We all knew that FERC would use its rubber stamp to issue a Certificate to Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, but we weren’t sure just when. Now that FERC has given its blessings to this wretched project, Friends of Nelson, and our many friends and colleagues throughout Virginia, North Caroline, and West Virginia are moving forward on strategies that could not be initiated until now!
Friends of Nelson is continuing to fight to stop the ACP in every way that we can.
- Keeping our membership and allies informed and engaged through e-mail, Facebook and the Friends of Nelson Webpage.
- Acting on strategic opportunities with our board of directors, our membership, our allies and our colleagues
- Being represented in legal actions wherever possible and whenever necessary
- Keeping pressure on all Federal, State and local agencies to do the right thing.
- Continuing to build the public record through continued water monitoring and engagement with experts and resource professionals.
Remember: it only takes one agency or one judge doing the right thing to stop this runaway train.
Friends of Nelson cannot, of course, give legal advice. However, this is what we know and this is what we recommend:
- The FERC process was expedited by executive order and has left many regulatory requirements incomplete. The only FERC Commissioner who had a deep understanding of the ACP, and with whom Friends of Nelson representatives met three years ago, filed a dissent and voted against the issuance of the permit on grounds that it was not deemed necessary. The only two commissioners who voted for the certificate have served less than 2 months with FERC and were both Trump appointees.
- A legal challenge to the issuance of the FERC certificate is in the works.
- Construction on the ACP cannot begin until ALL necessary permits have been obtained by Dominion. This includes approval from:
- The Forest Service on required forest plan amendments and special use permits
- The US Fish and Wildlife Service on its regulatory requirements for endangered species
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency and affected counties on regulations for construction and hazardous materials in floodplains
- the Virginia Outdoors Foundation on affected lands with conservation easements
- Section 401 (water quality, erosion and sediment control and storm water management) and 404 (water discharges) permits under the Clean Water Act by the Virginia State Water Control Board and Department of Environmental Quality (or Army Corps of Engineers)
- Tree clearing MAY be able to begin on properties that have recorded easement agreements with Dominion, but it also MAY NOT. If you have a signed easement agreement and Dominion either contacts you about entering your property for tree clearing or enters your property without notice we strongly recommend that you CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY immediately. There are a variety of possible legal challenges that may prevent entry to your property in the short or long term, whether you have signed an easement or not.
- If you are an impacted landowner and do not yet have an attorney, we STRONGLY advise that you contact Appalachian Mountain Advocates (434-529-6787), Lollar Law (757-644-4657), or one of the other firms (see our website) that specialize in these matters. Representation is usually offered on a no-fee, contingency basis. Even if you opt to negotiate an easement rather than go to court for an eminent domain hearing, it has been our observation that individuals with legal representation have obtained much better settlements than those without it.
- If you have not signed an easement agreement, then you can continue to deny access to your property until the entire eminent domain process has run its course. This includes Dominion bringing a lawsuit for entry under eminent domain, you obtaining legal representation, a court hearing and a judge ruling on appropriate compensation. This process takes time to run its course. No property owner is under any obligation to allow eminent domain condemnation or access without this full process being completed. There is one existing lawsuit already filed and the possibility of others that could stall or obstruct this process.
- If you feel that your property rights have been violated and your property is being entered illegally, immediately contact Nelson County Sheriff David Hill at: 434-263-7050.
- If you filed with FERC as an intervener and if you submitted comments to FERC on their Draft Environmental Impact Statement, we invite you to join Friends of Nelson in filing a Request for Rehearing with FERC which is the next step in challenging the FERC decision. For more information, contact Ernie Reed at 434-971-1647. And, most importantly…
KEEP IN TOUCH!
WE ARE HERE!
Ernie Reed, President, Friends of Nelson