News You May Have Missed


There’s been a lot going on – here are some news items from our In the News page you may have missed (many additional interesting news articles on that page).

Briefing Schedule Set for Supreme Court Case

From the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance ABRA Update #254, November 21, 2019:

Initial briefs in the Cowpasture River Preservation Association, et. al. v. Forest Service are due to be filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by the petitioners – U.S. Forest Service and Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC – on December 2. The Southern Environmental Law Center, representing the Cowpasture River Preservation Association and the other respondents in the case, is scheduled to file its response brief on January 15, 2020. The Supreme Court had announced on October 4 it would accept the case for review. At this writing, no date has been scheduled for oral arguments in the case, but it is anticipated to occur in early 2020.

The appeal before the Court is from a decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 13, 2018 to vacate the permit the U.S. Forest Service had issued for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) , which affects the project’s crossing of the Appalachian National Trail (AT). Among major points in the Fourth Circuit decision was the judgment that the Forest Service did not possess the legal right to authorize the ACP to cross the AT. Plaintiffs in the challenge to the Forest Serviced permit (and, thus, the respondents in the pending Supreme Court Appeal) are 7 members of ABRA: Cowpasture River Preservation Association; Highlanders for Responsible Development; Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation; Shenandoah Valley Network; Sierra Club; Virginia Wilderness Committee; and Wild Virginia.

New Report on FERC Gas Pipeline Policy

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announces a new report by Analysis Group, authored by renowned energy expert Dr. Susan Tierney. The report, FERC’s Certification of New Interstate Natural Gas Facilities: Revising the 1999 Policy Statement for 21st Century Conditions, outlines many of the key calls for action found in the thousands of comments filed in summer 2018 with FERC regarding its gas pipeline reviews. FERC’s January 2018 decision to reconsider its 20-year-old policy guiding its pipeline reviews was a major victory, but the docket has largely been shelved since comments were filed, despite the plethora of great ideas contained therein. In conjunction with the report’s release, Dr. Tierney also authored an op-ed in Utility Dive.

The report recommends that FERC adopt and implement numerous changes, including:

  • Incorporating an “all relevant factors approach” to determine pipeline need
  • Ensuring fairness and due process for landowners
  • Conducting a robust environmental review
  • Prioritizing accuracy over speed

Send Comments to DEQ

The Commonwealth of Virginia is proposing to enter into a judicial consent decree with Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC to settle certain alleged violations of the Commonwealth’s environmental laws and regulations related to construction activities in Craig, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery, Pittsylvania and Roanoke Counties, Virginia (Case No. CL18006874-00 in Henrico County Circuit Court).  The consent decree will require the payment of $2.15 million penalty, put MVP under stricter court-ordered compliance, and enhance Virginia’s ability to detect any future violation, allowing for faster, more effective accountability and environmental restoration and protection.

Written comments on the proposed consent decree will be accepted from October 28, 2019, through November 27, 2019, and should be submitted to mountainvalleypipeline@deq.virginia.gov or by postal mail to Room 2253-A, Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, Virginia 23218, or hand-delivery by close of business to Department of Environmental Quality, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 1400, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

News You May Have Missed


There’s been a lot going on – here are some news items from our In the News page you may have missed (many additional interesting news articles on that page).

Upcoming Events

Dates to save!

Sunday, November 17, 2019, Potluck-movie-discussion, Rockfish Presbyterian Church, 5016 Rockfish Valley Hwy (Rt 151), Faber, VA 22938. Potluck dinner 4:30pm, Movie (Before the Flood) 5pm, followed by discussion.

Wednesday , November 20, 2019, Protest at Dominion Virginia Energy (Charlottesville headquarters), 1719 Hydraulic Rd., Charlottesville. [Repeated every 1st and 3rd Wednesday, so come back on December 4 and December 18.]

Sunday, December 8, 2019, Potluck-movie-discussion, Rockfish Presbyterian Church, 5016 Rockfish Valley Hwy (Rt 151), Faber, VA 22938. Potluck dinner 4:30pm, Movie (Racing Extinction) 5pm, followed by discussion.

Sunday, January 12, 2020, Friends of Nelson Annual Meeting, Rockfish Valley Community Center, 6-10 pm.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020, Climate Lobby Day, CCAN Action Fund and Sierra Club’s Grassroots Climate Lobby Day, 7:00 am – 2:00 pm, January 14, 2020, Start at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church: 815 E Grace St Richmond, VA 23219