August 2016 News

8-30-16 Sentinel- Tribune. Landowners challenge notion of positive impact from pipeline. “While Texas pipeline company Kinder Morgan is touting what it says will be a $237.3 million positive economic impact on Ohio, based on a study it released last week, landowners that would be affected by the Utopia pipeline project believe their economic outcome will be overwhelmingly negative. Several real estate professionals surveyed lend credence to the concerns of the landowners. Jon Luidhardt, a Wood County farmer whose land is being sought by Kinder Morgan under a claim of eminent domain, believes his property will not only depreciate if the pipeline is allowed to continue, it will never rebound based on the rights that Kinder Morgan would have to use the land. ‘I think it will depreciate the land in half. And I know where the permanent easement is, it will never be worth even close to what it is currently.’… Maurice Thompson is a lawyer and executive director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law who is working pro bono on the case in a series of lawsuits in three courtrooms of the Wood County Court of Common Pleas. ‘Purely private companies, unlike government or even public utilities, do not have the power of eminent domain in Ohio. If they did, any private corporation could take your land to bolster its profits,’ Thompson said. He said the Utopia ethane pipeline is not a public use concern. Since the pipeline would be used and owned by Kinder Morgan, a private company — not the public — it does not fall under the realm of being able to be secured through use of eminent domain. ‘This is a closed-off pipeline. If Kinder Morgan is allowed to claim eminent domain, what would keep Wal-Mart or McDonald’s from taking land that they feel is important to them?’ Thompson asked.”

8-29-16 The Register-Herald. Pipeline value questioned. “It’s been about two years since energy companies began proposing construction of natural gas pipelines crisscrossing West Virginia with promises of jobs and much-needed revenue for financially struggling counties. The pipelines would transport natural gas from West Virginia to surrounding states. And that has people deep in conversation — whether political or kitchen table. Pipeline proponents and opponents alike are speaking of jobs, energy independence and the environment. There are at least six pipelines planned for West Virginia, either in the government-approval or developmental stages. Only one of the projects is slated to cross counties in our region, the Mountain Valley Pipeline…. Another report, commissioned by POWHR (Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights), estimates the total cost to an eight-county region in southern West Virginia and southwest Virginia is between $8 billion and $8.9 billion in present value terms. That figure includes between $65.1 million and $135.5 million in the short term as construction strips forests and other productive land bare, and as private property values decline due to the dangers and inconvenience of living near the pipeline’s route. Additionally, the counties could lose between $119 million to $131 million each annually after construction due to permanent changes in land cover, lost property tax revenue and hindrance to economic growth in key sectors.”

8-29-16 The News Virginian. Pipeline protestors greet McAuliffe as he visits Crimora. “Protesters opposed to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline lined U.S. 340 in Crimora Monday prior to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s arrival at the Virginia Department of Forestry Center. The protesters, armed with anti-pipeline signs, represented multiple environmental organizations from Augusta, Nelson and Rockbridge counties. Their message to McAuliffe was simple. He ran as a green governor, strong on the environment, and should not support the proposed 600-mile natural gas pipeline, whose route takes it through a long swatch of Western Virginia. The project would start in West Virginia and end in North Carolina. ‘The governor needs to start listening to people. He constantly spews the Dominion [Resources] talking points,’ said Sharon Ponton, referring to the company that wants to build the pipeline. Ponton, a Lovingston resident affiliated with the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, said McAuliffe has run for office one way and governed another. Jennifer Lewis, a Waynesboro resident and president of Friends of Augusta, said McAuliffe is “going against Democratic values” and could be alienating a lot of environmental Democrats. Lewis is vice chair of the Waynesboro Democratic Committee.”

8-25-16 EcoWatch. Health Dangers of Fracking Revealed in Johns Hopkins Study. “A new study out today from Johns Hopkins in Environmental Health Perspectives revealed associations between fracking and various health symptoms including nasal and sinus problems, migraines and fatigue in Pennsylvanians living near areas of natural gas development. The study suggests that residents with the highest exposure to active fracking wells are nearly twice as likely to suffer from the symptoms. This is the third study released by Hopkins in the past year that connects proximity to fracking sites with adverse health outcomes. Last fall, researchers found an association between fracking and premature births and high-risk pregnancies, and last month, found ties between fracking and asthma…. While the industry will no doubt continue to refute the expanding science about the dangers of fracking, we can’t afford to ignore it. The public health and climate impacts of extreme fossil fuel extraction requires bold leadership to keep fossil fuels in the ground and transition swiftly torenewable energy.”

8-25-16 The Farmville Herald. Station hearing set for September. “A public hearing is set for 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 26, regarding a potential 53,515 horsepower (hp) compressor station in Buckingham County — part of a 600-mile natural gas pipeline proposed by Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) LLC…. The station is planned for property along Route 56 between Shelton Store and Union Hill roads. ACP used Monday’s meeting to introduce a special use permit to the commission; it would also need the Buckingham County Board of Supervisor’s approval. The commission could make a recommendation to supervisors after September’s hearing…. Chad Oba, chair of Friends of Buckingham, a group opposed to the project, said she was ‘deeply concerned’ about the station. ‘It’s a huge problem … It will pollute, to a very high degree, causing health problems that you’ve just heard about — 24/7 noise, light and haze for miles around,’ she said. Oba said it would be one of the largest compressor stations to ever be constructed. ‘This is considerable scientific-backed evidence on the health impacts of compressor stations: 65 to 75 percent (of) damages come from emissions. They are mostly health problems from all gas activities. And the most come from compressor stations. Property sales are already being affected,’ she said.”

8-24-16 The Des Moines Register. Dakota Access pipeline wrecking soil, farmers complain. “All Francis Goebel wanted was for Dakota Access pipeline crews to put his soil back the way they found it. Instead, he’s got a scar running across his soybean fields where the dark, fertile topsoil is being stacked on top of several feet of hard clay mixed with clay loam. The result, Goebel fears, will be soil less suited for growing crops — and much less valuable. ‘Nature separated those soils for a reason, that’s the way I feel,’ said Goebel, who runs a 164-acre century farm in Sioux County. ‘If nature put it there, they should put it back the way it was.’… But for pipeline opponents, the landowner complaints about construction are only just the beginning. Storm Lake lawyer John Murray, who represented landowners opposing the project, said aside from the soil issues, he’s heard complaints that construction is causing drainage and runoff issues. In some cases, water has been flowing out of construction zones onto cropland…. At a recent press conference, landowners aired grievances over pipeline work, including inadequate protection of topsoil, trash piling up in the work zone and deterioration of fields because crews continued working in wet areas.”

8-24-16 The Roanoke Times. Opponents seek town-hall style input sessions on Mountain Valley Pipeline. “Worried by a new style of public comment session cropping up in other states, Roanoke-area pipeline critics are urging federal authorities to include traditional town halls when seeking new input on the Mountain Valley Pipeline later this year. ‘We’d like to see an open process,’ said Diana Christopulos of Salem, a member of a coalition of groups opposed to the 301-mile interstate natural gas pipeline project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to release a draft environmental impact statement for the MVP proposal in September.”

8-24-16 Esquire. This Is the Only Way That Pipelines Will Be Stopped. “Things were not as usual on Wednesday afternoon in John Marshall Park, a semi-shady oasis next to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Dead in front of the building, five Native American drummers pounded and chanted and chanted and pounded. The crowd around them, some in Native dress and some in T-shirts and jeans, and some in the biker leather of a Native motorcycle club from upstate New York, joined in. This was the language of the prairie and the hills come to the capital of the land of politics and the law…. Ever since April, members of the Standing Rock nation in North Dakota have been demonstrating and blocking the construction of the pipeline, arguing that it is profaning lands that the tribe considers to be sacred…. There seems little question that the Dakota Access pipeline has replaced the defunct Keystone XL pipeline as ground zero for the multi-faceted battle over pipelines and, therefore, over energy policy going forward. After the president canceled Keystone, it seemed that a little of the air went out of the anti-pipeline forces. Major environmental groups moved on to other issues…. ‘Some of the environmental groups decided to focus their attention elsewhere, and after six years, I can understand that,’ said Jane Fleming Kleeb, the chairman of the Nebraska Democratic party who made her bones leading the fight against the Keystone project in that state. ‘What should have happened after Keystone got rejected was a huge influx of resources to local and state groups fighting pipelines, and that hasn’t happened. What has happened is landowners and tribes on the ground are fighting with everything they have and there have been 20-plus projects that have been cancelled…. ‘This has been the slow erosion of property rights,’ said Kleeb. ‘This is the only way that pipelines will be stopped. Construction companies will find ways to get around permits and other obstacles. That has to be brought through the courts.'”

8-24-16 Nelson County Times. Dominion simulates visual impact of Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “As part of continued efforts to educate residents in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina about the effects of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Dominion Energy released detailed simulations of the pipeline’s visual impact on Nelson County on Tuesday. With the help of Truescape, an international firm that works with companies to show the visual impacts of infrastructure projects on the surrounding environment, Dominion hopes simulations of the Wintergreen area could help people sort through perceptions and the reality of what the pipeline could look like if approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…. After viewing the simulations Wednesday, Nelson County Supervisor Con-nie Brennan said she believes the images are ‘preposterous.’ ‘To suggest that they convey in any way the true visual impact this pipeline will have in Nelson County is ludicrous, to put it mildly. One snapshot, taken from behind a fence during a glaring sunshine on a summer day, that purports to show how unobtrusive the finished pipeline will be, is insulting to the viewer,’ she said of the Devils Knob Loop simulations. ‘… Once again, along with many other misrepresentations, Dominion is trying to put a good face on an abominable project.'”

8-23-16 NBC29. FERC Will Not Conduct Virginia Pipeline Study. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will not conduct a study on three pipelines projects, including the hotly contested Atlantic Coast Pipeline, slated to cut through Virginia. FERC’s study would have analyzed potential environmental, social, and economic impacts associated with these natural gas pipelines. Many groups, including the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, are unhappy the study is off the table. The chapter’s director, Kate Addleson, released a response to FERC’s choice to not move forward with an environmental impact statement. Addleson believes the study was, ‘necessary to assess the need and consequences of the proposed pipeline projects in Virginia.'”

8-20-16 Newsleader (opinion). Unlike Goodlatte, Degner will listen. “I like a man who listens to me. Don’t worry. I’m strictly talking politics here. Like a lot of residents of the Shenandoah Valley, I have concerns about the Dominion pipeline. I did what my 12th grade government teacher would’ve wanted. I wrote to my representatives and my local paper. I thought I would let you know what happened. The response from my congressional representative, Bob Goodlatte, was crickets. No one from his office took the time to acknowledge the receipt of my letter much less respond to it Washington is a busy place. There’s legislation to draft. There’s fund-raising to do. There are events to attend with contributors like Dominion Power. I’m only one vote. I didn’t expect a personal note. I did expect that like my senator, his office would send me his policy position and the rationale for it. If the pipeline which endangers local homes, jobs and tourism is a sacrifice he believes our community should make, shouldn’t he put his case before his constituents?”

8-19-16 Newsleader (opinion). Our energy future is not like the past. “Most of us think very little about electricity. We flip the switch. The light comes on. But we are in the midst of the greatest change in our electricity system since it was developed in the late 1800s. For the first time, our electricity use is not increasing with population growth or greater economic activity. Our rate regulations were developed to pay our utilities for what it costs to serve us, plus a profit. This formula does not work as well when demand for electricity stops growing. Utilities need revenues to pay off past investments and current costs, plus a profit to attract investors for future projects. As appliances and buildings become more efficient in their use of energy, utility revenue growth declines. Many utilities are responding by proposing new projects such as power plants, transmission lines and pipelines to ensure a greater flow of revenues in the future. In the 20th century coal was the preferred fuel for power plants. It was plentiful and cheap. For many years natural gas was prohibited for use in new power plants because it was in short supply. After years of use, we discovered the damaging effects of coal on our health and environment. Recent discoveries of natural gas in shale formations have increased supplies and lowered costs…. New studies indicate that natural gas leaks along the supply chain, from the wells to the point of use, might negate any benefit analysts thought natural gas could provide for climate change. Many promote clean sources such as solar and wind as alternatives to new natural gas units. Energy generated from renewables is equivalent or cheaper than energy from new natural gas units in many parts of the country. Numerous studies show that solar costs are likely to be cut in half over the next 10 years. In contrast, Dominion has projected that by 2025 the price of natural gas will be about 250 percent higher than current prices…. Spending $5 billion on energy efficiency rather than a new pipeline would create 100,000 new jobs in Virginia and lower everyone’s rates. Massachusetts is asking utilities to invest $2.2 billion in energy efficiency to save ratepayers $6 billion. Virginia’s current rules don’t encourage this. Our 21st century energy system will rely on a diversity of generating sources and incorporate rapid technological change. We must join together and design an energy system where everybody wins: shareholders, ratepayers and all the citizens of Virginia.”

8-18-16 The Washington Post. North Dakota pipeline construction halted until court date. “Developers of a four-state oil pipeline have agreed to halt construction of the project in southern North Dakota until a federal court hearing next week in Washington, D.C. The temporary construction shutdown comes amid growing protests and increased tension over the Dakota Access Pipeline that is intended to cross the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation that straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border…. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is suing federal regulators for approving the oil pipeline that would be the largest-capacity one carrying crude out of western North Dakota’s oil patch. The tribes’ lawsuit filed last month in federal court in Washington challenges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to grant permits at more than 200 water crossings in four states for the pipeline. The tribe argues the pipeline that would be placed less than a mile upstream of the reservation could impact drinking water for the more than 8,000 tribal members and the millions who rely on it further downstream. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the tribe by environmental group Earthjustice, said the project violates several federal laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act.”

8-18-16 The Recorder. Dominion seeks to address delays on ACP gas pipeline. ” Confronting its second startup hitch in five months, Dominion is asking contractors whether they can speed up construction if and when feds signal a green light for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Last Friday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a “notice of schedule of environmental review” for the embroiled $5 billion, 600-mile pipeline proposal that faces multiple environmental challenges. The notice establishes a new schedule for granting prospective approval for Dominion to begin construction and adds a new delay on top of another one announced in April. The original timeline Dominion reported in 2014 called for construction beginning this fall, shortly after licensing in 2016, and beginning service in 2018. FERC’s notice last week puts construction at the earliest in late summer 2017, assuming the pipeline company satisfies FERC directives in time for the agency to issue a draft environmental impact statement this December…. FERC said it would issue a notice of availability of the final EIS on June 30, 2017. That would make the 90-day federal authorization decision deadline Sept. 28, 2017 — a week after the last day of summer next year. ‘If a schedule change becomes necessary for the final EIS, an additional notice will be provided so that the relevant agencies are kept informed of the projects’ progress,’ FERC said…. Then, in June, FERC issued 187 directives in response to May scoping meetings in Bath and Pocahontas counties. The agency issued instructions for Dominion to fully assess the fossil fuel project’s impact on historic and karst resources in Little Valley, Fort Dinwiddie Farm, Meadow Lane Farm, Fort Lewis Lodge, The Wilderness farm, The Homestead, Jefferson Springs, and elsewhere. FERC told Dominion to provide a map that summarizes geo-hazards and ranks them from low to high. ‘These maps should be scaled to show the entire project (1:50,000) and should include karst features, landslide hazards, and active and abandoned subsurface mines,’ FERC said.”

8-18-16 NBC29. Demonstrators Join National Movement to Rally for Clean Energy. “A growing national movement is drawing people from seven states around the country to join hands against their community’s pipelines, coal ash, and fracking. Demonstrators are rallying from North Carolina to Maryland, West Virginia to Georgia, and central Virginia is no exception. ‘No to pipelines, no to fracking, no more fossil fuel development. We need to start thinking about renewables,’ said Jennifer Lewis, president and founder of Friends of Augusta. Participants of Hands Across Our Land issued three demands. Elected officials must opposed gas and oil projects that hurt citizens and the economy, stop reckless coal ash disposal that pollute rivers and drinking water, and reduce clime changing pollution from power plants. Friends of Nelson, Augusta, and Buckingham say they want their elected officials to know they’re not standing idly by in their fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). ‘It re-energizes my fight and my motivation to keep fighting against this pipeline when I see other communities that have been successful, that are fighting working hard together,’ Lewis said. With the Blue Ridge Parkway in the background, activists held hands in solidarity with people in Maryland, who are battling a new liquid natural gas export, and those dealing with the effects of fracking in West Virginia. ‘It’s a terrifying thing to think you’re in this alone and people need to know they’re not,’ said Heidi Cochran, who lives in Nelson County.”

8-18-16 The Daily Progress. Hands — and counties — unite in opposition. “Concerned citizens, community leaders and environmental activists gathered Thursday evening at the stone bridge on Route 250. They held hands, waved signs and “stood united” to make their opposition to fossil fuels use clear, organizers say. The event they took part in, Hands Across Our Land, was dubbed a “national day of action” by organizers. Fracking, coal ash, pipelines, water contamination, destruction of forests and loss of private property: those were the issues on the minds of people participating in Hands Across Our Land. ‘It’s a day to show Dominion … that we are going to stand united,’ Jennifer Lewis of Friends of Augusta said, referring to Dominion Virginia Power, which hopes to construct a natural gas pipeline that would run through parts of Western Virginia, including Augusta and Nelson counties. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a $5 billion, 500-mile project, is fiercely opposed by environmental rights activists and many homeowners whose land would be affected by the pipeline. It was a key rallying point around Thursday’s event. ‘[We want to stop] these projects and start the conversation in alternative sources of energy,’ Lewis added. This is the second year activists have gathered at the stone bridge, near the Augusta County/Nelson County line, for Hands Across Our Land. Friends of Augusta members stood side-by-side with Friends of Nelson, a similar community conservation group, on the bridge, a symbol of the united front against the pipeline and similar projects. ‘Both counties came together and united over the bridge,’ Lewis said of the event. ‘We don’t care if [the Pipeline] is not in our backyard. We’re going to protect our neighbors too.’… Lewis planned to give away “No Pipeline” yard signs and bumper stickers at the event. ‘We need to keep it in people’s minds that there is strong opposition to this pipeline,’ Lewis mentioned. ‘We will not go down without a fight.'”

8-18-16 Newsleader. Rallies against gas pipeline plan in Deerfield, Afton. “Citizens from across Virginia came together to rally against the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline at events in Deerfield and Afton on Thursday. About 30 people voiced their dissent for Dominion Energy’s pipeline plan as part of a national day of action organized by Friends of Augusta County and Augusta County Alliance on a local level, and Hands Across Our Land on a regional level at the morning event in Deerfield. The afternoon rally saw about 75 people, including Kai Degner, who is running against Bob Goodlatte for Virginia’s 6th Congressional District seat, convene in Afton near the Augusta and Nelson County line to protest the pipeline. ‘What we hope to gain is more public awareness of what Dominion is trying to do to the region and the state,’ said Mark Starnes, a Deerfield Valley resident who was at the morning rally. The goal is to show landowners who would be affected by the proposed pipeline that there’s a larger community that stands with them and cares about what happens to the land, said Nancy Sorrells, co-chair of Augusta County Alliance. The best resource in the fight against the pipeline is solidarity in the community, she said. The rallies served as a way to re-energize this community, said Friends of Augusta president and founder Jennifer Lewis, and she plans to continue fighting through construction protesting, as well, if it comes to that…. The most important thing is for people not to get discouraged, Sorrells said. ‘We’re not going to stop fighting for what is right.'”

8-18-16 WHSV3. Pipeline opponents meet for regional event: Hands Across our Land. “Landowners gathered on Thursday, Aug. 18 at a home in western Augusta County to speak out against a proposed natural gas pipeline. ‘We have got to stand together and united and keep fighting this pipeline,’ Jennifer Lewis, the organizer of the event, said to a crowd of onlookers. ‘We can win. It’s not a done deal.’ The gathering was part of Hands Across our Land, a community-driven advocacy effort that protests pipeline projects across five states. This is the second year the event was held in Augusta County. ‘We are not going to benefit from this pipeline,’ said Lewis. ‘We’re not getting any of the gas. We’re not getting any of the jobs; so we are showing Dominion that you can’t come and take our land.’ The community meetings were held at various locations, one being the home of Scott Ballin on Deerfield Valley Road. According to Ballin, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would cut right through the field located on his property. ‘They’re doing it through our national forests and they’re doing it through our farmlands,’ said Ballin. ‘That is unacceptable to us.’… Later in the day, a similar gathering took place at the Augusta-Nelson County line. Kai Degner, the Democrat running against longtime U.S. Congress member, Bob Goodlatte, was in attendance.”

8-18-16 WDBJ7. Franklin Co. residents join against pipeline in multi-state protest. “A half-dozen Franklin County residents posted up along US 220 Thursday afternoon’s rush hour, trying to persuade passing motorists to look deeper at the Mountain Valley pipeline proposal. ‘There’s a lot of strong feelings in Franklin County about this pipeline,’ Preserve Franklin’s chairman Michael Carter. ‘It’s not what we want in our county, and we’re doing everything we can to keep ’em off.’ Preserve Franklin is just one of the many groups taking part in Hands Across our Land, a seven-state effort stop new natural gas infrastructure. ‘I think it is ungodly, unholy,’ Pastor Brad Dulaney said of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. ‘Our country needs to move away from fossil fuels into a different type of future.’

8-17-16 The Register-Herald. Fayette appeals federal decision on fracking waste ban. “The Fayette County Commission will appeal a June federal court ruling deeming the county’s fracking waste disposal ban invalid because such regulations are pre-empted by state and federal law. Appalachian Mountain Advocates Senior Attorney Derek Teaney filed the notice of appeal Aug. 15. In June, Judge John T. Copenhaver granted Pennsylvania-based petroleum company EQT Production Company’s motion for summary judgment, and the ruling was issued just hours before the hearing was scheduled. Copenhaver ruled provisions in the ordinance that supersede state or federal permits, like those issued by the Department of Environmental Protection, and allow residents to sue violators in circuit court, are not enforceable…. In April 2016, two studies led by the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed waste from oil and gas disposal was found in surface waters and sediments near a controversial underground injection control well in Lochgelly operated by Danny Webb Construction.”

8-16-16 The Roanoke Times (opinion). McAuliffe shills for Dominion Resources. “On energy issues, our state’s elected leaders, including the governor, are minions of Dominion Resources. We have been asked to explain the July 24 “March on the Mansion” in near 100-degree temperatures by over 600 citizens from all over the commonwealth. Why protest against a Democratic governor who acknowledges global warming and has stated his commitment to lead Virginia from fossil fuel dependency to renewable energy? Because this rhetoric is belied by tokenism…. Dominion is both the seller and buyer of Marcellus methane shipped to its gas-fired electricity plants, creating a conflict of interest: an incentive to provide a product Virginia increasingly no longer needs. Dominion has been granted a guaranteed rate of return regardless of market decline and it has been permitted to pass on the costs of construction to its customers. What’s not to like for Dominion? What is good for Dominion is not necessarily good for Virginia. Dominion sees its interest in draining the Marcellus solely for corporate profit while knowing this will contribute to global warming and certain catastrophic climate disruption for Virginia…. A recent study comparing different models for Virginia to comply with the Clean Power Plan concludes: Compared with Dominion’s strategy, the Commonwealth could create thousands more jobs by diversifying its energy portfolio with fewer gas fired plants and a greater mix of renewable energy, along with greater energy efficiencies…. Why did Dominion contribute far more to your gubernatorial campaign than to your Republican opponent, Ken Cuccinelli? Stop using the bully pulpit of your office to promote Dominion’s interest over the public’s.”

8-16-16 Cfact.org. Eminent Domain revolt scuttles pipeline — Virginia next? “Fearing they will lose part of their land through condemnation to make way for a petroleum pipeline, farmers and other landowners in South Carolina and Georgia have prevailed on their respective state legislatures to approve bills that put the project on hold indefinitely…. While many landowners and communities in the path of the project didn’t object to the pipeline per se, the threat of eminent domain sparked fierce resistance.  Under eminent domain, landowners in the pipeline’s path would lose the right to choose to sell or lease their land. They would be forced to accept Kinder Morgan’s “offer,” which would be in the form of a nominal, one-time payment, regardless of their personal desires for their property. This payment would not even cover the annual taxes on the land for the life of the pipeline let alone the impact to property value…. In Virginia, a similar groundswell of opposition is emerging against using eminent domain on private land to construct the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).  The proposed $5 billion, 560-mile-long ACP would transport natural gas from West Virginia through central Virginia and into North Carolina.  Led by Richmond-based Dominion Resources, the ACP’s developers have said they will use eminent domain to get the land they need to construct the pipeline. According to Dominion, roughly 2,700 landowners could be directly affected by the proposed pipeline.  Once the final path of the ACP has been determined, landowners, through whose property the pipeline would run, will have to watch a 300’ swath of trees and terrain cut to dig the trench for the pipe, and then cope with a 75-foot ‘right of way’ on which nothing can be built and nothing but small plants could grow; a bitter pill for any landowner who now owns a parcel that may be worthless in the market and disturb or destroy their personal homestead.”

8-16-16 Appalachain Mountain Advocates. New Challenge to Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Greensville Power Station. “Today, the Sierra Club and Appalachian Mountain Advocates filed a lawsuit challenging the ‘prevention of significant deterioration’ construction permit for Dominion Energy’s proposed $1.3 billion gas power plant in Greensville, Virginia. The suit was filed on the grounds that the permit unlawfully fails to require the ‘best available emissions control technology’ for the power plant and fails to control against the massive quantities of methane that would leak from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, proposed to connect directly to the power plant. Dominion Virginia Power began construction of the proposed 1,558 megawatt gas-fired power plant this past June, which would be the largest gas-powered operation in the Commonwealth. Dominion has proposed that the Greensville Plant operate at all hours, regardless of the actual demand or the availability of power from other sources such as clean, renewable energy. If built, it would burn fracked gas supplied directly by another Dominion project — the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — a nearly 600-mile long pipeline that would take private property and destroy forests and streams in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina.”

8-15-16 Public News Service. Pipelines Inch Forward, Despite Questions of Need, Climate Impact. “Federal regulators are moving forward with huge pipeline projects across West Virginia and Virginia, although opponents say the projects are risking overbuilding and locking in a fuel that causes climate change. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC confirmed it won’t require a collective environmental impact statement on all the lines designed to ship Marcellus and Utica gas to East Coast markets. Two of them – the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) – could end up costing ratepayers $9 billion. And Rick Webb, coordinator of the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, says FERC is looking at the need for and total impact of each line separately. ‘As if the others don’t even exist,” he points out. “And analysis that has been done, including by FERC’s own staff, indicates that we will very shortly have an excess in pipeline capacity – yet FERC doesn’t want to address that.’ FERC is moving ahead with timelines for the ACP, MVP and others that could see construction starting in about a year. The energy companies behind the pipelines say they have contracts in hand to ship the gas, proving the need…. Critics also contend it’s foolish to build billions of dollars worth of fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when the world is rapidly moving away from energy that causes climate change.”

8-15-16 WAMC. Coalition Seeks To Overturn FERC’s Approval Of AIM Pipeline. “A coalition of 21 plaintiffs has filed a brief seeking to overturn a federal agency’s approval of a pipeline project in the Northeast. A number of the plaintiffs specifically oppose a portion of the pipeline going through the Hudson Valley. The plaintiffs filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia seeking to overturn the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s March 2015 approval of Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market, or AIM, project. Construction has been under way for more than a year. The coalition’s brief comes after the denial of a rehearing request. In addition to New York, the coalition includes plaintiffs from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and challenges the AIM pipeline approval on a number of grounds. Nancy Vann, member of one of the coalition’s plaintiffs Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion, says the brief addresses a number of points, including a technical one. ‘The company that was hired to do the Environmental Impact Statement works for Spectra, the company that’s putting in the pipeline, that owns the pipeline, on other projects,’ Vann says ‘This is a clear conflict of interest.’ The coalition alleges that FERC improperly segmented the Algonquin pipeline expansion by dividing it into three different projects to avoid having to address its full environmental impact…. ‘We will be probably going back into court within the next week or so and ask for a stay,” says Vann. “The stay request asks the court to halt the pipeline construction while we’re in court.'”

8-15-16 The News Virginian. Early 2017 likely next public comment on pipeline. “The property owners living along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route will get an opportunity to comment on the project once again in early 2017, according to Dominion Resources. Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will set a comment period once the project’s draft environmental impact statement is complete. FERC released an environmental review timeline for the controversial pipeline on Friday, which details a December date for the draft’s release…. Augusta County supervisors wrote FERC in April to express concerns about the most recent revisions to the pipeline route. The letter from board Chairwoman Carolyn Bragg said the latest revisions to the route would affect county land with conservation easements, and would run adjacent to wells in the Deerfield community. Bragg also told FERC in the letter that portions of the route would be in a source water protection area, and cross the floodplain eight times. The letter concluded that the revised route is ‘not the most advantageous’ one.”

8-15-16 The News Virginian. Pipeline opponents take ‘action’. “Local activists, environmental groups and opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will come together on Thursday for a “national day of action” — a series of events dubbed Hands Across Our Land. By joining hands and taking a stand, activists hope to have their voices heard. Organizers say the event is not only a show of opposition against the pipeline, but other fossil fuel use as well. The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League is sponsoring the event. In addition to fossil fuels themselves, fracking, pipelines and other methods of extracting and moving natural gas, coal and oil have their own potential ill effects, opponents say — from the loss of forestland to the risk of water contamination. These issues that need to be recognized and addressed, said Jennifer Lewis, a member of the local group Friends of Augusta, which is participating in HAOL. ‘[Thursday] is a day to show Dominion, gas companies and officials that we are going to stand united against these projects,’ Lewis said, referring to fossil fuel-related initiatives, including the proposed 500-mile pipeline, a portion of which would run through Augusta and Nelson counties. ‘We all stand united in stopping these projects and starting the conversation in alternative sources of energy.'”

8-13-16 Newsleader (opinion). Call me selfish. I’m still against the pipeline.”‘I showed my heifer at the fair, she was my pride and joy.’ That poem line, which my mother forced me to memorize, kept popping in my head during this year’s Augusta County Fair. I was a 4-H dairy club kid. We showed our cows at all the local county fairs and the Virginia and West Virginia state fairs. We even were fortunate enough to compete in the North American Dairy Club show in Columbus, Ohio…. The controversy over this year’s fair and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was a conflict for me. The fair is a county event, focused on agriculture, yet the fair board accepted monies from the ACP for sponsorship. The online comments during the fair ranged from supportive of those of us protesting against the sponsorship to blasting us for that support. Dominion has been supportive of the fair for years. It was attaching the ACP to the moniker that sparked our flame. The ACP is not just Dominion, but a coalition of power companies across the region. Some of the comments were unnecessary and callous…. And how do you fight back against big corporate businesses wanting to take from you what you have worked so hard for? You protest and speak up about your local agricultural fair accepting sponsorship from a coalition planning to destroy the very beauty of Augusta County…. We, as protesters, are called selfish for wanting to protect our homes and land. We should be ashamed of ourselves for not wanting all those jobs to come to the Valley, we are told. Those jobs are limited and short term as most of the construction is done by their own specialty workforce.”

8-12-16 Orlando Sentinel. Sabal Trail pipeline seizes Florida properties. “For the vast majority of property owners along the path of the Sabal Trail pipeline, it’s all over but the crying — and arguments about money. Judges in the Central Florida cases have now issued preliminary injunctions handing most of the properties over to the pipeline. About 25 properties in Central Florida, and 135 more in the Southeast, were hit by eminent-domain federal lawsuits filed in March by the pipeline company. Overseen by Sabal Trail Transmission LLC, the pipeline is a joint venture of Spectra Energy Corp., NextEra Energy Inc. (owner of FPL) and Duke Energy…. One property in Osceola County, where developers envisioned more than 2,400 homes for the proposed Greenpointe Communities, could be subject to a lot of dispute about value.  ‘They have the federal right to seize the property. We had spent months trying to get them to move the pipeline, but we’ve given up the battle on that. I have signed a letter to allow them to enter our property,’ said Gerald McGratty, a court-appointed receiver who oversees the property, also known as BK Ranches. According to McGratty, ‘We had a buyer for the property, and they walked away, because of the pipeline.'”

8-12-16 The Daily Progress. Agency: pipeline build could start next year. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday issued a scheduled timeline for the environmental review of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a major step forward for the controversial project. Under the timeline released by FERC on Friday, the 18-month construction of the pipeline could start by late September of 2017…. FERC set June 30 as the release date for the final environmental impact statement. A 90-day review process would follow, and at the end of that three-month span, a decision would be released on whether or not to approve the project…. Nancy Sorrells, the co-chair of the Augusta County Alliance, one of several groups that oppose the pipeline, responded to news of the environmental impact statement deadlines. Sorrells said Friday’s news ‘gives us something concrete to look at and study and formulate our discussions about why this is not an appropriate project for this region.’ The alliance and other groups oppose the pipeline for its potential impact on water quality, the environment and the properties in its path, and for a host of safety issues.”

8-10-16 Augusta Free Press. FERC punts on pipeline project environmental impact statements. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will not conduct a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on regional pipeline projects, including the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  The move is being met with criticism by environmental groups in light of reports that have shown that the regional projects are not adequately scrutinized by regulators on a regional basis. ‘With seven new pipelines planned for the region, including three in Virginia, a PEIS was the primary means to adequately assess the necessity and consequences of the proposed pipeline projects in Virginia and West Virginia – including the significant impact to our climate of this massive gas buildout. Now, it is uncertain how federal regulators will consider the cumulative impacts of multiple pipelines on local communities and our environment,’ said Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Director Kate Addleson.”

8-10-16 The Pocahontas Times(letter to the editor). Stories. “It’s their personal heartfelt stories that rock me. Stories told by Native American Indians as they cry over their beloved homelands sullied by polluting mines and scarring pipelines. Stories by sickened people from nearby Fayetteville claiming out-of-state well-injected frack waste is seeping into their drinking water. Stories told by families with cancer, asthma, COPD, heart disease, or birth defects who live near mountaintop removal operations. Stories by researchers confirming studies of higher rates of pollution-related diseases…. Every day more stories crop up from people in Virginia, West Virginia, and, yes, Pocahontas County pleading FERC, government officials, and investors to deny the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) that would rip out their hearts if their beloved lands, waters, view sheds, and neighborhoods are spoiled. Even without the stories, ACP economics would be bad for Pocahontas County. Not even one permanent job. Not even one cubic foot of natural gas. Instead, devaluation of adjacent property values due to loss of scenic value and potential pipeline explosion. Disruption of our lives during construction. And much more – just so private corporation and business interests hundreds of miles away can increase their profits. Their gain, our loss. So who does our government work for? For ‘we the people’ or for ‘we the powerful far-away businesses’?”

8-10-16 The Roanoke Times. 5th candidates straddle pipeline; talk climate change at forum. “The two candidates for the 5th Congressional District took squishy stances about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline at a Senior Statesman of Virginia forum Wednesday. Although many detest the pipeline on property rights and environmental grounds, candidates agreed natural gas will come through Virginia. It’s only a matter of where. Both committed to a level of advocacy, but varied in manner. Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Buckingham, a prosecutor prone to Senate floor speeches, said he would step to the bully pulpit if he heard a mandate by constituents to fight. Democrat and a former mediator Jane Dittmar said she could best serve district interests by pushing for thorough and fair review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Neither Garrett nor Dittmar, a former Albemarle County supervisor, came out firm for nor against the about 600-mile natural gas pipeline planned to go through private property and public lands from West Virginia to North Carolina, including through Nelson County…. Dittmar agreed to watchdog the process, but gave no opinion. She committed to not accept campaign money from Dominion Resources, a partner in the proposed pipeline project. The energy company donates heavily to both sides of the General Assembly aisle, including $5,000 given to Garrett’s Senate campaign over five years. Dittmar said she was happy to work with Dominion but wanted to avoid the appearance of persuasion. She backs a request by anti-pipeline advocates calling for a comprehensive review of the need and environmental effect of four proposed natural gas pipelines. Such infrastructure is examined piecemeal. According to a previous article by The Roanoke Times, FERC said in November it had not performed such a review and did not plan to do one. ‘I think that we have the authority to tell FERC if they’re going to be coming through our counties, in the 5th District in my particular instance, that they look at all of those studies together before they continue with the permitting process,’ Dittmar said.”

8-10-16 C-ville magazine. 2,200 miles: Interstate natural gas pipelines already here. “Locally, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has amassed intense opposition since Dominion Energy formally announced its project plans in September 2014. What some challengers may not know, however, is that more than 2,000 miles of pipelines have sliced through Virginia for several decades, sparking little to no debate. ‘I think the fact that most people are unaware of the vast network of existing pipelines that are operating in our communities today says a couple of things,’ says Dominion spokesperson Aaron Ruby, who notes that these pipelines go unnoticed because they operate safely and coexist peacefully with their environments. Four Williams Transco natural gas transmission pipelines in the same right of way run under Lake Monticello in Fluvanna. Two are 30 inches in width, one is 36 inches and the largest is 42 inches—the proposed width of the ACP. While only about 1,000 of 10,000 miles of the Transco pipeline—built in the early 1950s—run through Virginia on their way from Texas to New York, the first bout of natural gas pumped through the line was delivered to Danville, according to spokesperson Chris Stockton. About a quarter of all natural gas consumed in Virginia goes through the Transco. ‘It really is out of sight, out of mind,’ Stockton says…. Though the ACP will serve multiple public utilities and what Dominion calls ‘their urgent energy needs’ in Virginia and North Carolina, some opponents say the number of existing pipelines makes for an absence of compelling need for another. ‘One of the major objections to the proposed ACP is that any need for this pipeline does not rise to the level that justifies harm to our best remaining wild landscape, intrusion into public conservation lands and state-sanctioned violation of private property rights,’ says Rick Webb, the coordinator for the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition.”

8-10-16 ABC 13. The clock is ticking for opponents of the Nexus pipeline and compressor station. “It wasn’t the public meeting many were expecting. ‘My reasoning is, they did it to silence people,’ Stacy Owen, who opposes the compressor station said. Instead of waiting to speak in front of a panel and the crowd, people sat in the Swanton High School cafeteria for their number to be called so they could give a testimony, in a private room, to a court reporter. ‘I think it robs the community of being able to hear what their neighbors have to say,’ Deb Swingholm, who’s opposed to pipeline said. Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission say the format was used to ensure that everyone had a chance to voice their opinion. ‘What we’ve found is when we have two court reporters in a room, that allows for more people to give comments,’ Maggie Suter, the Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator for FERC said. It was very clear, Wednesday evening, that many people didn’t want a pipeline or compressor anywhere near their homes or community. ‘This pipeline is dangerously close to homes and schools and it cuts through the heart of our Oak Openings region,’ Swingholm said. ‘With that compressor station, you are talking about the emissions, methane, benzene, all that stuff that over time is going to have a huge impact on the health of the residents we have,’ Owen said. As it stands now, the proposed pipeline starts in eastern Ohio, goes across the state and then north through Michigan. With it, comes a 26,000 horsepower compressor station set to be built off of Moosman road near 24 in Waterville. Federal regulators maintain that it is safe and will have minimal impact. Many aren’t convinced. ‘There’s a better way to do this,’ Swingholm argued. ‘There’s a better route and I’m here to save our land and our water and our families and our farmers.'”

8-10-16 The Register-Herald. Concerns about pipelines prompt nationwide event. “The Greenbrier River Watershed Association is joining other groups across the United States in a coordinated event to be held at 6 p.m. August 18 at the Ronceverte Island Park boat launch. Hands Across Our Land promotes local community actions which will unite people in their respective communities as they symbolically create a human chain to call attention to the issues surrounding proposed pipelines carrying fracked gas across sensitive ecosystems…. A judge in Monroe County last year sided with landowners in denying access to their property by the developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline for surveying, saying that the proposed conduit carrying gas to Virginia does not serve West Virginia customers and, thus, the company could not claim eminent domain rights in the Mountain State. Local event coordinator Leslee McCarty said, ‘Come to Island Park on Thursday the 18th, and bring your boats or just walk on the bridge over our river to let people know we are worried about the future of our communities and our clean water and we want our leaders to take a fresh approach to energy solutions.'”

8-8-16 The Roanoke Times. Counties ask FERC to delay draft environmental impact statement for pipeline. “Three Virginia counties in the path of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline have asked the federal commission reviewing the project to delay issuing a related draft environmental impact statement that’s currently set for release in September. Roanoke, Giles and Craig counties contend that too many questions raised by the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission itself, by cooperating federal agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, by pipeline opponents and others remain unanswered or unresolved about the proposed natural gas transmission pipeline. In addition, the counties implore FERC to require Mountain Valley to provide an indexed, up-to-date, comprehensive report of its responses to numerous FERC inquiries since the pipeline company filed its initial application in October…. Chris Tuck, chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, said Thursday that the county’s staff and attorneys ‘are reviewing the filing made by our neighbors and will be providing information and advising the board if Montgomery County should join our neighbors with a substantially similar filing with FERC.’ The Montgomery County board voted recently to consult with lawyer Carolyn Elefant, known for her expertise about the FERC process, to help guide the county’s responses as federal review of the pipeline moves forward…. Three congressmen with constituents potentially affected by the pipeline have asked FERC to hold multiple public meetings after the release of the draft statement. Yet Bill Wolf of Preserve Craig County, a group opposing the Mountain Valley project, expressed skepticism about the value of such forums…. ‘The problem isn’t access to FERC; the problem is getting FERC to listen to what we are saying,’ he added. ‘The proposed pipeline is huge, the impacts are enormous and the information supplied by MVP is unorganized, scattered, inadequate and incomplete.’ Like the filing by Roanoke, Giles and Craig counties, Wolf said careful analysis of the project’s environmental impacts is inhibited by how Mountain Valley’s responses to FERC’s requests for more information have been filed over the course of months, with no structure to aid tracking of whether issues have been resolved. ‘What we need is a delay in the schedule to get the information organized into a form that allows reasoned analysis,’ Wolf said. ‘The fact that an administrative draft EIS has already been prepared is just more evidence that the process is fundamentally flawed and biased toward the applicant.'”

8-7-16 The News & Advance. FERC sets timeline for environmental review of Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday issued a Notice of Schedule for an environmental review of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, setting a timeline for approval of the project…. The notice said its planned schedule is based on the issuance of a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in December, and a final EIS should be issued June 30, 2017. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, an EIS will examine consideration of a ‘reasonable range of alternatives’ that accomplish the purpose and satisfy the need of the proposed project and looks at ‘direct and indirect environmental effects and their significance.’ A deadline for federal authorization is set for 90 days after the final EIS is issued, or Sept. 28, 2017. According to the notice, Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, as well as its proposed Supply Header Project in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, will be analyzed in a single environmental impact statement because the projects are ‘interrelated.’… ‘Nothing terribly surprising here except that Dominion is persisting on going forward,’ said Ernie Reed, president of anti-pipeline group Friends of Nelson. ‘This is a fight that we’re going to be continuing until this pipeline is no more.’ Reed said he’s hopeful that as FERC continues its review, the timeline will be altered and the possible date of approval will be pushed back. ‘The longer that the process the takes, the more opportunity there is for additional information to surface,’ Reed said.”

8-7-16 Levittown Tribune(letter to the editor). FERC: Enemy Of The People. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is one of the most destructive agencies in our government. In Pennsylvania, the Holleran family’s North Hartford Maple Syrup Farm in New Milford was destroyed. FERC allowed Williams logging to obliterate their sugar bush trees which were outfitted with lines for maple sugar production. How? The right of eminent domain was cited and approved by FERC. Thus, a maple forest and a family’s livelihood were lost. So, too, another small family business has been destroyed in the name of big profit. Holleran’s loss, however, resulted in a public outcry against corporate greed and what the public needs and wants. We here in New York State are listening and are lucky so far that Governor Andrew Cuomo is responding to our needs. In the last year he vetoed the Port Ambrose LNG Facility, and finalized the high volume fracking ban. He helped delay the Spectra Lake gas storage facility. This pipeline is 150 feet away from the Indian Point Nuclear Plant, which is replete with violations, not fixed nor addressed. Indian Point is an accident waiting to happen. Finally, Gov. Cuomo recently rejected the Constitution Pipeline…. The point is that the FERC is the enemy of the people. All it does is hand corporations a gift like the permission to give companies such as Williams the logging rights over people’s rights. We, the people of New York and everywhere else, must halt this chainsaw destruction and halt unnecessary pipelines when the renewable industry of solar and wind is at our fingertips.”

8-5-16 The News & Advance. Nelson community center raises $32,000, returns Dominion Foundation grant. “The Rockfish Valley Community Center announced this week it has received nearly 100 percent of pledges since members of the Nelson County community asked the board to return a $20,000 grant to the Dominion Foundation last month. According to RVCC Executive Director Stu Mills, as of Friday, 97 percent of original pledges totaling more than $32,000 have been received. Mills said he expects to receive outstanding pledges soon, as many people are on vacation. The board of RVCC, located in Afton, voted unanimously to return the money during its regular meeting July 19. RVCC returned the money two days later to the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic branch of the company proposing the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline slated to run through Nelson County. ‘Throughout the turmoil of the last month, we have been extremely heartened by the appreciation that virtually everyone has expressed for the work that we’ve been doing here over the past several years,’ Mills said in an email. ‘I think that it is this recognition of our efforts that spurred the challenge the community offered us to match the Foundation money, and I think it is pretty clear from the unprecedented outpouring of contributions that our community values what we do.  I can’t tell you how gratifying that is to our two part-time employees and our very hard-working, all-volunteer Board of Directors.'”

8-4-16 Greenpeace. Report: ‘A Bridge to Nowhere’ Is a Vision of Fracking Future in the U.S. “Natural gas has been touted by U.S. leaders from both sides of the aisle as a bridge fuel. But a massive build out of wells, pipelines, plants, and export facilities across the country indicates that it may actually be the final destination. A shocking new report from Oil Change International has details. To understand just how deeply our lawmakers have drunk the Kool-Aid brewed by industry groups like the American Petroleum Institute, look no further than Colorado and Virginia, two states with Democratic governors who have pretty much sold out their contituents to the oil and gas industry. John Hickenlooper and Terry McAuliffe have pushed natural gas as a ‘bridge fuel’ so hard, they are paraded by industry (and booed by activists) as poster boys for fracking. If McAuliffe has his way, his Virginia may soon be home to two gigantic pipelines transporting fracked natural gas across the state, seizing a 900-mile corridor from Virginians and potentially doubling his state’s current emissions through methane leakage alone…. You might expect this kind of behavior from Republicans. But the fact is, both major U.S. political parties are into natural gas right now. Yes, Democrats on the national stage seem to still be working out their feelings, but when you actually stop to look at the state level, natural gas is rapidly replacing coal as the source of this nation’s electricity. As such, it is touted as the bridge between a dirty fossil fuel based energy system and the clean energy future, which implies that natural gas is some kind of semi-clean middle ground…. But once those pipelines are built, and once the plants and terminals are put in place to burn and export the fuel, natural gas will stop looking like a bridge and start looking a lot more like our final destination.”

8-4-16 The Recorder. Pipeline’s harmful impacts inescapable, Dominion says. “Wildlife and habitats in Virginia could suffer unavoidable adverse impacts from construction of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a Dominion reply to a federal regulatory directive shows. While most of the species impacts are described as ‘short-term,’ generally up to 10 years, the project would permanently destroy nearly 2,500 acres of forest, cites the study documenting about three-dozen cases of ‘long-term’ adverse impacts on animal habitats. Long-term is generally considered as the life of the project or longer. In a paper posted Monday titled Potential Impacts to Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia, the pipeline company reviewed the 2015 Virginia Wildlife Action Plan to assess potential effects on Virginia Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and their habitats. The plan lists SGCN that have potential to occur by planning region, six of which the pipeline route would cross…. The proposed pipeline route would cross 14 conservation sites, some of which support cave, karst, and old-growth forest habitats. ‘The majority (approximately 97 to 100 percent) of impacts from pipeline installation would be of a linear nature; aside from the eight above ground facilities, impacts would not be concentrated in a single area but rather spread out along the pipeline right of way and access roads,’ Dominion said in the paper…. Long-term adverse impacts include changes to a sensitive species’ habitat in which the habitat would not return to pre-construction condition for the life of the pipeline, resulting in adverse effects to the species. This could include habitat loss such as interior forest, forested riparian areas, and forested wetlands, and habitat fragmentation resulting in fragments less that 35 acres in size, Dominion added.”

8-4-16 WV Public Broadcasting. Pipelines Creating Increasing Safety Concerns in Appalachia. “On this week’s show, we’ll hear how the natural gas industry is affecting communities in the region. On this episode, we hear a special report about environmental concerns surrounding the production and transportation of natural gas.  Hundreds of miles of new pipelines are in the works to move natural gas from the shale formations in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio to markets across the country. There are thousands of gas wells in the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia–and a growing number of pipelines helping to move that gas around the Northeast. On this week’s show, we’ll hear how the natural gas industry is affecting communities in the region.” (Listen Here)

8-3-16 StateImpact. Obama instructs FERC to review climate impacts of pipelines. “The Obama Administration instructed federal agencies to factor climate change impacts into required environmental reviews of large projects. The White House Council on Environmental Quality released its guidance this week, six years after the original draft proposal. The move clarifies reviews required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Under NEPA, projects such as interstate pipelines and LNG export terminals undergo environmental reviews known as environmental impact statements, before gaining federal approval…. The White House guidance on climate change is just that – guidance. It’s not a new law or regulation and does not require congressional approval. But environmentalists who oppose pipeline projects reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, for example, say it’s a step in the right direction. Raul Garcia is an attorney with the environmental law firm Earthjustice. ‘Everybody has a boss,’ said Garcia. ‘This is basically [FERC’s] boss telling them this is how to go about doing this kind of analysis. And if they don’t, we hope there would be further measures to make sure that they do.’ The guidance instructs agencies like FERC to calculate the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that will result from a project, and stipulate how to mitigate the damage. It includes both direct and indirect impacts.”

8-2-16 Ithaca Journal. Ithaca man reveals spills along Dominion pipeline route. “A series of petroleum spills along the proposed Dominion New Market Pipeline — including two in the Town of Dryden dating back to the 1990s — could threaten to derail the entire $158 million project, a local activist said. With days left in the pipeline’s public comment period, Walter Hang, president of Ithaca research group Toxics Targeting, said Friday he believes a number of petroleum spills at several transmission stations along the pipeline’s route from Horseheads to Schenectady could put the project in jeopardy due to a violation of the Clean Water Act…. Citing spills from as long ago as the early 1990s, Hang noted the causes of the contamination at the pipeline’s transmission sites across the state are varied. Penalties were never recommended when the spills occurred. Some were caused by human error, such as an overfilling of a tank while others, Hang said, were due to aging infrastructure, naming rupturing of pipes and tanks as some causes. ‘Everything you can imagine could go wrong with these pipelines does go wrong,’ Hang said.”

8-2-16 The Robesonian (opinion). Pipeline delivers few jobs,but plenty of new concerns. “I am writing in response to the oped titled ‘Pipeline will deliver benefit’ by Murchison “Bo” Biggs in Sunday’s The Robesonian. Biggs talks in depth about the economic development the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would bring to Robeson County, but the truth is, this project will only benefit pipeline investors and big industry, not local residents. CHMURA, an economic consulting group commissioned by Dominion Resources, states in its report ‘The Economic Impact of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in WV, VA and NC’ that this pipeline would only provide 18 permanent jobs in North Carolina. The permanent construction jobs mentioned are actually highly specialized jobs for workers with experience in constructing industrial sized pipelines in other states…. Loss of property value, higher insurance rates from having industrial infrastructure on their property, and the inability to sell or develop their property in the way they want would all be big effects on landowners.”

8-2-16 Times Union (letter to the editor). Voice opposition to Dominion pipeline. “In a calculated attack on the New York rural landscape, Dominion of Virginia has quietly plotted a takeover of some of our most pristine countryside. From wine country in the Southern Tier, to dairy farms in Madison County, to bucolic Amish homesteads in Montgomery County, Dominion targets defenseless quiet villages, seducing poor towns with false promises of tax revenues while their lawyers explain their federal permit trumps any resistance…. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is reviewing Dominion’s air quality permit without hearings or health impact assessments. The comment period will close Friday. The project just might be stopped if enough people continue to contact Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the DEC and voice their disapproval.”

8-1-16 NBC29. Controversial Pipeline Project Sponsors Augusta County Fair. “A group opposed to Dominion’s proposed natural gas pipeline is raising alarms about the company’s sponsorship of an Augusta County tradition. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline paid at least $3,500 to sponsor this year’s Augusta County Fair. A banner now hangs outside the entrance to the fair at Augusta Expo, proclaiming the Atlantic Coast Pipeline a sponsor of the event. ‘It’s not just Dominion, because Dominion sponsors a lot of things. It’s specifically Atlantic Coast Pipeline. They’re making a point,’ said Augusta County Alliance Chair Nancy Sorrells. Sorrells believes Dominion is throwing its corporate weight around by paying to put the Atlantic Coast Pipeline name on the community’s summertime tradition. ‘I put the blame squarely on Dominion and their Atlantic Coast Pipeline project that they would really have the nerve to try to come in and sully our event,’ Sorrells said…. Sorrells calls the sponsorship ‘insulting’, since the fair celebrates the county’s agricultural heritage. Opponents to the pipeline say the project would destroy family farms and the natural landscape.”