July 2016 News

July 2016

7-27-16 Nelson County Times. 600 march to governor’s mansion, bring awareness to energy issues. “Despite soaring temperatures and humidity Saturday, more than 600 people marched in Richmond on Saturday in an attempt to get Gov. Terry McAuliffe to focus on the welfare of the environment. Representing more than 60 activist groups, the “March on the Mansion” aimed to bring attention to the issues associated with the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline and coal ash disposal plans, as well as to ask the governor to follow through on his commitment to clean energy sources. Others who were part of the march focused on offshore drilling, the rise in sea level and private property rights. ‘[The governor] promised as a candidate that he was gonna bring clean, renewable energy to Virginia,’ said Sharon Ponton, a member of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and a Nelson County resident, ‘… and he’s done very, very little to accomplish that. … It’s important for us to go to him, because he has refused to talk to us.’ According to Ponton, about 40 to 50 Nelson residents were part of the march…. Heidi Cochran, a Nelson County landowner and outspoken opponent of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, also spoke during the rally. ‘Our constitutional rights to our private property and our rights to a clean and safe environment for our children’s future are being threatened by the fossil fuel industry,’ she said during the event. ‘It is time for our governor to become informed and live up to his promises to protect Virginians and our environment from the impacts of climate change.’ Ponton said she believes the march accomplished the goal of bringing more awareness to the groups’ fight for clean energy, and the event also gave activists involved a chance to encourage and help each other.”

7-27-16 WCPO 9 News. Hamilton County residents to protest proposed Duke Energy gas pipeline. “Leaders from 14 communities around Hamilton County and members of Neighbors Opposing Pipeline Extension (NOPE) will protest a controversial gas pipeline that Duke Energy plans to lay through the Tri-State. Opponents to the Central Corridor Gas Pipeline Extension Project will gather at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sharonville Convention Center with Hamilton County commissioners to make sure local leaders and Duke Energy officials address concerns and questions about the pipeline. NOPE said in a news release that residents along three routes have been receiving notices that Duke will be surveying their properties and taking soil samples over the next few weeks in preparation for the project, whose formal application must be submitted to the Ohio Power Siting Board on or before Sept. 15…. Members of NOPE say the 12 miles of pipeline through northern Cincinnati and central Hamilton County could be dangerous, and they don’t want it in their neighborhoods. ‘It’s going to be very disruptive to the community, and we think there’s a better way so the idea is to let other people know about it and get as big of a voice as we can,’ said NOPE member Tammy Reasoner.”

7-26-16 The Patriot Ledger. Senators seek more answers on federal pipeline review. “Massachusetts’ two senators are pushing federal energy regulators for more answers about why they hired a contractor to vet a pipeline project despite potential links between that contractor and the Texas gas company behind the proposal, which includes a compressor station in North Weymouth. In their latest exchange, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey wrote to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Norman Bay on Monday questioning the commission’s selection of Natural Resource Group to review Spectra Energy’s proposed Atlantic Bridge project. The Democratic senators say Natural Resource Group was representing proponents of another pipeline project of which Spectra is a minority owner at the same time. Bay said last week that FERC has procedures for vetting contractors for potential conflicts and that commission staff followed them before choosing Natural Resource Group. Now Markey and Warren are asking a series of questions, including whether Natural Resource Group or Spectra disclosed a potential conflict and whether FERC performed an independent review to make sure there wasn’t one. The senators also asked for details on the eight conflicts of interest that Bay said were identified on other projects in the past 15 months that led to contractors being disqualified, including how the conflicts were brought to light. ‘They’re asking the right questions,’ said Alice Arena, leader of Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station. ‘It opens up issues with FERC that go beyond our issue.'”

7-26-16 Augusta Free Press (letter to the editor). Marilyn Shifflett: March on Richmond. “The thermometer rose in Richmond on July 23, and so did the voices of more than 600 Virginians. The heat index was no match for the commitment of Virginia’s youth, its young families pushing toddlers in strollers, and its ‘soon-to-be retired’, who made it crystal clear that they are far from being ‘ready for pasture’. Organized by Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and endorsed by more than 60 groups, Jane Kleeb from Bold Nebraska & Bold Alliance lent “star power” and inspiration with her speech at Brown’s Island and joined marchers along the route. This event should signal the media that ‘pockets of resistance’, ‘radical environmentalists’, and ‘heavily funded’, are phrases that must be tossed into the nearest waste basket; no recycling needed. It’s critical to note that these marchers were landowners threatened with eminent domain for corporate profit, residents from areas with rising sea levels, residents faced with loss of air quality and quality of life due to the proposed compressor stations needed to power these pipelines, young people who know they must inherit the impacts of natural gas build-out and disposal of coal ash into state waters, and Virginians whose drinking water has been destroyed by the close proximity of their homes to Dominion’s coal ash ponds. Countless hours of research late into night on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and Dominion’s Cove Point Export Terminal, have birthed an informed, concerned, and dedicated mass of individuals growing larger and stronger every day. Less than professional signs were made at kitchen tables with the help of kids, church social halls, and community centers. The lettering may have been less than top notch, but the messages were accurate and passionate.
When looking over photos from the March on the Mansion, I was stunned by a photo of Dominion employees standing on the steps of their Richmond headquarters, with arms crossed and feet spread in a defiant stance, clearly protecting Dominion’s property from potential trespass as marchers passed by. This, from a corporation that has used threats, intimidation, and the courts, to trespass on, and seize the private property of families across three states? Families whose property will be devalued; families with children forced to live in the “potential impact radius?”

7-24-16 NBC29. People Get a Look at Where Proposed Pipeline Will Go Through. “People in central Virginia are getting an up close look at the path of Dominion Power’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. More than a dozen people left Charlottesville Sunday morning to head to Bath County. That’s where they spent the day seeing where the natural gas pipeline routes could cut through the George Washington National Forest. ‘If you can imagine 150 feet of a swath sliced right through the heart of an intact forest, that’s what we’re looking at here, and that’s just the construction zone where the pipeline’s being built. There’ll be a permanent slice cut right through the national forest and through all these properties,’ Ernie Reed of Wild Virginia said.”

7-23-16 NBC29. Anti-Pipeline Protesters Rally in Front of Gov. McAuliffe’s House. “Opponents of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline are calling on Gov. Terry McAuliffe to take action to block the project through central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. More than 50 protesters loaded a bus in Charlottesville Saturday to head to Richmond where they rallied in front of the governor’s mansion. It’s all part of a statewide initiative to prevent Dominion Power from building the natural gas pipeline. Anti-pipeline protestors say they have been unsuccessful at gaining McAuliffe’s support. ‘The purpose is to tell the governor that to ignore the people and these issues about climate and carbon and energy is not in his best interest at all. If the governor will not open his doors to us, we will come to his door,’ Ernie Reed, President of Friends of Nelson, said.”

7-23-16 CBS19. Anti-pipeline protest shifts focus to Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Hundreds of Virginians braved the heat to march in the streets of Richmond. Anti-pipeline protesters said they wanted to remind everyone how they feel about the pipeline. ‘It’s our lands, it’s our homes, it’s where we live.’ said Pipeline protester Caroline Reilly, ‘When you have the government operating in a little tight cell in a city, they don’t understand the concerns of rural people.’ Many of the protesters said they have environmental concerns that the pipeline will affect their way of living. Some of those concerns are in their own backyard. ‘My husband has asthma and I’m very concerned about the air quality,’ said Nelson County landowner Darlene Spears. ‘I’m very concerned about my well, because it’s only 120 feet from where they’re proposing to put the pipeline.’ At Saturday’s protest, marchers targeted their attention on Governor Terry McAuliffe, saying because he won’t come to them, they are coming to him.”

7-23-16 NBC12 WWBT. Protesters march to Governor’s mansion demanding clean energy in Virginia. “Around 600 people braved what felt like 100° heat to take part in a rally on Brown’s Island before marching to the Governor’s mansion, calling for clean energy in the Commonwealth. ‘We want to see it stopped, completely,’ said Carolyn Reilly, who joined hundreds of protesters Saturday, rallying against Governor Terry McAuliffe’s energy policies and his support for more pipelines in Virginia.
Reilly got a letter two years ago asking to build a pipeline right through her farm land in Franklin County. ‘We don’t need to continue fossil fuel extraction, we don’t want to see the (Atlantic Coast Pipeline) constructed either, over to the east of us,’ Reilly remarked. ‘But we certainly don’t want to see the Mountain Valley Pipeline constructed.’ Those protesters also had words for Dominion Virginia Power, claiming the utility company pollutes drinking water with coal ash and threatens the environment.”

7-23-16 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Protesters march to Executive Mansion to protest pipelines, energy policy. “Hundreds of demonstrators marched from Brown’s Island to the Executive Mansion on Saturday in protest of proposed pipeline projects and to call on Gov. Terry McAuliffe to support renewable energy. The group gathered for a rally on the James River before starting its ‘March to the Mansion.’… Heidi Cochran, a Nelson County landowner who has opposed the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, said in a statement that “our constitutional rights to our private property and our rights to a clean and safe environment for our children’s future are being threatened by the fossil fuel industry. ‘It is time for our governor to become informed and live up to his promises to protect Virginians and our environment from the impacts of climate change,’ she said.”

7-23-16 ABC8. Protesters march to governor’s mansion over environmental issues in Virginia. “In Richmond Saturday hundreds of people marched to the governor’s mansion demanding that Gov. McAuliffe give support to people over pollution, and become a full-time champion of renewable energy. Today’s march united people affected by environmental policy from many different walks of life. Demonstrators included farmers affected by proposed pipelines, people whose drinking water has been contaminated by the decision to dump coal ash into local rivers and people affected by rising sea levels along Virginia’s coast. Abiya Thiel from the group Citizen’s Climate Lobby stressed the importance of converting to renewable energy sources.
‘It’s time to stop investments in fossil fuel energy and put our money and energy into renewables,’ she said…. ‘This is a lot of people who are here,’ Nelson County resident Heidi Cochran said. ‘People from West Virginia and across Virginia, and they want to be heard by McAuliffe.’ The march was endorsed by more than 60 groups and environmental leaders from across the state in an open letter to Gov. McAuliffe. The letter outlined positive steps that can be taken to improve renewable energy in the state.”

7-23-16 The Washington Post. Hundreds protest governor’s positions on fossil fuels. “Hundreds of protesters have streamed into Virginia’s capital city to criticize the Democratic governor’s energy policies, including his support for a proposed natural gas pipeline. Carrying signs that read ‘We won’t pipe down,’ the group on Saturday also lambasted Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s support for offshore oil drilling and for not trying to stop an electric company’s release of treated coal ash water into rivers. Among the protesters was 23-year-old Sonia Wang, an environmental researcher who lives in Richmond. She said it’s important to show that these issues matter to Virginians and to hold McAuliffe accountable for his support of fossil fuels.”

7-23-16 ABC13. Environmentalists, others to protest at Executive Mansion. “Environmental groups and other advocates say there are more than 650 people from around the state who plan to attend a protest aimed at Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The protesters plan to rally at the executive mansion Saturday, and want McAuliffe to adopt stricter environmental control and landowner-friendly policies. The groups want the governor to oppose two planned new pipelines in Virginia and to reject Dominion Virginia Power’s plan to pump treated coal ash water into the state’s rivers.”

7-21-16 Newsleader. U.Va., JMU students to do pipeline survey in Draft. “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a hot topic for the area as people debate the safety, need and effects of a new natural gas pipeline in the area. Which is why the University of Virginia and James Madison University are teaming up and tapping into what people think about the situation. ‘It’s a very good case study for us,’ said Aaron Sloss, 20, a JMU engineering student helping to collect survey information. The study is designed to evaluate emerging societal attitudes and how the nation can optimize its energy transmission infrastructure in both a socially and environmentally sustainable way is focused, said Rider Foley, an assistant professor at U.Va.’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences…. ‘The survey is a little long,’ Sloss said flipping through the document which was a couple of pages long. ‘We have a lot of people who say, ‘just put me down for yes.’ The people are definitely more against the pipeline the closer they live to the route.'”

7-20-16 The Daily Progress. More doubletalk from Dominion. “A spokesman for Dominion Virginia Power stated recently that renewable energy, which typically only runs a quarter of the time because it needs sunny or windy days, can’t be the answer to all of the utility’s needs. The spokesman, Rick Zuercher, claimed that, ‘nuclear is the only large and dispatchable source of always-on electricity that does not emit carbon dioxide or other emissions associated with burning fossil fuels.’ These are more misleading statements by Dominion, which seems to have taken doubletalk to a new low…. Of some of the U.S.’s 30 largest utility companies, Dominion was dead last in 2014 in incremental energy efficiency as a percentage of sales, 29th in life-cycle energy efficiency as a percentage of retail sales, and 23rd in renewable energy sales as a percentage of retail sales. Dominion could easily transition now to efficient renewable energy sources. These may not be quite as profitable for the utility, but it would still make a lot of money. It just wouldn’t make it off the backs of captive ratepayers or those all along the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”

7-19-16 The Roanoke Times(opinion). Our view: Marching on Richmond. “We are living in historic times, which explains why on Saturday environmentalists will be marching on Capitol Square in Richmond to protest a Democratic governor who has done more to combat carbon emissions than any other Virginia chief executive. Terry McAuliffe has battled a Republican General Assembly over the Clean Power Plan. He’s ordered state agencies to come up with plans to reduce carbon emissions, again angering Republican legislators. He’s reconstituted the climate change commission that his GOP predecessor had idled. He’s argued that climate change isn’t just an environmental problem, but an economic one… So why, exactly, did a coalition of environmental advocates give this otherwise green-friendly governor an abysmal “D-plus” grade? And why are they protesting outside the executive mansion on Saturday? Because McAuliffe supports natural gas pipelines — specifically, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that would cut through the Shenandoah Valley on its way to Hampton Roads and North Carolina, and the Mountain Valley Pipeline, that would run through the New River and Roanoke valleys on its way to Southside…. Here’s where it would be nice for the two sides to have a conversation, instead of a march, because there are two big questions here that ought to be resolved. The first is: How do the environmental groups opposed to the pipelines propose to create jobs if we don’t have natural gas? The fact is, they don’t have a plan. That’s not their thing. They’re trying to save the planet…. The second question is a more difficult one for pipeline advocates: Just how long is this natural gas boom going to last? The estimates of just how much gas there really is in the eastern gas fields vary wildly”

7-19-16 The Daily Progress. RVCC board votes to return $20K grant to Dominion Foundation. “After receiving numerous donations and pledges from the public, the Rockfish Valley Community Center board voted Tuesday to return a $20,000 grant to the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic branch of the company behind the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline. A motion to return the money that would have been used for the center’s Green Initiative — with the condition the board pursues alternative funding from the community to recoup the $20,000 — was unanimously approved by the board. ‘The board listened to public input, and we also said at the [July 7 meeting] that we were very open to alternative funding and returning the money, $20,000, to the Dominion Foundation if we had for alternative funding a constructive and timely plan,’ RVCC board president Chuck Kiehl said. ‘Thanks to the outreach of our community, we have acquired those funds through donations that we have in hand … and pledges that have been made.’ According to RVCC Executive Director Stu Mills, as of Tuesday evening, the center had received $28,737 in pledges and donations in hand…. The money will be used for the replacement of 61 nearly 80-year-old windows as part of the center’s Green Initiative. An additional $5,050 will be used for other projects that are part of the Green Initiative. Renovations included in the initiative are intended to reduce the Afton center’s energy costs by refurbishing the geothermal system, completing insulation and replacing the windows.”

7-19-16 Blue Ridge Life. RVCC board votes to return $20K grant to Dominion Foundation. “In a meeting held Tuesday evening – July 19, 2016 at the Rockfish Valley Community Center in Afton, the board voted unanimously on motion to return a Dominion Foundation grant that was received earlier this year. As we first told you in these earlier stories, considerable resistance was met when word of the grant surfaced. Many objected to taking the money since the same family of companies is also pursuing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through Nelson County.”

7-19-16 Appalachian Chronicle (opinion). Is this fair? “Here is a little something for all you land owners, farmers, small business owners, and tax payers to think about. If you own a bit of land for a hay meadow, you will be assessed and pay property taxes on your hay meadow. If you buy a tractor and some equipment so you can harvest your hay, you will be assessed and pay property taxes on your tractor and equipment. If you build a barn in which to keep your hay and your farm equipment out of the weather, you will be assessed and pay property taxes on your barn…. If, on the other hand, you are a huge corporation and you build a multimillion dollar piece of profitable infrastructure, like Momentum and Stonewall Gas Gathering LLC and their newly constructed pipeline, you will not be assessed and will not pay a penny of local property taxes on your pipeline. Nothing. Even worse, the land under which that multimillion dollar pipeline lies has been forever rendered unproductive. Nobody will ever be able to build a house on that land, build a barn, build a farm pond, drill a water well, grow an orchard, grow timber, cut an access road to the other side of your farm, or make any improvements that might interfere with the pipeline company.”

7-19-16 The Farmville Herald. Permit sought for pipeline station. “Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC has filed a special use permit with the Buckingham County Planning and Zoning Office seeking approval to construct an over 53,000 horse powered natural gas-fired compressor station the firm says is essential to operation of its proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline…. The compressor station would be constructed between Union Hill and Shelton Store Roads in Buckingham County near Route 56. The county planning commission and board of supervisors holds separate public hearings for special use permits. The planning commission offers recommendations to supervisors. ‘The proposed compressor station will be sited on an approximately 68.43-acre Dominion-purchased property along Route 56 in Buckingham County,’ the permit narrative states…. ‘The toxic cocktail of chemical pollutants emitted as part of routine operations of this now-supersized compressor station in Buckingham will impact everyone, not just those who live next to it …,’ said Lakshmi Fjord, a spokeswoman for Friends of Buckingham, in response to the filing. ‘Air monitors flying over compressor stations reveal high levels of these toxic pollutants for up to 100-plus miles, depending upon the winds.’ ‘Buckingham [county] will face the gravest health impacts from these hazards and their financial costs — not Dominion or its stockholders — but individuals and families in medical costs for known respiratory, cardiac and a host of other illnesses including depression and anxiety associated with proximity to compressor stations. Dominion plans to pass on the costs of building the compressor station to its ratepayers while (limiting) its liability by forming a subsidiary, (Atlantic Coast Pipeline) LLC, to shield its executives, board, and stockholders from its true economic costs.'”

7-13-16 WLWT5 News. Hamilton County commissioners give thumbs down to Duke Energy pipeline. “With varying stances on a proposed natural gas pipeline set to run through several communities, Hamilton County commissioners all agree with each other’s opinion. All three expressed their opposition to the Duke Energy pipeline. The Central Corridor Pipeline Extension would allow Duke Energy to move large quantities of natural gas through Hamilton County. Commissioner Todd Portune made the announcement Wednesday that he, Dennis Deters and Chris Monzel support Hamilton County intervening with the project. Portune also said he proposed the county move for federal pre-emption over ‘these kind of pipeline issues,’ and asked for Duke to still issue notice to property owners in the blast zone.”

7-12-16 C-ville magazine. Closer to home: Could pipeline run through Albemarle? “In May, members of a Wintergreen nonprofit organization submitted four requests to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reroute the Atlantic Coast Pipeline out of their town. One of their ideas? Run it through Albemarle County, instead. The 600-mile, 42-inch natural gas line is currently proposed to slice through the outskirts of the Wintergreen community on its way from Lyndhurst to an area just north of Farmville. The group, called Friends of Wintergreen, has attempted to get around Dominion by submitting the new route proposals directly to FERC, which will ultimately rule on whether the pipeline will be approved and where it will run.
Friends of Wintergreen has publicly stated that it does not oppose the ACP, generally. ‘Their primary purpose is to try to get it away from their businesses in the Wintergreen community,’ says Kirk Bowers, the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club’s pipelines campaign manager. ‘Dominion’s proposed route will cut through the main street of one of Virginia’s largest tourism [areas], shutting down two new hotel developments and killing hundreds of new planned tourism jobs,’ says Jonathan Ansell, chairman of Friends of Wintergreen. ‘There are examples of better and possible alternatives,” he says, such as running a pipeline alongside an existing one.’ The proposed route would divert the pipeline through Fluvanna and then North Garden, instead of through Wintergreen, but Ansell says the entire route, including what Friends of Wintergreen has drafted to run through Nelson County, would be located in existing rights of way, including railroads, highways and electric transmission lines, causing less damage than the route proposed by Dominion, according to Ansell…. Additionally, Ansell says Virginians need to understand that the approval of the ACP will prolong dependence on fracking and fossil fuels by a generation. ‘This is especially troubling as the $45 billion energy company was recently ranked as one of the lowest users of renewable energy in America,’ Ansell says, referring to a recent benchmark by Clean Edge—a group of clean energy researchers in Portland and San Francisco—which ranked Dominion dead last out of the top 30 U.S. investor-owned utilities in the category of incremental energy efficiency. ‘Dominion is the largest corporate contributor to politicians in the commonwealth, effectively immunizing itself from contrary political pressure,’ he says. ‘When’s the last time you heard a politician publicly criticize Dominion for being irresponsible?'”

7-11-16 The Roanoke Times(opinion). McClain: Pipeline hurts more than helps. “Re: C.E. Mahaney’s (‘NIMBY’s stand in the way of progress’) smug reference to Economics 101 in his defense of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project is completely off target. If one progresses into the upper level courses in that field of study as I did, one learns that economics is more than simplistic supply/demand analysis.It is interwoven with diverse fields of study including history, finance, science, public policy and sociology. Decisions that will affect the economy, environment and society of our region for decades to come should not be decided in haste based on limited criteria. Even the supply/demand assertion is flawed, as our society is clearly gravitating toward the use of more clean, renewable energy and less fossil fuels, and it is naive to think that future demand for natural gas will justify projects such as this.”

7-10-16 The Virginian-Pilot (guest columnist). Steve Nash: Something rotten in Richmond. “State Sen. Frank Wagner knows this stuff looks pretty bad — like that controversial bill he sponsored last year to let the state-protected monopoly, Dominion Virginia Power, freeze base rates and avoid state audits for five years. Let’s pass over the merits of that legislation. The real trouble is that Wagner has accepted nearly $70,000 from Dominion over the years for his election campaigns, according to the nonpartisan, nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project. He told me recently that he ‘can certainly understand the sentiment of some of the public that ‘Oh, he received money from them, therefore he is beholden.’ … I think it’s a conclusion that many people would draw.’ But he insists that the conclusion is wrong. Dominion — the top giver on a long list of big corporate donors — gives money to dozens of Virginia candidates: $1.3 million during 2014-15 alone. Fairfax County Democrat Dick Saslaw is the champ, with gifts of $273,000 from Dominion over the years. Every year, Dominion and those other corporations bring legislation to these same lawmakers to consider. It’s entirely legal — and many of us think it’s corrupt. Not personal corruption, like a bribe. This is systemic rot…. Maybe Wagner can’t see a Virginia Clean Elections Program as a strong legacy of his time in office and a good thing to fight for. But then the next time Dominion or some other campaign donor of his brings a bill to the General Assembly, he should abstain from voting. It’s a conflict of interest to do otherwise, and the public interest comes first, doesn’t it?”

7-7-16 Martinsville Bulletin. Mountainous karst landscape should be a ‘no build’ zone for pipeline, geologist says. “He calls it a ‘no build’ zone. A geologist hired by foes of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline concludes in a 60-page study that the 42-inch diameter natural gas pipeline cannot be safely buried or operated through large swaths of the region that are characterized by sinkholes, caves, springs, underground streams and other features of karst topography. Ernst Kastning, 72, a retired professor of geology at Radford University and an authority on karst terrain, contends that the hazards generally associated with construction in karst are compounded by the steep slopes, poor soils and other geologic hazards the pipeline would encounter in mountainous portions of West Virginia and Virginia. ‘The analysis of this report unequivocally demonstrates that the Mountain Valley Pipeline cannot be safely built through the areas of Monroe, Giles, Montgomery and Roanoke counties that are characterized by karst terrain and steep slopes,’ Kastning writes in a report released Thursday…. ‘Hence, constructing a pipeline across this area would risk contamination of sizable karst aquifers,’ Kastning reports. ‘If there is one single environmental issue that stands out in the karst of the Appalachians, it would have to be the sensitivity of the karstic aquifers to groundwater contamination.’… Opponents say the pipeline would cause lasting environmental damage, create safety hazards and sink property values. If FERC approves the project, Mountain Valley will have access to eminent domain to acquire easements across private property.”

7-7-16 Newsleader (opinion). ACP is corrupt, insulting, disgusting. “Recently our elected leaders discussed, debated and some would say defended Second Amendment rights. I wish they would vigorously debate the Fifth Amendment. That’s where the government must pay just compensation for taking private property for public use. Property owners across three states are facing the threat of eminent domain from Dominion Power. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would be a for-profit project, for private consumers of a for-profit corporation. Unless Dominion is planning on giving the natural gas to the public for free, how could it be considered public use? What is just compensation for permanent land use restrictions, explosion risk, upset to your home and family during construction, or the rumbling noise that pipelines emit from transporting natural gas echoing through the foundation of your home? What is just compensation for permanently lowering the value of a piece of property?”

7-7-16 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Virginia Supreme Court agrees Richmond cannot tax natural gas used to generate electricity. “The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that the city of Richmond cannot tax Dominion Virginia Power for natural gas it uses to generate electricity. The power company, which operates a gas-fired electric generation station in Richmond, challenged utility tax assessments from the city for gas it used from 2001 to 2008. According to the Supreme Court opinion, in total the city sought $7.3 million in taxes and late fees for Dominion Virginia Power’s gas consumption from 2001 to 2013.”

7-1-16 West Virginia Record. 37 companies sue Dominion Transmission, others for breach of fiduciary duty. “Thirty-seven companies are suing Dominion Transmission Inc. after they claim it and others breached their fiduciary duties. Dominion Field Services Inc.; Dominion Resources Inc.; Joseph Vanzant; and Riley Natural Gas Company were also named as defendants in the suit. The 37 plaintiffs in the case are independent producers of natural gas in West Virginia and claim the defendants have forced them into long-term, fixed-price contracts that are destroying independent natural gas producers in the state, according to a complaint filed in Marshall Circuit Court. The plaintiffs claim the defendants misled and coerced them and other small, independent natural gas producers into funding a major portion of the construction and upgrades on a project known as the Gateway Project. Dominion Transmission deployed several techniques to finance the construction of the Gateway Project and the result if its actions was that the plaintiffs were forced to sign 10-year contracts to transport their gas and through which Dominion Fiend and Riley reaped vast rewards, according to the suit. ‘To compound the harm to plaintiffs, DFS and Riley then tied those transportation contracts to gas sales contracts requiring plaintiffs to sell their gas to DFS and Riley for an unprecedented term of 10 years,’ the complaint states.”