January 2016 News

1-29-16  Climate Progress.  How Congress and the Supreme Court Blew up the Natural Gas ‘Bridge’ to Renewables.  “U.S. electricity demand growth is likely to continue to be minimal if not non-existent for the foreseeable future. And that means all new generation, such as renewables and natural gas, will simply replace existing power plants, particularly coal. That replacement is especially likely given the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which is a set of carbon pollution standards for power plants issued by the EPA in consultation with the public, industry, and states — standards the Supreme Court decided in 2007 the EPA is legally obligated to put in place once carbon pollution is found to be endangering public health, which it obviously is…. The key point is that the tax extenders ‘change the compliance game by shifting the economics in renewables’ favor nearly a decade earlier than they would under the CPP alone.’ And so rather than natural gas being a bridge fuel to a renewable future, ‘The renewables industry now has a bridge to the CPP,’ thanks to the budget deal.”

1-28-16  Blue Virginia.  Attention Gov. McAuliffe: New Study Demolishes Arguments for New Virginia Natural Gas Pipelines.  “A new report by the Sierra Club finds 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.  The report, prepared by Richard Ball, PhD., a retired US EPA and DOE scientist who served as a lead author on the First and Second Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessments and is the Energy Chair for the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, estimates total carbon dioxide gas equivalent from each of the two pipelines over the natural gas fuel cycle, including fugitive emissions of methane from fracking in the gas fields, leakage during transmission and storage, and combustion of the delivered gas. It also shows the estimated planetary heating from all four proposed pipelines for Virginia.”

1-27-16  The Roanoke Times.  Our View: The “W” Word.  Editorial.  “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says it’s not in the business of telling pipeline companies where to build their pipelines; it merely signs off on the technicalities of whether the route they’ve picked is OK….  To some extent, maybe FERC’s hands-off approach is a rare example of government restraint – let the free market dictate pipeline routes.  Except for one thing: It’s kind of, well, nuts….  FERC insists it will conduct a separate environmental study on each pipeline, instead of one big one. Perhaps the same amount of work would be required, no matter how these studies are configured. But consider this: The three national forests involved here – the George Washington, the Jefferson, the Monongahela – have already done much of this work. All national forests periodically put together a ‘forest management plan.’ All these plans already address the need for ‘utility corridors.’  Yet pipeline companies are allowed to ignore that work and draw a line on the map wherever they want. And then FERC proceeds to study that route – and the national forests must, too. The forests can say no – as the Forest Service did last week to Atlantic’s proposed route, which means Atlantic will now draw a new route for the Forest Service to study. But wouldn’t it make more sense to start with the work that’s already been done?  Why is this not the very definition of unnecessary government duplication? What good was all the time and money put into the original forest plan and the identification of ‘utility corridors’ if they really don’t mean anything when a utility called a pipeline comes along? Conservatives rightfully like to talk about streamlining an unwieldly federal government. Why is this not a classic example of the left-hand agency not paying attention to what the right-hand agency has already done?  In fact, it’s the very argument that three conservative congressmen representing districts with proposed pipeline routes made in a recent letter to FERC: ‘Analyzing what is occurring in our region could serve as a test case for how the agency can reduce time, paperwork and spending by considering such applications on a collective basis as opposed to as separate endeavors,’ Reps. Bob Goodlatte, Morgan Griffith and Robert Hurt wrote. ‘Coordinating such major infrastructure projects would also help address the need to develop a long-range plan for addressing the nation’s energy needs while still accepting extensive public input.’”

1-26-16  The Roanoke Times.  Del. Greg Habeeb, Sen. John Edwards File Natural Gas Pipeline-Related Bills.  “Bills seeking to strengthen oversight of interstate natural gas pipelines are going to be making their way through the General Assembly.  Del. Greg Habeeb, R-Salem, is carrying a bill that directs the State Corporation Commission to seek federal authorization to conduct its own pipeline safety inspections.The SCC already inspects intrastate pipelines, Habeeb said, and has been deputized by federal authorities to monitor interstate oil lines.  His proposal, which would have to be accepted by federal regulators, would expand that to include interstate natural gas pipelines.  ‘One of the concerns a lot of our constituents have is, if and when these pipelines come in, the feds won’t devote the resources needed to try to prevent a problem,’ Habeeb said. ‘This is the first step in letting Virginia play a role.’… Erosion and sediment control plans detail how builders plan to minimize erosion and protect local waterways and other surrounding areas from damage.  ‘It gives the localities some control over water quality protection,’ said Edwards, adding he envisions that localities will be able to require changes and improvements in the plans as needed.”

1-26-16  EcoWatch.  Opposition Grows to Fracking and Fracking Infrastructure Projects.  “There is a growing wing of the climate movement that has been working over the last several years to prevent a build-out of fracked gas infrastructure, allied with widespread community opposition in localities where this infrastructure is proposed. Fracked gas pipelines, like all fossil fuel pipelines, are not popular. They lead to landowners being forced to deal with certain negative impacts if a pipeline would end up going through their land. They bring the threat of leakage of poisonous chemicals or explosions, particularly where compressor stations are built. Construction brings community and environmental disruption. That is why elected officials are speaking out, because they are hearing from voters who don’t like what the gas industry wants to force upon them.  The fracked gas industry, just like the coal, tar sands and fracked oil industries, is in deep debt and serious trouble. Part of this is due to wind and solar growing quickly as a percentage of new installed energy sources. It is also due to a huge drop in oil and gas prices, something which shows no sign of a rebound anytime soon. This is huge; it makes a rapid shift from fossil fuels to renewables and efficiency much more possible than it looked just a year ago. When all of the negatives about fracked gas lead to a realization on an even bigger scale that it is in no way a hopeful ‘bridge fuel’ but a dangerous ‘bridge to climate catastrophe,’ we can finally get very serious about that critically-needed shift right now.”

1-26-16  The Virginian-Pilot.  Groups Urge McAuliffe to Buck Dominion on Clean Power Plan.  “A coalition of 50 health, environmental, civic and religious groups has called on Gov. Terry McAuliffe to aggressively implement a new federal rule that mandates cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.  The organizations on Tuesday released a letter that they sent to McAuliffe urging him to strictly interpret the Clean Power Plan’s call for a 30 percent cut in carbon pollution by 2030. In the letter, they said Dominion Virginia Power, the state’s largest utility, has asked that new natural-gas-fired plants be excluded from the reduction.  ‘This would allow Dominion to continue its massive expansion of gas-fired generation at the expense of investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency,’ the letter stated.”

1-26-16  Huffington Post.  Forest Service Rejects Destructive Path for ‘Atlantic Coast Pipeline.’  “A few days ago, the Forest Service rejected a destructive pathway Dominion Energy had proposed for the $5 billion ‘Atlantic Coast Pipeline’ the company wants to build to carry natural gas from fracking in the Marcellus shale field in northern West Virginia to power plants along the coast of Virginia and North Carolina. This is great news for our National Forests, our ground water, and the climate.  Because the pipeline would have cleared a swath through two national forests (the George Washington and Monongahela), Dominion needed sign-off from the Forest Service. After reviewing the route, the Forest Service determined the environmental destruction the pipeline would cause was unacceptable and rejected the proposal in a January 19 letter. Dominion is free, however, to submit a proposal for a new route, so we’re keeping our guard up.”

1-22-16  Think Progress.  Officials Reject Gas Pipeline Route That Would Have Run Through National Forests. “A massive interstate natural gas pipeline proposed to run through two national forests suffered a setback Thursday, as the proposed route was rejected following concerns about endangered wildlife.  The U.S. Forest Service said in documents that the $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline and its 550-mile route lacks “minimum requirements” to safeguard wildlife. The now-rejected route would have crossed the Monongahela and George Washington national forests, and in doing so, the forest agency said, threaten endangered salamanders, flying squirrels, and red spruce ecosystem restoration areas.”

1-22-16  Appalachian Chronicle.  U.S. Forest Service Puts the Brakes on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “Opponents to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) are expressing delight about a decision by the United States Forest Service (USFS) to reject the proposed ACP route because it would jeopardize what the USFS calls ‘sensitive resources.’  Despite the decision, opponents are also advising caution, saying that it could only delay, but not stop, the proposed 550-mile natural gas pipeline that is a project of Dominion Resources, based in Richmond, Va., and its partners, including Duke Energy of Charlotte, N.C…. For now, though, the USFS decision has put the brakes on the proposed route…. Friends of Nelson President Joanna Salidis offered, ‘We greatly appreciate the Forest Service’s tenacity in ensuring that federal laws and regulations pertaining to our national forests are enforced. We are grateful that they are working to protect the biodiversity, water, and recreational resources that so many people depend on. We are thrilled about the difficulty and delays the necessity of coming up with a new route will likely cause Dominion.’ She, too, expressed concerns about the FERC review, saying, ‘We also note that the Forest Service’s advocacy for our public property highlights the absence of a similar watchdog agency for private property and impacted communities and individuals. The rest of us are left with FERC, bought and paid for by the industry.’”

1-21-16  Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Forest Service Rejects Proposed Route of Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “The U.S. Forest Service has rejected the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline because of its potential damage to the habitat of sensitive animal species protected by two national forests in Virginia and West Virginia.  In a letter to the natural gas pipeline company on Tuesday, the forest service said the proposed route is ‘inconsistent’ with forest service plans and commitments to protect the habitats of the Cow Knob salamander, Cheat Mountain salamander, and West Virginia northern flying squirrel, as well as the red spruce ecosystem in which they live…. The forest service also said it will review the technical feasibility of the pipeline company’s plan to drill under the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains, next to the entrance to the Wintergreen resort in Nelson County.  The regional foresters cautioned that the agency could require the company to complete the proposed horizontal directional drilling successfully before allowing construction of the pipeline through sections of the George Washington and Monongahela national forests…. Opponents of the 550-mile proposed pipeline praised the forest service’s decision to reject the company’s proposed route.  ‘Dominion has persistently tried to force its pipeline through two national forests while ignoring calls to fully analyze less destructive options,’ said the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, a coalition of 44 organizations in Virginia and West Virginia. ‘The rejection of the preferred route by the forest service underscores how shallow Dominion’s analysis has been.’  Greg Buppert, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, one of the coalition’s members, called on Dominion to ‘step back and truly reconsider the need for this pipeline at all.'”

1-21-16  C-Ville.  Cow Knob Salamander Reroutes Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s proposed route through the George Washington and Monongahela national forests has been scrapped—a very big deal for the future of the pipeline, according to opponents—and Dominion must now begin looking for an alternate.  The U.S. Forest Service rejected the ACP’s application for a special use permit January 21, requiring a new path or system alternatives to the 550-mile natural gas pipeline, which would run through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Almost 50 miles of the previously proposed route cut through two national forests.  Citing ‘highly sensitive resources’ like West Virginia northern flying squirrels, red spruce ecosystem restoration areas and Cheat Mountain and cow knob salamanders, the U.S. Forest Service wrote in its denial that the new path must avoid assets with ‘such irreplaceable character.’”

1-21-16  The News & Advance.  Feds Reject Atlantic Coast Pipeline Route Through National Forests in Va, W. Va.  “The federal government is rejecting the proposed route of a natural gas pipeline through national forests in Virginia and West Virginia.  The National Forest Service has told the builders of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline it must find alternatives to the proposed route of the 550-mile pipeline through the George Washington and Monongahela national forests in Virginia and West Virginia.”

1-21-16  The Daily Progress.  US Forest Service Rejects Proposed Forest Route for Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “The U.S. Forest Service has rejected the proposed route of a 550-mile natural gas pipeline through national forests in Virginia and West Virginia because of concerns over the project’s impact on an endangered salamander and other resources.  In a letter this week to federal regulators, the Forest Service said the builders of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline will have to consider alternate routes through the George Washington and Monongahela national forests.  Besides cow knob salamanders in Virginia, foresters also cited concerns about northern flying squirrels in West Virginia and red spruce restoration areas along the proposed pipeline route. The Forest Service described the two species and forestland as ‘irreplaceable.’  Foresters said those species and forestland ‘must be considered in the development of alternatives.'”

1-21-16  NBC 29.  US Forest Service Rejects Proposed Forest Route for Pipeline.  “The federal government is rejecting the proposed route of a natural gas pipeline through national forests in Virginia and West Virginia.  The National Forest Service has told the builders of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline it must find alternatives to the proposed route of the 550-mile pipeline through the George Washington and Monongahela national forests in Virginia and West Virginia.  The Forest Service cited the pipeline’s current path through ‘highly sensitive resources’ in both national forests. They include ecosystems for cow knob salamanders and West Virginia northern flying squirrels, as well as red spruce restoration areas.”

1-21-16  News Leader.  Forest Service Denies Pipeline Route.  “Salamanders and flying squirrels 1, Atlantic Coast Pipeline 0.  The U.S. Forest Service today formally denied the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) application for a special-use permit through national forest lands…. The Forest Service denied the permit based on likely impacts on the Cow Knob and Cheat Mountain salamanders and the West Virginia northern flying squirrel. The Forest Service’s regulations prohibit the agency from authorizing any activities that would harm those endangered species…. It appears that Dominion hasn’t given up and will be working to find an alternative solution.  ‘The ACP will continue to work with the USFS to find a route for the interstate natural gas pipeline that is needed to bring reliable supplies of energy to Virginia and North Carolina,’ said Jim Norvelle, director of communication for Dominion Energy, in a release. ‘Today’s letter is part of the permitting process as we work cooperatively to find the best route with the least impact. We appreciate the USFS’s examination of this option and remain confident we will find an acceptable route.’  But for now, the (really) little guys appear to have won one.”

1-21-16  News Leader.  Pipeline Opponents Dispel ‘Myths,’ Raise Questions.  “Organizers of an informational meeting surrounding a proposed natural gas pipeline are pleased with the turnout Wednesday night.  Approximately 120 people drove through a light snow, which created slick roads, in order to attend the meeting in Verona…. Sorrells said they are putting Dominion on notice ‘that we will never stop fighting’ to keep the pipeline out of Augusta County and it is ‘not a done deal.’  ‘It should not happen here, in fact, it should not happen anywhere,’ she said.”

1-20-16  News Leader.  Area Pipeline Opponents Join Richmond Protest.  “Mary Louise Fisher was one of more than two dozen people to ride a charter bus from Staunton to Richmond to show her support for a ‘No Pipelines’ rally at the state house…. Fisher, along with other pipeline opponents, formed groups of four and five people to request time with Virginia legislators regarding House Bill 1118 and Senate Bill 614 and a provision enacted in 2004 that allows natural gas companies access to private property without landowner permission…. At noon, the group met in front of the Bell Tower on the capitol grounds to rally against pipelines in the state. Many were holding signs that said ‘pro-private property rights’ or ‘protect our lands.’…  Joanna Salidis, president for Friends of Nelson County, was one of the first people to address the group.  ‘We are here today to lobby our legislators to repeal the grossly unjust, hated survey without permission statute,’ said Salidis. ‘Property owners faced with the invasion of their peace and privacy by numerous survey crews feel violated, threatened and disempowered by this statue that we want repealed.’  Hannah Wiegard, a Virginia campaign coordinator for Appalachian Voices, said she was pleased with the rally.  ‘I think today sent a really strong signal to legislators,’ she said. ‘There’s a great need to educate them about residents impacted by these projects.'”

1-19-16  Los Angeles Times.  Op-Ed: Bill McKibben: How to Drive a Stake Through the Heart of Zombie Fossil Fuel.  “In fact, the climactic fight at the end of the fossil fuel era is underway. In statehouse hearing rooms and far off farmers’ fields, local activists are making desperate stands to stop new fossil fuel projects, while the energy companies are making equally desperate attempts to build while they still can. The outcome of these thousands of fights, as much or more than the paper promises made at the U.N. climate conference in Paris in December, will determine whether we emerge from this century with a habitable planet. They are the battle for the future.  Here’s how Diane Leopold, president of Virginia-based Dominion Energy put it last year: ‘It may be the most challenging’ period in fossil fuel history because of ‘high-intensity opposition’ to infrastructure projects that is becoming steadily ‘louder, better-funded and more sophisticated.’ Or, in the words of the head of the American Natural Gas Assn.: ‘Call it the Keystone-ization of every project that’s out there.’… The protests are endless, and the protesters have to be endlessly resourceful. Everywhere the opposition is forced by statute to make its stand not on climate change arguments but on older grounds. This pipeline will hurt water quality. That coal port will increase local pollution. All the arguments are correct and accurate but a far more important case always lurks in the background: Each of these new infrastructure projects should be stopped because it extends the fossil fuel era a few more disastrous decades.  Here’s the basic math: If you build a pipeline in 2016, the investment will be amortized for 40 years or more. It is designed to last — to carry coal slurry or gas or oil — well into the second half of the 21st century. It is, in other words, designed to keep us extracting carbon, the very thing scientists insist we simply can’t keep doing and survive.”

1-19-16  WHSV 3.  “No Pipeline” Rally at Virginia General Assembly.  “Groups from areas where several pipelines are proposed, including Augusta and Nelson counties, attended the ‘No Pipeline!’ Lobby Day.  They lobbied lawmakers to repeal the “survey without permission” statute, which allows natural gas companies to enter private property without the landowner’s consent.  Right now, gas companies need to ask permission, but do not need actual consent to enter privately-owned land. Tuesday’s lobbying was not just about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but two additional pipelines in Virginia and four in West Virginia.  Advocates at the rally question the billions of dollars invested in these proposals.”

1-19-16  WVTF Radio.  Surveying Private Property: Some Call It Trespassing.  “Plans for three new natural gas pipelines in Virginia have been the source of contention between environmentalists and energy companies.  That debate landed in Richmond, as environmental groups pushed for the repeal of a law that makes it easier for energy companies to survey private land.”

1-19-16  WDBJ 7.  Pipeline Opponents Press State Lawmakers to Repeal Controversial Law.  “Opponents of two natural gas pipeline projects say a 2004 law stripped them of their property rights.  They demonstrated Tuesday in the shadow of the State Capitol, and took their concerns directly to lawmakers…. Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke) and Delegate Joseph Yost (R-Pearisburg) have both introduced legislation that would roll back the 2004 provision…. Glen Besa is the Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter Director.  ‘At this point in time, this is a speculative venture, that they don’t have a permit for,’ Besa said in an interview. ‘And they’re disrupting people’s lives and trespassing on their property without a permit to do this.'”

1-19-16  The Roanoke Times.  Pipeline Foes Rally in Richmond for Repeal of Surveying Law, but Face Uphill Fight.  “Pipeline opponents came together Tuesday to urge state lawmakers to repeal a contentious 2004 surveying law that grants crews access to private property…. Current state law leaves landowners feeling ‘threatened and disempowered,’ said Joanna Salidis of Nelson County.  The law allows natural gas pipeline surveyors to enter private property over an owner’s objections provided that advance notice is given.  ‘If the current statute were repealed, pipeline companies would be forced to deal fairly with property owners in order to gain access to their properties in a timely manner,’ said Salidis, describing the right to deny access as the ‘strongest and best form’ of showing opposition.  ‘If a pipeline company cannot adequately reassure property owners, that should send a clear signal that the project needs to be modified,’ she said.  Tuesday’s rally, attended by about 50 people, was organized in support of repeal bills filed by Del. Joseph Yost, R-Pearisburg, and Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke.  The identical measures would strike the survey access law first adopted in 2004. The bills are expected to face an uphill climb in the legislature.”

1-19-16  The News & Advance.  Pipeline Foes Rally in Richmond for Repeal of Surveying Law; Face Uphill Battle.  “The group gathered to lobby legislators in support of bills by Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, and Del. Joseph Yost, R-Pearisburg, aimed at repealing a law that allows surveyors to enter private property to conduct surveys for natural gas pipelines, according to the press release from Appalachian Voices, which helped organize the effort…. Joanna Salidis, president of Friends of Nelson, a nonprofit opposed to the pipeline, traveled to Richmond to lobby legislators to repeal the law she described as ‘unjust, and just about hands private property to for profit interests, like Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline.’  ‘Denying permission shows that, as a property owner, your confidence in the project or applicant is so low and your opposition so strong that you don’t even want to hear what they have to offer,’ Salidis said.  If the current statue is repealed, such companies would be forced to ‘deal fairly’ with property owners in order to gain access to their properties, she said.  ‘Instead of hearing what property owners are saying when they refuse permission to survey … Dominion has sued over 125 property owners in Nelson, and more elsewhere, to force them to permit access to their properties under the current statute,’ she said. ‘While many of these property owners have since been taken off the route, we still have over 50 cases in Nelson in which people will be forced to allow access if they lose their cases.'”

1-19-16  NBC 29.  Activists Lobby Against Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  “Dozens of landowners and environmentalists gathered in Richmond Tuesday.  They traveled there from all over the commonwealth to speak out against the planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Dominion Resources has put forth a proposed natural gas pipeline that would go from West Virginia, through Virginia, and down to North Carolina.  One group came to the state capitol with signs, artwork and rallying cries, along with a symbolic makeshift pipeline.  Some activists are demanding lawmakers approve bills like HB 1118 and SB 614, which are designed to prop up the rights of homeowners over companies. They’re voicing their opposition to current state laws that allow natural gas companies to go on private property without the permission of the land owner.  ‘The Virginia legislature is very beholden to Dominion’s interests. So, I would love to see this vote, even this bill, our repeal bill make it out of committee, but I’ll believe it when I see it,’ said Friends of Nelson President Joanna Salidis.”

1-13-16  The Roanoke Times.  Lawmakers Seek to Scrap Law on Pipeline, Property Rights.  “Del. Joseph Yost and Sen. John Edwards are renewing efforts to repeal a controversial 2004 law at the center of a heated debate about pipelines and property rights.  Yost, R-Pearisburg, introduced a bill Wednesday to scrap Code Section 56-49.01 — a law that allows natural gas pipeline companies to do surveying and other initial work on private land without the owner’s consent provided that advance notice is given.”

1-12-16  The Inter-Mountain.  Officials: ACP Should Avoid Cheat Mountain.  “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s current proposed route could impact several animal and plant species and should be adjusted to avoid Cheat Mountain, officials with the West Virginia Fish and Wildlife Service said.”

1-10-16  EcoWatch.  Porter Ranch Is Only Tip of Iceberg Exposing Catastrophic Impacts of Natural Gas.  “Natural gas is not cleaner than coal. But thanks to boatloads of advertising and campaign contributions, oil and gas lobbyists has convinced many politicians, including President Obama, that replacing coal with natural gas is a viable way to stave off catastrophic climate change.  But it isn’t. The now-famous Aliso Canyon methane leak, its impacts on thousands of residents of near Porter Ranch and its damage to the climate is just the latest and most public example showing that we need to keep natural gas in the ground, not burn it…. We’ve already wrapped our heads around a rooftop solar revolution and what it might mean for distributed energy generation rather than big boxes of fossil fuels. Now it’s time to start planning to get rid of the blue flames on our stovetops, water heaters and furnaces. There is an electric or solar electric alternative to every natural gas appliance. We can’t just cut natural gas’s electric cord; we have to cut the pipeline too.”

1-7-16  BBC.  California State of Emergency over Methane Leak.  “The governor of California has declared a state of emergency in a suburb of Los Angeles over the leaking of methane gas from an underground storage field…. Gas is spewing into the atmosphere at a rate so fast that the well now accounts for about a quarter of the state’s total emissions of methane – an extremely potent greenhouse gas…. Methane – the main component of natural gas – is a very strong greenhouse gas, capable of trapping solar radiation in the atmosphere.  It belongs to a category of gases called short-lived climate pollutants.  While methane and other short-lived pollutants remain in the atmosphere for a relatively short time compared to other gases, the California Air Resources Board says that ‘when measured in terms of how they heat the atmosphere, their impacts can be tens, hundreds, or even thousands of times greater than that of carbon dioxide.’  The BBC’s Matt McGrath says the large amounts of powerful gas that are leaking could have a significant impact on climate change.  Residents have been complaining of nausea, headaches and other symptoms, but the utility company says that ‘scientists agree natural gas is not toxic and that its odorant is harmless at the minute levels at which it is added to natural gas.’  Health officials in the area have said the long-term effects of being exposed to the gas are unknown.”

1-4-16  NBC 29.  Dominion Clears up Confusion over Land Survey Phone Call.  “Some people who live in the path of Dominion’s proposed natural gas pipeline through Augusta and Nelson Counties claim the company is misleading landowners in a new phone call.  The call came from a contractor working on land surveys for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline…. A Nelson County resident recorded the call from Dominion’s surveying contractor. The call, in part, stated, ‘The Federal Regulatory Commission requires that we contact all landowners to identify and locate all water wells, springs, and structures within 500 foot of the pipeline corridor.’  That landowner says Dominion was denied access to their property.  Nancy Sorrells with the All Pain No Gain anti-pipeline campaign believes the calls are deceptive.  ‘There doesn’t seem to be, at this point, any kind of mandate from FERC or from the courts that are saying you have to let these people come in and test your water. Seems to be a ploy to get access to people’s property who, in many cases, have denied access,’ Sorrells said.”