- Info and Resources
- Economic Study
- News Media Archive
- ACP Easement
- Lessons Learned
- Blog Posts Archive
Believing them to be a valuable resource for future pipeline fighters and community organizers, Friends of Nelson gathered its records on the fight against the ACP, as well as records from other people and organizations in western and central Virginia organized them, and deposited them with the Library of Virginia. The collection, Record of the Western and Central Virginia Resistance to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, 2014-2021, is publicly available from the Library of Virginia.
Below are links to two FAQ sheets. The first is a general one about the ACP and pipelines (why oppose them, promises about jobs and revenue, gas prices, safety, etc.). The other answer questions landowners may have (property values, easements, eminent domain, restrictions on your use of your property, etc.), and may help you understand the law and your private property rights (or lack thereof). Please note that Friends of Nelson is not providing legal advice, but hopes to provide information landowners may find helpful in making their own decisions about how to proceed.
Friends of Nelson Fact Sheets:
- Basic Facts, Residents and Landowners Targeted by ACP
- Negative Impacts to Water Quality Make Nelson an Inappropriate Route
- Nelson County’s Propensity for Erosion, Landslides, and Flooding Make Nelson an Inappropriate Route
- Impacts to Nelson County’s Economy Make the Route Inappropriate
Friends of Nelson Presentation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) January 9th, 2015. Presented by:
Joanna Salidis, Jim Bolton, and Ernie Reed.
KEY-LOG ECONOMICS REPORT
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would cost Nelson County up to $24.5 million dollars per year, with additional one-time costs of up to $41 million according to an independent economic report issued Tuesday by Key-Log Economics. Individuals and businesses would lose up to $25 million in property value outright, while annual losses would include $18 million in recreation tourism dollars and $1.2 million in personal income. The county government would lose $526,000 in tax revenue and $144,000 in property tax revenue per year should the pipeline be built in Nelson County. The total annual costs to Nelson County far exceed the local annual tax payment promised by ACP LLC. These costs would be borne by the entire community, assuming taxes were raised to cover lost county revenue.
The reports are available here:
ACP Costs to Nelson County – Summary
Economic Costs of the ACP – Technical Report (May 16 update)
Nelson County Economic Impacts from Atlantic Coast Pipeline:
• Total one time loss to county: $19-$41.2m
• Additional Annual costs to county: $21.1-$24.5m /year
• Total loss in property values $14.7-$25.3m
• Annual loss in property tax revenue $83,666-$144,363 /year
• Annual loss in recreation tourism expenditures $18.5m /year
• Annual loss in local Tax revenue $526,000 /year
• Annual loss in personal income $1.2 m /year
A Review and Analysis by Key Log Economics of individual and form letters submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) shows a vast number of significant concerns about Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) from citizens in impacted areas—and overwhelming opposition to the pipeline. This Review and Analysis is a supplement to the Economic Analysis Report, also completed by Key-Log Economics. Among the Review’s findings are:
- 99.4% of the comments about impacts to forests were negative
- 98.8% of the comments regarding impacts to property values, tourism and recreation were negative
- 96.1% of the comments mentioning safety were negative
- 99% of the comments on impacts to water were negative
- 98.9% of the comments regarding effects on cultural and historical sites were negative
- 99% of the comments mentioning health cited negative impacts
All 2858 individual and form letter comments submitted to FERC between October 20, 2014 and June 26, 2015 were reviewed and analyzed, including all comments received during FERC’s official “comment period.” The percentages listed above reflect the number of individual and form letter comments that cited each respective issue. Thus, comments simply voicing opposition or support to the project, which do not have specific details, were not included in this Review and Analysis as FERC considers them irrelevant to the NEPA process. The percentages above also did not include the 25,667 signatures on the 12 different petitions submitted to FERC during this period. The report tracked locales from which the comments were submitted. 59.7% of the individual and form letter comments submitted were from citizens in counties that the ACP would cross, while 90% of signatures on petitions received by FERC were from states outside the ACP route. The report shows that over 36% of the individual and form letter comments submitted (1037 out of 2858) were from Nelson County citizens, exemplifying Nelson County’s strong opposition to the ACP. “This Review and Analysis shows that those who would be most directly affected, and are thus likely to be the most informed, hold almost uniformly negative opinions regarding the ACP,” said Joanna Salidis, President of Friends of Nelson. Comments from those who took the time to write individual letters or submit form letters, whether from citizens directly affected or not, were strongly negative. The analysis also found that the vast majority of those who did hold positive views on the ACP’s effects on the general categories of the “economy” or “energy situation” were from counties or states that were not crossed by the ACP. The comments analyzed were submitted to FERC as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which evaluates the potential environmental effects of any federal project. This public input is a critical part of the overall analysis of the pipeline. “Letters and comments submitted to FERC provide direct and clear information about the issues of concern to the people and communities [affected]…” the review states. “The information in this Review is critical, as it indicates that the people more likely to support the project are those with limited exposure to the issues, due to their greater distance from the route. These people are more likely to rely on paid advertisements by the Gas Industry as their sole source of information,” said Ernie Reed of Friends of Nelson. “The people within closer range recognize the substantial dangers of the ACP, and are in the majority. ”This Review and Analysis of individual comments to FERC by Key-Log Economics was commissioned by Friends of Nelson, Augusta County Alliance, Conservation Partners, LLP, Southern Environmental Law Center, Yogaville Environmental Solutions, Friends of Buckingham, and Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
For the complete review of citizen comments, click here.
The ACP easement release situation has changed dramatically since Aaron Ruby’s January 2021 statement to the Associated Press that ACP did “not intend to voluntarily release the easements.”
Despite FERC’s refusal to hold ACP’s feet to the fire on the easement/land use issue, in Nelson and Augusta courthouses, we are now seeing easement releases being filed for the individual landowners that participated in a year-long, focused advocacy initiative that included invaluable intercession by Senator Kaine’s office.
Even better, it looks like ACP may FINALLY be committing to what we have been asking for all along: release ALL of the easements! The ACP website now states “For properties that do not require any restoration work, we are developing a plan to coordinate with landowners to release their easements.”
Although ACP is STILL not offering landowners with undamaged properties specific “how to” instructions to follow in order to get released — except to “keep waiting” — this statement is better than what their site had posted in early November. It is our hope that a turnkey process will follow quickly.
But our work is not over yet. Now we need to ensure ACP actually lives up to this commitment. We will continue to work to find ways to get the word out to landowners so that they will know release is finally happening and can follow up with ACP as appropriate. (As we all know, ACP does not have a good track record re diligent follow-up when it is only the landowners who stand to gain from that effort.)
Please feel free to spread the word through your networks!
Together we are stronger
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT FERC
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is the independent regulatory agency responsible for granting the ACP the green light for construction and eminent domain – or not. Under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act, the Commission reviews applications for the construction and operation of natural gas pipelines. Read more about the FERC on their Web Page. ACP LLC filed their formal application with the FERC in September 2015; FERC issued the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on December 30, 2016.
Unfortunately, FERC is a very controversial agency. A growing chorus of individuals and groups has begun calling for reform. See, for example, Beyond Extreme Energy and their nine-point plan for FERC reform
FERC APPROVES CERTIFICATES OF PUBLIC CONVENIENCE FOR ACP
After 7:00 p.m. on Friday October 13, 2017, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted certificates of public convenience and necessity to both the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. Recently appointed FERC Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Robert F. Powelson voted in favor of certification, Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur dissented.
In its 157-page approval statement for the ACP, the Commission said:
“As explained herein, we find that the benefits that the ACP Project, Supply Header Project, and Capacity Lease will provide to the market outweigh any adverse effects on existing shippers, other pipelines and their captive customers, and on landowners and surrounding communities. Further, as set forth in the environmental discussion below, we agree with Commission staff’s conclusion in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that, if constructed and operated in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and with the implementation of the applications’ proposed mitigation and staff’s recommendations, now adopted as conditions in the attached Appendix A of this order, the projects will result in some adverse and significant environmental impacts, but that these impacts will be reduced to acceptable levels. Therefore, we grant the requested authorizations, subject to conditions.”
In her 5-page dissent, Ms. LaFleur said, “I recognize that the Commission’s actions today are the culmination of years of work in the pre-filing, application, and review processes, and I take seriously my decision to dissent. I acknowledge that if the applicants were to adopt an alternative solution, it would require considerable additional work and time. However, the decision before the Commission is simply whether to approve or reject these projects, which will be in place for decades. Given the environmental impacts and possible superior alternatives, approving these two pipeline projects on this record is not a decision I can support. For these reasons, I respectfully dissent.”
Read the approval statement for the ACP here. Ms. LaFleur’s dissent begins on page 151
Read the approval statement for the MVP here. Ms. LaFleur’s dissent begins on page 136.
FERC RELEASES FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR ACP
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued its final Environmental Impact Statement on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on July 21, 2017. FERC has 90 days to make a decision on issuing a certificate of approval for the project.
The full statement can be found here: https://ferc.gov/industries/gas/enviro/eis/2017/07-21-17-FEIS.asp
The summary statement from FERC staff includes this paragraph:
“The FERC staff concludes that construction and operation of ACP and SHP would result in some adverse effects, such as impacts on steep slopes and adjacent waterbodies and associated aquatic resources; forested vegetation; Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, Roanoke logperch, Madison cave isopod, clubshell mussel, small whorled pogonia, and running buffalo clover; and karst, cave, subterranean habitat and the species associated with these habitats. Implementation of Atlantic and DETI’s respective impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures, as well as their adherence to staff’s recommendations in the EIS would further avoid, minimize, and mitigate these impacts. Most, but not all of these impacts, would be reduced to less-than-significant levels. These determinations are based on a review of the information provided by Atlantic and DETI in their applications to the FERC and supplemental filings in response to staff’s environmental information requests; field investigations; scoping; literature research; alternatives analyses; and consultations with federal, state, and local agencies, and other stakeholders.”
We note that the FERC staff makes little mention of input from the large number of experts in varied fields who have presented evidence of severe consequences, relying instead on “information provided by Atlantic and DETI in their applications to the FERC and supplemental filings in response to staff’s environmental information requests.”
Note also that these are a staff recommendations only; actual FERC permits need approval by the Commissioners (there is only one at the moment, with three more nominated but not yet approved by the Senate). and the ACP must receive other permits as well, e.g. from DEQ and the USFS.
Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA, of which Friends of Nelson is a member) issued a press release saying the EIS fails to assess whether the project is even needed (relying solely on the project developer’s claims of need), that numerous studies in recent years show the gas and utility sector is overbuilding natural gas infrastructure, and that the EIS glosses over the profound and permanent harm to water resources and drinking water supplies, forest ecosystems, wildlife and endangered species habitat, historic sites, agricultural resources, public lands including the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway, and local economies. A significant red flag for the ABRA is FERC’s reliance on Dominion’s pledges to mitigate harm to water resources rather than requiring the company to provide upfront detailed plans to be shared with the public prior to granting federal certification and the power of eminent domain. The press release also lists nine key points the EIS fails to adequately address.
FERC RELEASES DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR ACP
On December 30, 2016, FERC released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. In response to requests from numerous elected officials and organizations, FERC has extended the usual 45-day period for public comments; the deadline is April 6, 2017.
A collection of videos produced by Woody Greenberg and Ron Enders document Friends of Nelson’s six-year fight against Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the lessons learned from that struggle.
These videos cover five general topics that may be viewed as a complete series (one hour and five minutes) or as individual segments:
- Organizing the community against the proposed pipeline. (12 min 13 sec)
- Legal strategies that succeeded in stopping the project. (15 min 38 sec)
- Public Relations strategies and tactics. (16 min 45 sec)
- Political strategies on the federal, state, and local levels. (10 min 38 sec)
- Knowing the historical and other resources in your community. (9 min 58 sec)
There is also a link to all of the 19 interview sessions that covered the above topics. These are in-depth discussions of the topics for viewers interested in more details. They have been lightly edited for brevity and elimination of non-germane subjects.
In addition to these videos, a Pipeline Fighters Guide was produced by Ron Enders and is available for free download. (Click Here)
VIDEOSThe 10-minute documentary ‘Pipeline’ about our pipeline fight will be ready soon …. it’s in New York City in the studio getting the finishing touches! Here’s a June 2016 teaser to get you started… stay tuned for info about its release.
A 3 minute about a West Virginia couple’s first hand experience “working with” Dominion installing a pipeline on their property. Watch Keely Kernan’s film, In the Hills & Hollows, documenting the natural gas industry in Doddridge County WV, the epicenter of gas wells and pipelines. This particular interview is a couple’s firsthand experience with Dominion and one of their pipeline construction projects. “They broke over half the items in the contract,” and caused chemical burns through their sloppy use of Bentonite “Quik Gel,” which is clay mixed with tiny particles of silica, or glass, used to keep moisture out of the pipes while they are laying them.
Doug Hornig on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline as an Investment. If you own Dominion shares, you may want to pay attention to this video from Concerned Dominion Investors. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline can ruin more than the environment and can take advantage of individuals. It can affect your pocket book.
Arlo Bloom is a 14-year-old Nelson County resident who will be a 9th grader at Nelson County High School in September 2015. For his 8th grade end of the year school project he created an 18-minute documentary about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the issues concerning it. He has posted it on YouTube and would like to share it with the community. Please like, and share this with friends, family, etc. The more views and support the better! In the documentary, speaking about the ACP, Supervisor Connie Brennan says, “Young people really need to take this seriously because this is our land, this is our world, and we need all of you to stand up and say, ‘Hey! Hello! You’re leaving all of this to us! What can we do? What should we be doing? What do we want to see for the future?'” Many thanks to Arlo, who has has done a brilliant job of standing up and doing something!
If you didn’t have the opportunity to see the documentary Won’t Pipe Down at one of the recent showings in Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, or at RVCC, you missed a wonderful film, and we hope you’ll have a chance to see it the future. The short documentary presents the definitive David versus Goliath battle between the residents of Nelson County, Virginia, and Dominion Power. This inside look at our community and our fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline raises questions about environmental justice, property rights, and individual rights. Visit their Web page at wontpipedown.com for more about the film.
What started out as a class project for JMU students Abby Riggleman (the original northern route cuts through her family’s land), Art Pekun, Marley McDonald, and Danny McNew, has morphed into something far bigger and more successful. The first cut of the film won the documentary category at William and Mary’s Global Film Fest and got an Honorable Mention at the Broadcast Education Association’s film festival.
All Pain No Gain music video, “Faces of Pain,” features Nelson and Augusta County residents affected by the pipeline.
Julie Burns’ brother and sister-in-law, George McCollough and Anna Savoia, have made a wonderful video titled “No Pipeline, Say the Friends of Nelson.” You may recognize some of your neighbors in the 29 minute film.
Jun2014 FOOTage: Front Porch Pipeline Education Series(A video series of real conversations with a Right of Way Representative)
This series of 6 recordings was made in June 2014 by Ms. Nelson County Landowner while talking with Mr. Dominion Right of Way Representative. Ms. Landowner asks questions, Mr. Representative provides some amazing (for lack of a better word) answers.
- Jun2014 FOOTage #1-of-6 – We’re In a Modern Era: 1 of 6 clips. Only wanted audio, instead got some authentic FOOTage. (Realized too late, shoulda used a lens cap.) If you can get past my toes in this unplanned, question-n-answer chat last June with a Doyle ROW rep (who called 15 min before arriving)—when I was still in shock, before I knew anything about pipelines—you might glean some valuable information. Otherwise, just enjoy with popcorn.
- Jun2014 FOOTage #2 – Sniffers: #2 clip of the front porch pipeline education series.
- Jun2014 FOOTage #3 – They Don’t Worry About That: Episode # 3 of my front porch pipeline chat with ROW rep last June. In hindsight, I should have answered “Never know!” (since my grandmother reached 98 and my mom is 91).
- Jun2014 FOOTage #4 – It’s Called Negotiation: Episode #4 Warning: adult content. In this clip we learn about shooting pigs, defoliation, ground penetrating fly-overs, scary other people, additional mowing responsibilities, and flat fees. New vocabulary words: perpetuity, negotiation, hypothetical.
- Jun2014 FOOTage #5 – It’s a Look See Only: Episode #5 In this clip: You have a right to object (!); There is no such thing as a stupid farmer; It’s a Look See Only; A short inconvenience —into Perpetuity. (Hypothetical didn’t last long.)
- Jun2014 FOOTage #6 – Power Lines Make Your Hair Stand Up: Episode #6 This is my last clip of the ROW guy’s sales pitch last June. Now proposed alternate routes appear on hundreds of new parcels. None of us is safe. I HOPE people can sift through the lies and double talk I recorded. If faced with an ROW rep pitch, record it if possible, take notes, ask questions, and demand answers.
The Gas Pipeline: A review of why Dominion’s Pipeline has to be stopped, by John P. Flannery (email@example.com) Heidi Cochran appears in this video about Dominion’s proposed ACP! (Note: The narrator is incorrect when he says the Appomattox pipeline belonged to Dominion. It does not. It was a Williams pipeline.)
Thanks to all the artists for sharing their songs and allowing us to post them!
“We Ain’t Pipin’ Down” by Tom Krop. Performance by Tom Krop (keyboard and vocals), Micheal McConkey (guitar and vocals), and Jim Plitt (hammered dulcimer). Includes photos of Nelson County by Ken Wymer.
I’ll Be Your Soldier, by Bobby Midnight of Trees on Fire.
“Freedom” and We Don’t Want Your Pipeline,” performed by Joe and Alda at the Friends of Nelson meeting, March 12, 2015, and RVCC.
“We Don’t Want Your Pipeline” By Robin and Linda Williams, filmed by Richard Adams. Protest Song about proposed Dominion Gas Pipeline coming through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Robin and Linda Williams (copyright 2014). Nice article about Robin and Linda and their song in the August 14, 2015 Washington Post.
No Nelson Pipeline – Thank you to Jesse Winchester and “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz” for the music and Tommy Stone of Cobblestone Music for the lyrics and singing.
“Letter from Home” by Elizabeth McCommon. Published on Feb 23, 2014, Elizabeth McCommon with Rob Northrup. “For the power company, it only loves one thing. That’s the sound of the cash register when it goes ching-a-ling.”
STORIES, POEMS, and LETTERS
June 2016 – Poet Amelia Williams has found a way to leverage art as a direct blocking and delay tactic in the fight against fracked gas pipelines and compressor stations. Walking Wildwood Trail: Poems and Photographs is a book about an eco-poetry art trail created as a tactic against the proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline. A number of different literary agents have expressed an interest in her poetry so far, and Amelia is confident that the next poetry book she publishes might become her biggest seller yet. All proceeds from the book of poetry and photography documenting Amelia’s project benefit Friends of Nelson and Wild Virginia. The significance, she hopes, reaches everyone. Learn about upcoming readings and events on my writer’s page on Facebook. Find the book at Trager Brothers Coffee and Basic Necessities in Nellysford, Givens Bookstore and James River Yoga in Lynchburg. Or e-mail me and I will mail you a copy. You can pay using: PayPal.Me/AmeliaWilliams
1-21-15 Nelson County Times. Owner of Historic Wingina Property Is Epitome of Pipeline Opposition. A story about Nelson County residents Andrew and Digna Gantt and their 277-year-old historic property in Wingina, which sits in the path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Rooted deep in nearly 300 years of rich family history, Andrew and Digna Gantt’s farm in Wingina has weathered wars, wealth, poverty and Reconstruction. It has been used as an Indian settlement, a plantation, and now as an unofficial area of conservation…. Gantt is steadfast in turning down [Dominion’s] request to access his property…. when it comes to the passion of his family’s land and long history, Gantt said he would lay down in front of the bulldozers if the time comes. ‘I feel so strongly about this,’ he said. ‘It’s uncalled for and unjust. The pipeline is going through some 200 properties of people who have their lives established here. They can’t say no, it’s so hard to say no. It’s an enormous effort to say no.'”
1-21-15 Blue Virginia. Living in Dominion’s Sacrifice Zones. The story of John Ed and Ruth Purvis, a Nelson County family whose land lies in the path of Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The Purvis family has owned and farmed their land for seven generations.
1-15-15 Charlottesville Newsplex: Sherriff’s Wife Fighting for Her Life, and Her Land. “Dominion Resources has filed another round of civil lawsuits against landowners in Nelson County to gain access to their properties to survey for a natural gas pipeline. Sheriff David Brooks and his wife, Sherri, are one of the 59 families being sued by Dominion…. ‘Would you want this in your backyard or your front yard where your kids play, where your grandkids play?’ asked Sheriff Brooks. The proposed route for the five billion dollar pipeline carrying natural gas from Ohio and Pennsylvania, could run right through their property off James River Road. The land was once an apple orchard and has belonged to the Brooks family for three generations. ‘This land has value to us, more than just a monetary value,’ Sherri Brooks said.”
1-1-15 “The Deceived ‘god.'” Poem by Michael M. Barrick. A poem dedicated to Dominion Resources. “What is sacred to you / they curse.” “The old home place; / the sunrise over the ridge; / the moon hanging in the / deep blues of night. / The stars which pre-date / their / temporal, mortal / white-washed tombs, / they don’t even glimpse.” “The only green they see / is on currency.”
10-15-14 C-Ville: Long legacy: Family history fuels fight against pipeline in Nelson County. “In one pocket of southeast Nelson, a common history binds a particularly staunch group of pipeline opponents – and they say that history is a big part of why they want to see the project die.” The Rev. James Rose and his neighbor Pearl Miles talk about their rich local history, which may not have state or federal recognition, and how, as the last generation to grow up on the land like their parents and grandparents, they feel a responsibility to protect it.
Andrew Gantt tells the story of his historically significant parcel along the James in a September 15, 2014 letter to Dominion.
Art Pendants by K Robins: Nelson County artist K Robins has created two unique pieces of jewelry to represent Nelson County’s fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. K will be donating all proceeds (beyond production costs) for these pendants to Friends of Nelson and its allies to support their work of opposing the pipeline and advocating for the residents of Nelson County. K says “The people in Nelson county are so inspiring to me! They are courageous, highly informed and have a contagious love of land, body and spirit!” Both pendants, Revolution (the piece on the left in the picture) and Solidarity (the piece on the right), are for sale now at K’s Etsy store.
LandEscapes, an Installation Artwork by Amelia Williams. Amelia Williams has created an installation art piece, comprised of art and poetry, on one 500 acre property that is on the direct path of the pipeline. The purpose of the artwork is to celebrate the varied terrains of the land and to build a protective web across the land so that federal copyright protection of the installation will have to be taken into consideration.
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Nellysford, VA 22958
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