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):

Wild and Scenic Film Festival – Staunton


Sunday, April 22nd, Staunton, 6:30pm, Visulite Cinema, BUY TICKETS

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival brings together a selection of films that tell stories about our planet, our beautiful and precious wildlands, and the people of the communities who love them, play in them and defend them. They open our eyes and hearts to fantastic experiences in remarkable places. They inspire a sense of wonder, beckon us towards action, highlight issues, and provide solutions.

Films to be shown at this location:

State Water Control Board Approves 30-Day Comment Period

ACP and MVP opponents have continually and vigorously objected to Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality decision a year ago to cede its authority to review the hundreds of spots where two controversial natural gas pipelines will cross state waterways to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

As reported by Robert Zullo, writing for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “the State Water Control Board cracked open the door for more review of those water crossings. The board on Thursday [April 12, 2018] approved a 30-day period to solicit comment on whether the approvals the corps granted for the projects under Nationwide Permit 12 are adequate to protect Virginia waterways from the blasting, drilling and trenching that crossing them could entail.”

Opponents of the blanket approval believe it allows degradation of waterways that are not permitted under Virginia water regulations. Board member Robert Wayland, said, “I watched the nationwide permit scope get significantly ratcheted down over a period of time. Quite frankly, we felt, and the Army agreed, it had been ‘Honk if you want a permit.'”

The Board agreed on a 30-day comment period, with the possibility for a further meeting at a later date.

In December the Board had issued a conditional certification for the ACP and a certification for the Mountain Valley Pipeline that was aimed specifically at attempting to preserve the board’s authority over water crossings – but those certifications were issued before DEQ finished reviewing the pipeline builders’ plans to manage erosion, sediment control and stormwater along the proposed pipeline route through miles of extremely steep terrain.

At the meeting, Board member Roberta Kellam cited Dominion’s self-reported violations of tree-cutting restrictions. “We’re talking about a violation before even the plans that they’re required to submit to perfect the certificate have even been approved,” she said. “That would seem to me potentially grounds for revoking the certificate or at least reopening discussions.”

Mr. Zullo, the Times-Dispatch reporter, noted, “About 15 seconds of silence followed that remark.”

Read the full article here.

Circle of Protection – Buckingham County


1-2 pm Sundays in Union Hill except Sunday, April 22 from 2-3 pm
Corner Routes 56 & 663, Buckingham, Virginia

Circle of Protection is a weekly Interfaith Prayer Vigil to protect Buckingham County from the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the proposed ACP Compressor Station. Expect neighbors, prayer, story, poetry and song. The vigils are open air and will be followed by loaves and fishes pot lucks and no pipeline planning indoors at a nearby church.

MVP Accused of Illegal Tree Cutting


Notification from Preserve Floyd:

“This is a more comprehensive view of what happened yesterday [April 9, 2018] when the MVP’s tree-cutting crew, Northern, tried to cut trees on Poor Mountain. Deepest of appreciation for the courageous protectors on the ground in the snow facing the intimidation of chainsaws, security teams and police in order to give witness to this illegal and immoral act. The MVP LLC is in direct violation of their own argument to Federal Judge Elizabeth Dillon who awarded them immediate possession of property to cut trees based on testimony that the deadline for cutting was March 31 and they would suffer ‘irreparable harm’ if they were not allowed early entry. What does that mean? They do not have all the permits necessary to cut and the restrictions on cutting are fairly clear in terms of protections of endangered species and protected waterways. They were ‘allowed’ to cut BUT ONLY UNTIL MARCH 31. ….

As documented in the [above] video and observed by a certified legal observer, the notice of violation was clearly stated to the security official and the crew. They chose to proceed regardless. They are now officially engaging in illegal tree-cutting after being issued a warning based on legal evidence provided in a necessary and appropriate Citizen’s Notice of Violation and should be held accountable to the law.”

The ACP’s Fake Plans

Section of design sheet for ACP Milepost 85 area, one of only six areas in Virginia for which detailed site-specific pipeline construction plans have been obtained. Colors are added for clarity. Heavy wire mesh will be used to hold a 120% slope area in place above the stream. The indicated unnamed tributary drains to a native trout stream.  Higher resolution version here.

On April 9, 2018, Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition summarized the current status of Dominion’s construction plans for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Dominion Energy asserts that the ACP has received an unprecedented level of regulatory review, and it’s time to get on with it. Meanwhile it withholds its real construction plans while expecting broad waivers from environmental conditions and standards.

Dominion has persistently failed to make site-specific construction plans available to the regulatory agencies and the public. It has instead provided low-resolution plan sheets and generalized descriptions of environmental control practices. We now know that Dominion has plans that it has not shared with government decision makers, and we know it seeks exemption from critical regulatory requirements.

The curtain was pulled back in February 2018 when, after protracted delay, Dominion submitted site-specific plans to the Forest Service for six high-hazard locations in Virginia. Based on these plans we know that:

  • the steepest mountainsides will be held in place using heavy-wire mesh fastened to underlying bedrock with 8 to 15-foot or longer “nails”
  • excess spoil resulting from trench and workspace excavation may be spread on ridgelines or deposited adjacent the pipeline corridor
  • trenches will be dynamited through high-quality streams and backfilled with concrete

It also seems that Dominion is ignoring or perhaps intends to seek a wholesale variance from the State Water Control Board’s requirement that it reduce the width of the construction corridor from 125 feet to 75 feet within 50 feet of streams and wetlands to minimize the extent of riparian buffer disturbance. The most-recent available plans indicate that the width of construction disturbance at stream crossings remains 125-feet wide.

And it remains unclear if Dominion expects to receive a general variance allowing it to exceed the 500-foot open trench limit imposed by Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control regulations. Dominion has indicated that it will seek open-trench variances that will cover 99% of the pipeline corridor in western Virginia, including even the steepest mountainsides.

For more information see the April 9, 2018, post on the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition Web site:  Fake Plans for the ACP