In May 2017 Northam Pledged Stream by Stream Review


What happened to that pledge?

On April 18, 2018, Blue Virginia writes, “For the record, here’s what Ralph Northam said in May 2017 about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: 1) we need to be ‘very cognizant’ of property rights; 2) ‘we need to be environmentally responsible;’ 3) he supposedly got the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to move to stream-by-stream, ‘site-specific permit’ system, that ‘anywhere there’s a stream or a river, that there will be a site-specific permitting;’ 4) ‘we will use science and transparency if the pipeline moves forward.’ Also for the record, the state certainly has NOT been ‘very cognizant’ of property rights when it comes to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (or the Mountain Valley Pipeline); has NOT been ‘environmentally responsible’ on either pipeline; has NOT moved to a ‘site-specific permit’ system on either pipeline; and has NOT used ‘science and transparency’ on either pipeline in this entire process.”

Failing grade for Northam on his campaign promises!

CSI Drone Training, April 28, 2018

Friends of Nelson and the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance are excited to announce the date of our first Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) drone monitoring training on Saturday, April 28, 2018, from 12:00pm – 4:00pm at the Rockfish Valley Community Center (click for directions).
 
If you haven’t already, please sign up for the event using our Pipeline Air Force volunteer form here: 
 
The purpose of this training is to introduce volunteers to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to monitor construction and preconstruction activities of the fracked gas pipelines that threaten our communities.
Topics to be covered are as follows:
  • Why use drones?
  • Which drones can you use?
  • Flying Safely: Do’s & Don’t’s
  • Flying Legally: Rules of the air
  • What and where to monitor?
  • Taking useful photos and videos
  • Advanced mapping missions
  • Networking with your neighbors

The CSI will have two DJI Mavic Pro drones present for demonstration. If you own or have access to your own drone, please bring it with you! 

This training will include an indoor classroom-style presentation in the Rockfish Lounge followed by a flight and mapping-mission demonstration in the soccer field outside. Lunch will be provided, so please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions. 

Important: It is our hope with this program to create a network of citizen aerial monitors across our region who can respond to and document construction non-compliance and environmental degradation at the hands of ACP and MVP developers. This training is not an end-all-be-all for how to fly, you’ll need to practice flying on your own to become proficient. If you cannot attend due to scheduling conflicts or distance, don’t fret, we plan on holding more of these trainings in the coming weeks and months in different communities along the proposed MVP and ACP routes. We also plan to have a live-stream video of this training so stay tuned for updates on how to access that.

Space is limited to 50 people.

Please direct any questions or concerns to Ben Cunningham, at silvercunning@gmail.com or 434-882-1893.

Your Help Wanted – CSI Volunteer Options


The Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) is a program developed by the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance and its member organizations to support citizen efforts to ensure strict application of environmental laws and regulations in the construction and operation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The need for citizen oversight of pipeline construction has been made clear by observations of recent pipeline projects and inadequate regulatory agency response to repeated violations and water resource harm.

Pipeline CSI will focus first on the approximately 200-mile section of the proposed ACP route extending from Harrison County in West Virginia to Buckingham County in Virginia. The extreme earth disturbance required for construction of the ACP in this area of steep mountain sides, high-quality streams, and karst valleys presents an unacceptable risk to water resources.

You can help! Here are the various ways volunteers can participate:

Citizen Observers

  • Work independently or with other organizations to observe and report incidents of both downstream surface water impact and noncompliance with construction requirements.
  • May be organized by coordinators affiliated with local or other regional organizations.
  • Access for viewing pipeline construction areas will ordinarily be limited to public roads or other public vantage points.
  • General guidance for citizen observers is provided on the Pipeline CSI website.
  • Can submit incident reports to CSI Central by using methods provided on the Pipeline CSI website or by methods provided by other organizations.

Stream Monitoring Program Volunteers

  • Participate in monitoring programs managed by local watershed groups and regional programs such as the Trout Unlimited/West Virginia Rivers Pipeline Monitoring program or the Isaak Walton League Save Our Streams program.
  • Take part in training and certification conducted by the monitoring programs.
  • Follow protocols and reporting methods established by the monitoring programs.
  • Can submit incident reports to CSI Central using methods provided on the Pipeline CSI website or by methods provided by the stream monitoring programs.

Research and Administration Volunteers

  • Monitor ACP filings to FERC including the Environmental Compliance and Weekly Status Reports.
  • Monitor FERC docket for inspection reports, variance requests, and other ACP constructionrelated documents.
  • Review construction-related documents provided by regulatory agencies.

CSI First Responders

  • Teams dispatched by CSI Central to investigate reported incidents of surface water impacts or noncompliance with pipeline construction requirements.
  • Recruited based on professional or scientific background related to water resources or erosion and sediment control and stormwater management.
  • Collect data and investigate reported incidents following Pipeline CSI protocols.

Pipeline Air Force

  • Pilots recruited and trained to fly routine pipeline surveillance flights and incident response flights.
  • Photographers recruited to obtain aerial imagery of pipeline construction areas.
  • Drone operators recruited and trained to obtain aerial imagery of pipeline construction areas.
  • Pipeline Air Force participants will follow Pipeline CSI protocols.

CSI Incident Review

  • Provide input to the Pipeline CSI Environmental and Forensic Review Teams evaluating incidents of surface water impacts or noncompliance with construction requirements.
  • Access to review information will be provided through the online CSI Mapping System.
  • Review assistance is requested from professionals with erosion and sediment control and stormwater management backgrounds, as well as from other knowledgeable individuals.
  • Training will be scheduled for interested participants, and information concerning regulatory and technical requirements will be provided through the Pipeline CSI website.

BECOME A CSI VOLUNTEER! Go to: http://pipelineupdate.org/csi-help/

Questions? Contact Lew Freeman – lewfreeman@gmail.com or 540-468-2769

Dominion Refuses Route Change Recommended by Own Contractor

As this April 6, 2018, comment to FERC makes clear, Dominion not only ignores expert citizen input, but also ignores the recommendations of the experts they themselves hired.

Little Valley, Bath County, VA, near ACP mile marker 93 of the ACP, is underlaid by limestone and is characterized by numerous karst features including springs and sinkholes. Most Little Valley residents depend entirely on spring water for all household and agricultural needs. Little Valley Run is a high quality spring-fed stream that holds native brook trout year round. The Valley Center area of Highland County is very similar to Little Valley and faces many of the same threats from the ACP.

Dominion has constantly assured citizens that their concerns about problems associated with placing a pipeline of this size through limestone aquifers were being addressed. Dominion hired GeoConcepts, an engineering firm with expert knowledge of karst topography, to evaluate and make recommendations regarding the proposed route.

The comment to FERC states that it has now become evident that Dominion has been routinely ignoring the advice of GeoConcepts, which proposed a route that would avoid karst areas in both Bath and Highland Counties – a route that was rejected by Dominion. Further, this route, which would have avoided karst areas in Valley Center, Little Valley, and Burnsville, would seem to be almost identical to one proposed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation in a letter to FERC in August 2017.

“It seems clear that Dominion has no intention of voluntarily facing the problems that they have created for themselves by ignoring the reality of the terrain they have chosen for the ACP. Both GeoConcepts and the Virginia DCR have recommended a route that would avoid the degradation of sensitive karst areas in both Bath and Highland Counties. We are relying on the members of the State Water Control Board to hold Dominion to their promises to protect the most precious resource we have — our water.”

Read the full comment here.

Wild and Scenic Film Festival


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.

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

Showing on Wednesday, April 25th, Charlottesville, 7:00pm, Violet Crown Cinema, BUY TICKETS