. A panel of judges for the D.C. Circuit Court heard arguments Tuesday over whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) properly considered the total environmental impacts of Dominion Resources’ Cove Point natural gas liquefaction and export terminal, under construction now in Southern Maryland, or whether its analysis was too narrow…. According to analysis conducted by Earthjustice, the export terminal will cause up to 3,000 additional fracking wells to be drilled in the Marcellus Shale, in western Pennsylvania…. Last spring, the court denied an emergency stay that would have halted construction on the facility. Tuesday’s hearing was on just one of four challenges to FERC’s environmental review process that the D.C. Circuit Court, which handles suits against the federal government, is considering this year. The Sierra Club is involved in cases challenging export facilities in Corpus Christi, Galveston, and Sabine Pass, all along the Gulf Coast of Texas.”

4-20-16 Nelson County Times. Board splits on pipeline resolution. “Following much heated discussion, the Nelson County Board of Supervisors narrowly defeated a resolution last week that would have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take a broader look at the effect of four proposed pipelines that would affect the commonwealth…. ‘All we’re asking is that FERC look at all of these pipelines together,’ said Supervisor Connie Brennan, who introduced the resolution during a previous work session…. Also during the meeting, the board briefly looked at correspondence from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline opposition group Friends of Nelson, which included signatures from 119 landowners and residents of Nelson County urging the supervisors to pass the resolution…. In another move to try to ensure the features of Nelson County are unharmed, opponents of the pipeline recently sent a letter asking FERC to examine cultural attachment as an ‘integral part’ of the EIS. The group includes leaders of several opposition groups that include All Pain No Gain, Free Nelson, Friends of Nelson and the Pipeline Education Project, as well as Bob Carter, president of the Nelson County Historical Society, and Peter Agelasto, president of the Rockfish Valley Foundation….The group said the county’s landscape has led to an acute sense of cultural attachment and ‘links memory, place, traditions and personal stories into a golden chain of living heritage.’ They called the pipeline an ‘intrusion’ that poses a potential threat to the living culture.”

4-20-16 The Public Interest Network. “On April 20th, Kinder Morgan released a statement: ‘As a result of inadequate capacity commitments from prospective customers, Kinder Morgan, Inc., (NYSE: KMI) and its subsidiary, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGP), have suspended further work and expenditures on the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) project.’ Groups part of Mass Power Forward reacted: ‘The death knell of the disastrous and irresponsible Kinder Morgan gas pipeline gives Bay State communities an opportunity to choose a clean energy future,’ said Joel Wool of Clean Water Action…. ‘This is a moral and spiritual victory for everyone who cares about protecting the web of life and keeping fossil fuels safely in the ground, where they belong,’ commented the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas of Mass. Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action.”

4-20-16  Grist.  Senate Passes Energy Modernization Bill That Would Have Been Modern in 1980.  “The Senate passed the Energy Policy Modernization Act on Wednesday, the first comprehensive energy bill in nearly a decade…. While the bill was hailed as a bipartisan victory by authors Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, 350.org likened it to the “V.H.S. of climate policy” — in other words, dated. It overlooks some obvious issues: Namely, it doesn’t come even close to addressing climate change…. Environmentalists also object to measures that will speed the export of domestically produced natural gas, the expansion of methane hydrate research and development, the delay on updating furnace efficiency standards, and the expansion of funding for nuclear research.”

4-20-16  Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Senate OKs Bill to Promote Wide Variety of Energy Sources.  “The Senate overwhelmingly approved a far-reaching energy bill Wednesday that reflects significant changes in U.S. oil and natural gas production over the past decade and boosts alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power.  The bill also would speed federal approval of projects to export liquefied natural gas to Europe and Asia, where prices are higher than in the U.S. following a yearlong boom in domestic gas production…. The Sierra Club, the nation’s largest environmental group, said the bill would ‘boost dirty fossil fuels’ such as coal and natural gas and encourage ‘dangerous nuclear projects’ while undermining Obama’s Clean Power Plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.”

4-19-16  Appalachian Voices.  What’s Coming Down the Natural Gas Pipeline?  “Fracked from the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations beneath Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia, a surplus of natural gas is now poised to surge into Virginia and North Carolina, bringing with it promises of a cheaper, ‘greener’ future supported by a new and improved energy infrastructure.  But many citizens and economic experts are raising questions about just how ‘green’ a fossil fuel can really be and how steep a toll — both financially and environmentally — its infrastructure will take…. in the last two years, two major new pipeline plans have been submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approval. FERC, the federal agency that regulates the transmission of electricity, natural gas and oil, is responsible for evaluating and approving new pipeline proposals.  The first is the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a $5.1 billion project by Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources, which would construct a 564-mile pipeline stretching from West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina. In January, the U.S. Forest Service rejected a portion of the route proposed to run through the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests out of concern for endangered species that reside there. A rerouted path was announced in February and continues through the regulatory process…. According to Glen Besa, director of the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, a report the organization released earlier this year found ‘that greenhouse gas pollution from the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines would be almost twice the total climate-changing emissions from existing power plants and other stationary sources in Virginia.’  And according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the potential environmental hazards linked to natural gas are significant and include air, water and noise pollution; methane leaks and explosions; and human-induced earthquakes…. Concerned by this looming threat, residents in counties along the proposed routes have organized in opposition to the new construction project…. Vicki Wheaton lives in Nelson County along the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and wants to stop the pipeline’s construction. Wheaton is an active member of Friends of Nelson County. She is encouraging the county to adopt higher floodplain standards regarding critical infrastructure and hazardous materials because they meet the federal requirements.  If adopted and enforced, these higher standards could be used by the county to block the construction of new infrastructure, such as the pipelines. ‘These higher standards would protect Nelson County residents,’ she wrote in an email.”

4-19-16 Chesapeake Climate Action Network. D.C. Circuit Court Hears Environmental Challenge to Feds’ Approval of Cove Point Gas Export Facility in Maryland. “Environmental groups faced off with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today, arguing that the agency illegally overlooked significant pollution and human safety risks in approving a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal along the Chesapeake Bay in southern Maryland…. The case is part of a steady line of lawsuits challenging FERC for facilitating a massive expansion of gas export infrastructure and pipelines without fully accounting for the public and environmental harms…. Specifically, the petitioners are asking the federal court to require FERC to prepare a more rigorous Environmental Impact Statement, and to order Dominion to halt construction in the meantime.”

4-19-16 State Impact. Federal appeals court hears arguments over LNG exports. “The battle over Dominion Energy’s Cove Point liquefied natural gas export terminal in Lusby, MD, is now in the hands of a federal appeals court, even as construction on the facility continues. The D.C. circuit court of appeals heard oral arguments from attorneys representing environmentalists, industry and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday over whether or not FERC violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving construction of the export terminal without conducting an environmental impact statement…. ‘We’re trying to make the argument that when you’re the crucial link in the supply chain between the producers and the people who are going to ship and burn it then you have to evaluate the impacts of what you’re inducing upstream,’ Goldberg told StateImpact. The environmentalists also argued in their brief to the court that the LNG export terminal will result in increased greenhouse gas emissions at a time when the U.S. is working to reduce its climate warming impacts and signed an agreement to do so as part of the Paris climate talks in December….Earthjustice attorney Deborah Goldberg says despite the long odds of halting the project at this point, it would set an important precedent if the D.C. circuit tells FERC to do an environmental impact statement that takes into account the environmental impacts of natural gas production resulting from the project.”

4-19-16 Department of the Interior.  Our Conservation Future.  “So we know better now. We know that healthy, intact ecosystems are fundamental to the health of our wildlife and our nation. They clean our air. They provide our drinking water. They store carbon. They combat climate change and they’re critical to our economy. But if their integrity is undermined by transmission lines, pipelines and roads, where does that leave us 50 years from now? Or 500? It’s an issue that can’t be solved by simply creating a new national park or wildlife refuge, although there’s no doubt we need those places to serve as critical anchors for conservation. What we need is smart planning on a landscape level irrespective of manmade lines on a map. We need to take a holistic look at an ecosystem on land or in the ocean to determine where it makes sense to develop, where it makes sense to protect the natural resources and where we can accomplish both.”

4-19-16  Augusta Free Press.  Group Challenges Lax Pipeline Survey Practice.  “Appalachian Mountain Advocates (APPALMAD) appealed and moved the Supreme Court of Virginia for an emergency stay of a ruling allowing Atlantic Coast Pipeline surveyors to enter private property in Buckingham County without giving landowners notice of the specific date of entry, despite the fact that the pipeline builder has not been granted the right of eminent domain.”

4-18-16 Appalachian Mountain Advocates. Appalmad Challenges Lax Pipeline Survey Practice. “Today Appalachian Mountain Advocates (APPALMAD) appealed and moved the Supreme Court of Virginia for an emergency stay of a ruling allowing Atlantic Coast Pipeline surveyors to enter private property in Buckingham County without giving landowners notice of the specific date of entry, despite the fact that the pipeline builder has not been granted the right of eminent domain. Appalachian Mountain Advocates maintains that Virginia law allows pipeline surveyors to enter private property without a landowner’s permission only when certain conditions are met. In particular, the gas company must send notice by certified mail warning the landowner 15 days in advance of when surveyors will enter the property. APPALMAD argues Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s entry onto private property without first providing such specific notice would be a trespass. The statute requires that the notice “set forth the date of the intended entry.” Va. Code Ann. 56-49.01(C)(ii). Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s notice, however, told landowners only that survey crews would enter their property after a particular date – leaving landowners to guess when surveyors would actually show up. Appalachian Mountain Advocates is asking the Virginia Supreme Court to reverse this ruling and clarify the statute requires notice of the precise entry date so that landowners can be home when the surveys actually occur.”

4-17-16 Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition. Illegal Regulatory Shortcuts. “The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition has insisted, in an April 14th letter sent to the Office of the Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), that regulatory shortcuts requested by proponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) are illegal. Instead, members of Governor McAuliffe’s administration have an obligation to closely review the projects and deny approvals where water quality would be degraded by pipeline construction and operation. DPMC demands that proper procedures be followed by State authorities, in accordance with those officials’ duties under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and Virginia water protection laws.”

4-16-16 New York Times. Stop a Pipeline for Fracked Gas. “Building this pipeline would undermine our commitment to fight climate change. Proponents of fracked gas argue that it can be a “bridge” fuel while we make the transition to renewable energy. They focus on the fact that when gas — which is largely methane — is burned, it releases half the CO2 of coal. But whether you see this glass as half empty or half full, it is being poured into an atmosphere that is already full — of CO2, having crossed the threshold of 400 parts per million last year. Also, methane, which can leak from gas infrastructure, traps heat 84 times as much as CO2 does over a 20-year period. A recent study led by Harvard researchers showed that in the Boston area methane is leaking from gas delivery systems at rates two to three times higher than industry estimates. Another study, published in Geophysical Research Letters in March, found that between 2002 and 2014, a period that coincides with the fracking boom, United States methane emissions increased by 30 percent. Investments in this infrastructure would shackle us to gas for decades, just as we are finding out it contributes significantly more to global warming than experts previously thought. Clearly, the “bridge” metaphor is no longer appropriate. Building this pipeline is more like taking a long walk off a short pier.”

4-16-16 NBC 29. Dominion to Move Forward with Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project. “Dominion is moving forward with its Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. The company has submitted its responses to environmental concerns about the proposed pipeline to federal regulators. The filing was submitted Friday and includes 7,000 pages of information. Opponents of the pipeline continue to stand their ground, while Dominion continues to roll forward…. Groups that oppose the pipeline are standing firm. ‘There’s no need for it,’ Ernie Reed, president of Friends of Nelson, said…. ‘We can’t depend on Dominion or FERC to make sure that it has the best and most accurate information,’ Reed said.”

4-15-16 The News Virginian. Supervisors ask FERC to reject latest pipeline route. “The Augusta County Board of Supervisors and its chairman wrote a letter of concern to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this month, calling for a rejection of the most recent alternate route for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Supervisors say they’re concerned because of its design and potential impact on western Augusta County. FERC is asked to reject the alternate route in the letter, signed by Board of Supervisors Chair Carolyn Bragg…. Bragg cites several environmental impacts in the letter to FERC. She says that the new route contains environmentally sensitive areas, including the crossing of the floodplain eight times. ‘It also impacts lands protected with conservation easements. It runs adjacent to the Deerfield wells, our public water sources in the community,’ Bragg said…. And overall, Bragg said the alternative route would impact the Deerfield Valley community, a pristine one of farmland and recreational camps. Bragg also said residents in the newly impacted area have had no opportunity to voice their concerns to FERC. ‘There have been no FERC public hearings and yet about 20-25 percent more land has been impacted,’ she said…. She said the proposed route is long, more costly and affects more property owners as well as the impact on the environment…. Bragg believes the alternate route was picked hastily and looks like ‘a band aid.’ ‘It is our responsibility to look at what is least impactful and find a route that is the best route, not the quickest fix,’ Bragg said.”

4-15-16 The Daily Progress. Dominion submits 7,000-page filing, calling it a step forward for pipeline.  “After submitting a filing Friday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Dominion has taken an important step in moving forward with the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The nearly 600-mile pipeline, if approved, would cross parts of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina… Opponents of the pipeline in Nelson and surrounding counties continue to voice staunch opposition to the project. The Friday filing includes Dominion’s responses to all of FERC’s environmental information requests from December and January, according to a news release. The move gives FERC the information it needs for the draft Environmental Impact Statement. The statement will describe the effects of the proposed pipeline on several different aspects of the environment, including land, water, air quality, existing structures and wildlife, FERC’s website states. The social, cultural and economic aspects also will be considered… The 7,000-plus-page filing also includes updated alignment sheets, tables and information regarding the alternative routes adopted by Dominion since filing a certificate application in September. The next step in the project is for FERC to issue a Notice of Schedule, which will set a timeline for the remainder of the review process, the release states.”

4-15-16 The Nation. The Democrats’ Fracking Fracture. “But environmental activists have moved the needle on fracked gas. The idea of a ban on fracking is not absurd any longer: New York has done it, and Maryland imposed a two-year moratorium last year….  ‘Referring to natural gas as a bridge fuel is no longer a defensible position, given the devastating effects of methane on our climate,’ said Wenonah Hauter, the executive director of Food & Water Watch, in a statement following the debate. Activists are planning to push the issue of a fracking ban at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. Going forward, the question for Clinton should be not why she shifted her position on fracking, but whether she can demonstrate that her proposals to make the practice safer would actually work. Is improving states’ “knowledge of local geology” really going to end the earthquakes that have been linked to fracking? Is there really a way to frack without endangering groundwater? Can regulation stem enough of the methane leaks, and quickly enough?”

4/14/16 The Farmville Herald. ‘Don’t let them sacrifice us’. “Is your property in the evacuation zone of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP)? Only landowners whose property the ACP will cross have been contacted and no information about increasing risk has been provided as the project evolves. The horsepower of the Buckingham compressor station has increased three times and more increases are likely….It seems the goal of the ACP, local leaders and media is to keep negative information hidden. Although public meetings have been held in other counties, there have been none in Buckingham. While the ACP supported economic study’s findings have been widely touted, those from Key Log, which site that conservatively estimate $4.2-$7.1 million in annual economic losses to Buckingham, have been ignored.”

4-14-16 Time.  South Dakota Oil Spill Reveals Major Pipeline Problems. “The South Dakota spill is another ill-timed blunder for an industry reeling from its unlikely loss over the Keystone XL, which President Barack Obama rejected last November 2015. Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 550-mile pipeline that would go through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, is being aggressively fought by protesters, as is the Northeast Energy Direct, a proposed 188-mile gas pipeline that would bring fracked gas from Pennsylvania and New York to New England. In February 2016, a Kentucky Supreme Court let an appeals court decision stand that had killed the Bluegrass pipeline. Environmental leaders believe that the rejection of the Keystone XL has bolstered the movement against pipelines. ‘I think people now believe that they can win,’ said Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Nebraska, an advocacy group that opposed the Keystone XL. ‘[They think,] ‘if a state like Nebraska can beat a pipeline, so can we.'”

4-14-16  The Daily Progress.  Forest Service Signs off on Pipeline Surveying.  “Surveyors with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project will be allowed into the George Washington National Forest. On Thursday, forest supervisors announced they had issued temporary special-use permits for surveys of the most recently planned route, both in the George Washington and Monongahela national forests.… Officials said they agreed to allow surveying in order for the company to collect data. They stressed that this doesn’t mean a right-of-way permit or any approval for the project has been given by the Forest Service.  ‘The information gathered from these surveys is necessary to make future decisions on whether or not to allow the construction and operation of the proposed pipeline on the Monongahela National Forest and on the George Washington National Forest,’ said Monongahela Forest Supervisor Clyde Thompson. ‘The survey information will help inform us where to avoid or reduce the impacts to sensitive resources.’”

4-14-16  Think Progress.  Fracking’s Total Environmental Impact Is Staggering, Report Finds.  “The body of evidence is growing that fracking is not only bad for the global climate, it is also dangerous for local communities.  And affected communities are growing in number. A new report, released Thursday, details the sheer amount of water contamination, air pollution, climate impacts, and chemical use in fracking in the United States.  “For the past decade, fracking has been a nightmare for our drinking water, our open spaces, and our climate,” Rachel Richardson, a co-author of the paper from Environment America, told ThinkProgress…. Moreover, fracking just one part of a growing phenomenon that is putting Americans at risk: our entire natural gas system. Fracking is just the first step. Natural gas transportation — largely through an extensive pipeline system — also poses serious risks and environmental degradation. In Pennsylvania, a group of farmers is fighting eminent domain claims that have allowed a pipeline construction company to come onto their property and cut down trees to run a liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline that will ultimately connect with export terminals along the east coast. Natural gas storage is an issue: The nation’s largest-ever natural gas leak occurred this past winter, when a Southern California storage facility released more than 97,000 metric tons of methane — a potent greenhouse gas — into the atmosphere…. On the distribution side, there are dangers, too. In 2010, an LNG pipeline exploded in San Bruno, California, killing eight people, injuring dozens more, and destroying homes in the Bay Area suburb. The Environmental Defense Fund and Google teamed up on a series of studies of methane leaks and found that older cities, such as Boston, are riddled with leaky pipes.”

4-12-16  Augusta Free Press.  Friends of Nelson Steps up to Protect Water Quality in Nelson County.  “Friends of Nelson is providing funding support for two initiatives that will be instrumental in understanding the potential impacts of Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) on Nelson County’s groundwaters and streams.  The findings from these efforts will help assure that, whatever the future holds with the proposed ACP, Nelson’s high quality water will remain uncompromised.  Downstream Strategies, a Morgantown, W.Va. environmental consulting firm, has been contracted by the Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA) to examine the implications of pipeline development for private and public water supplies…. Friends of Nelson is also partnering with Trout Unlimited to implement surface water and stream monitoring in Nelson County.  Teams of volunteers will be trained in water quality testing, and they will monitor specific areas of stream crossings by the pipeline and its access roads. Lab experts will analyze the samples collected by the monitoring teams.  The project will also generate baseline water quality information at sites where water would be used for hydrostatic testing of the pipeline.  Millions of gallons of water are required for this testing, after which the water is returned to streams, with potentially harmful consequences.  ‘These two complementary projects will put the strongest possible focus on the protection of water quality in Nelson County,’ said Ernie Reed of Friends of Nelson. ‘They will have positive effects lasting far beyond any pipelines proposed for our county.’”

4-10-16  NBC 29.  Environmental Group Urging Dominion to Nix Pipeline Projects.  “The Virginia Sierra Club is urging Dominion Power to nix its pipeline projects and opt for what it believes is a more energy-efficient solution.  Dominion has received several proposals to build two offshore turbines along Virginia’s coast.  The Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Project comes with a price tag up to $380 million…. ‘We have to go to clean energy and renewables in order to keep the earth from burning up,’ Kirk Bowers, pipelines program manager for the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, said.”

4-8-16  The Washington Post.  Dominion’s Power Play.  “Paylor and the Department of Environmental Quality are in the thick of a controversial process of granting the powerful utility permits to permanently seal 11 coal ash ponds at four Dominion power stations. Permits have been approved for stations at Possum Point, about 30 miles south of the District near the Potomac River, and at Bremo, about 50 miles up the James River from Richmond. Next up are permits for power stations in Chesterfield and Chesapeake.  Dominion says it is trying to comply with new federal rules on coal ash. Critics charge that it is racing ahead to do so on its own terms and is using its clout with Paylor and others to get its way….  Environmentalists have long been angered by what they see as the department’s coziness with Dominion and other large polluters. ‘We have no confidence that this agency will protect the public’s interest,’ said Glen Besa, director of the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club. Rather than act as a guardian of water and air, the Department of Environmental Quality sees its mission as ‘issuing permits as fast as possible,’ Besa said.”

4-7-16  News Leader.  Conservation Groups Cite New Roadblock for Dominion Pipeline.  “Another possible roadblock has come up for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, according to conservation groups.  In comments on Dominion Virginia Power’s recent permit application for a new gas-fired power plant, conservation groups detailed the company’s failure to analyze and reduce significant air pollution expected from the pipeline as well as the power plant, a release said….  Appalachian Mountain Advocates and Appalachian Voices were among the conservation groups noting that the connection between Dominion’s pipeline and power plant could mean twice as many greenhouse gas emissions.  ‘Because the two projects are linked, both literally and functionally, the law is clear that the pipeline and its compressor stations must be considered alongside the Greensville plant,’ said said Evan Johns, staff attorney with Appalachian Mountain Advocates, in a letter to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. ‘Accordingly, all activities associated with the proposals require the best available controls on greenhouse gases and other emissions. For this reason alone, Dominion must be sent back to the drawing board.’… The groups claim neither the pipeline nor the power plant can go forward until Dominion does a full analysis of all expected air pollution and reduces that pollution to comply with the law.”

4-7-16 News Leader. Our pure water will be used to test ACP. Letter to the Editor.  “If approved, both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline will involve crossing many rivers and streams, disturbing numerous natural springs and watersheds, thus putting public water sources and private wells at risk. But those are only our most obvious local water concerns. Once installed, the ACP project would require millions of gallons of water to pressure test their pipe in approximately five-mile sections before gas delivery can begin. That water will come from the same waterways already jeopardized by the installation process — our public water sources.”

4-6-16  Augusta Free Press.  Nelson Businesses Call for Federal Review of Proposed Pipelines.  “Forty-four Nelson County businesses, four community organizations and hundreds of private citizens are urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to conduct a comprehensive, simultaneous review of all four proposed gas pipelines that would cross Virginia instead of following their usual procedure of one-at-a-time environmental assessments.  This overview of multiple proposals is called a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement or PEIS. A PEIS would evaluate the full environmental impacts of all of these pipeline proposals together. It would: analyze the cumulative impacts to air, water, soils, and climate, both regionally and state-wide; assess the total environmental impacts, from drilling and fracking at the source through the combustion of the gas at the end; and determine whether there is enough domestic need to justify the proposed pipelines.  Finally, it would evaluate other possible scenarios—including conservation and investing in renewables like solar and wind—that would fulfill the same needs but not require granting energy companies the power of eminent domain to build the pipelines across thousands of properties without the consent of those property owners.  ‘We’re simply asking that FERC get a plan,’ said Randy Whiting of Friends of Nelson. ‘There is no comprehensive environmental and economic review of the more than 1000 miles of pipelines proposed that would slice across Virginia.’”

4-6-16  NBC 29.  Friends of Nelson Joins Businesses Calling for Closer Look at Pipelines.  “A group of Nelson County businesses are calling on the federal government to take a closer look at several proposed natural gas pipelines…. The group Friends of Nelson is joining forces with a list of 45 small businesses who say the commission needs to not just look at the possible pipelines one-by-one.  ‘When the federal government builds the interstate highway system, they look at the entire system, not 30 miles, 50 miles, 70 miles at it and look at it all separately. they look at them all together and they devise a big game plan for all of them. Well, there’s nothing in place for the federal government to do that with pipelines,’ said Ernie Reed of Friends of Nelson.”

4-3-16  The Roanoke Times.  A Question of Effect: Pipelines vs. Mortgages, Property Values, Insurance.  “Kurt Kielisch, president and senior appraiser for the Wisconsin-based Forensic Appraisal Group, often serves as an expert witness who represents clients in eminent domain cases seeking what they believe to be fair compensation for utility easements on their property…. His firm has researched the impact of natural gas transmission easements on private properties. The research has considered a host of variables, many with relevance for the rural properties that end up on many pipeline routes, including potential damage to wells, crop loss and soil compaction caused by heavy equipment. Companies installing or hoping to build large-diameter natural gas pipelines tend to avoid highly populated areas whenever possible, preferring rural properties instead…. The large diameter of many of the interstate natural gas pipelines recently approved or under review by FERC — and the excavation required to bury them — add to the impact on properties, Kielisch said…. Spencer Phillips, an ecological economist with Key-Log Economics, and colleagues were commissioned by opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to study the project’s economic costs on Highland, Augusta, Nelson and Buckingham counties.  Among a host of other conclusions, the Key-Log study estimated that values of parcels on the pipeline route, inside the potential impact radius or near a planned compressor station, likely would drop by a range of $55.8 million to $80.2 million. Property tax revenue would suffer as a result, the study reported.  Separately, Key-Log released a three-page critique of the study commissioned by the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America Foundation, the report that found no significant impacts of natural gas pipelines on property value, property insurance or access to mortgages.  Key-Log’s review declared the analysis flawed and based on incorrect assumptions.”

4-2-16  NBC 29.  Activists Rally in Charlottesville to Support Carbon Reduction Bill.  “Environmental activists in Charlottesville are calling on Gov. Terry McAuliffe to stand strong on a clean power plan for the Commonwealth.  Charlottesville is one of 12 communities rallying in support of carbon reduction.  Saturday, activists joined together on the downtown mall in support of a bill that would require Virginia uphold specific standards set out by federal law.  It’s called the Clean Power Plan.  Supporters say that it’s not enough to wait 10 or 15 years from now. They say change is possible if we focus our energy on doing something now.”