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).

Tree Cutting on Rainbow Ridge

We are aware of the tree cutting work happening in the Rainbow Ridge area in Nelson County and have been investigating.  As of this writing (Thursday afternoon June 6, 2019) we believe the issue is a dispute between private landowners and boundary and/or access issues.  We do not believe ACP LLC contractors are involved in the current observed work.

Please continue to post updates to the CSI website (http://www.abra-csi.org/citizen-reporting) to enable us to investigate and monitor.  When you see something that you believe could be a violation, even if you’re not sure, you can call the CSI hotline at (877) 462-2272 to leave a voicemail, or send an email to csi@abralliance.org describing the who, what, when, and where of the situation you’ve observed.  If you have any good pictures, they are always helpful to include.

Five Years and Counting

Lew Freeman, Executive Director, Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA), marked the fifth anniversary of our fight against the unnecessary and destructive Atlantic Coast Pipeline with this post in ABRA Update 231 for May 30, 2019. Friends of Nelson, a member of ABRA, thanks Lew and all the many individuals, groups, and organizations who have given and continue to give their time and energy and resources in the now five year fight! Onward!

Lew’s post:

“Holy cow” is how the chairman of the Highland County Board of Supervisors reacted to the news that Dominion Energy planned to build a natural gas pipeline through his county, according to a May 29, 2014 news story in The Recorder newspaper. A Dominion spokesperson quoted in the story said that the Southeast Reliability Project, as the company initially called what has become the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), was to cost $4 billion and be in operation by the end of 2018.

Dominion’s initial talking points in 2014 about the project said:

  • The project would be the “energy equivalent of broadband infrastructure,” providing a “key driver in a community’s ability to attract economic development;”
  • It would promote price stability and enhance economic opportunity;
  • “Substantial economic benefits including a substantial number of well-paying construction jobs and additional tax base in communities along the route” would be provided;
  • Dominion looks forward to working with affected landowners and communities “to ensure that we can optimize the balance of environmental stewardship and economic opportunity that is created” by the project.

Five years later, we have learned that the company’s words do not measure up to its stated talking points. At all! “Fake News” would seem to be a more apt characterization.

The ACP is now stalled due to it losing many of its key permits. By Dominion’s own admission, the project is over 2 years behind schedule and its anticipated project costs are nearly double the original estimate.

The extraordinary effort by ABRA’s more than 50 member organizations, dozens of cooperating organizations and thousands of committed volunteers are a significant reason for where we find ourselves today. But the fight is not over against the ACP. Our persistence and perseverance must continue! Thanks to all of our coalition participants for your past and future efforts.

Friends of Nelson Public Meeting


Join us on Sunday June 30, 2019, for an informative meeting at the Nelson Center
, 8445 Thomas Nelson Hwy (Rt. 29), Lovingston. We’ll have two excellent speakers:

  • Dr. Mary Finley-Brook, Associate Professor of Geography, Environmental Studies & Global Studies at University of Richmond – she’ll speak on “Dirty BIG Secrets: The Real Impact of Fossil Fuel Development”  Her talk will highlight locations (termed ‘Sacrifice zones’) where air and water pollution caused by fossil fuel development has had a negative effect on the health and well being of low income communities. She will offer a detailed description of the high social costs and poor record of environmental management of these sites which include the Charles City Gas Plants, the ACP Marts Compressor station, coal dust in Norfolk and Newport News and landfill gas in Cumberland County.
  • Anne Witt, Geohazards Specialist at Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy – she’ll speak on “Landslides Associated with Hurricane Camille, 1969”  Her talk will include a PowerPoint using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) imagery to show where and why the soil started to slide and the consequences of the storm. She has been researching landslides in this area of the country for some time and can show historically that this is one of the most landslide-prone areas of the entire United States. She has tracked more than 5,000 landslides caused by Hurricane Camille in Nelson County.

PLUS – Pipeline CSI updates and legal news/status.

Doors open at 6 pm, meeting at 6:30.

The ACP and the Appalachian Trail

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, thwarted in its intent to cross the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the George Washington National Forest (GWNF), now wants special treatment from the U.S. Congress — a law that would force through its proposed AT crossing in the GWNF. The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) has prepared a set of maps and documents with the most current facts, legal status, and research. The documents are intended to help groups and individuals facilitate conversations with elected officials (and others) about the threat to the Appalachian Trail,

Resources include:

  1. ACP Factsheet (this is a colorful one pager that you can distribute and take to meetings)
  2. The Case Against the ACP (this is a longer 2 page memo on the facts including citations; good background reading for you prior to a meeting)
  3. Contact Info (all 13 Virginia members of Congress with DC and District office contact info)
  4. Letter House (the letters that were sent to our Congressional Representatives–good to distribute and take to meetings)
  5. Letter Senate (the letters that were sent to our U.S. Senators–good to distribute and take to meetings)
  6. Map US House (this shows Congressional districts and the MVP & ACP routes)
  7. Map VA House (this shows state delegate districts and the MVP & ACP routes)
  8. Map VA Senate (this shows state senate districts and the MVP & ACP routes)

With many permits revoked or in court, Dominion now wants to legislate the ACP route. We urge everyone to use SELC’s materials and contact elected officials, community members, and the media to educate them with up-to-date information, including the many reasons why the proposed AT crossing is unlawful and should not receive special treatment from Congress – and why the ACP is simply not necessary!

New Broken Ground Podcast


Broken Ground is a podcast by the Southern Environmental Law Center “digging up environmental stories in the south that don’t always get the attention they deserve, and giving voice to the people bringing those stories to light.”

Demand for Power, episode 3 of Broken Ground, is now live, and tells John and Ruby Laurys’ story of stepping up in Buckingham County to defend their farm and neighbors when pipeline developers won’t back down from pursuing a risky, polluting project that’s become obsolete.

Listen here.