Category Archives: COVID-19

FERC Rejects State AGs Plea for Project Moratorium During COVID-19 Crisis

From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update #276, May 14, 2020

A May 7 [2020] request by attorneys general of 10 states and the District of Columbia for a moratorium on approvals of all new and pending natural gas pipelines, LNG facilities and related fossil-fuel infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 pandemic has been summarily rejected by the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The AGs’s letter argued that a moratorium is “necessary to preserve the due process rights of interested parties, many of whom are dealing with unprecedented challenges to their health and economic wellbeing from the COVID-19 crisis and whose ability to participate in hearings and proceedings may be accordingly constrained.”

FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee replied on May 12 in a letter to Virginia AG Mark Herring, denying the moratorium request.

Chatterjee said: “Hindering the build-out of energy infrastructure now could have long-term and lasting negative impacts on the delivery of energy in the future. For these reasons, I view requests for a moratorium on energy projects to be short-sighted and impractical. Any step to slow the energy economy is a step in the wrong direction.”

Ask Legislators to Halt Work on MVP and ACP During Health Crisis

In this time of unprecedented health crisis, non-critical infrastructure projects like Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline should not be moving forward.

Ask your Federal Representatives to contact the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and help prevent the spread of Covid-19 along the pipeline routes by halting all work during the pandemic.

Sign the Sierra Club petition here (or write your own letter).

VA, WV Announce Environmental Enforcement Policies During Pandemic

From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update #270, April 2, 2020

The recently announced U.S. EPA policy on enforcement discretion during the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to issue clarifying guidance. The DEQ statement, issued March 31, says:

All regulated entities are expected to make every effort to comply with environmental compliance obligations, adhere to permit limits, and maintain the safe and environmentally protective operation of their facilities. We recognize this is an unprecedented public health crisis. DEQ must balance environmental protection with protecting the public’s health. As we all continue to navigate through this crisis, DEQ staff will consider non-compliance issues resulting from COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis, but by no means does this crisis equal a free pass for the regulated community.

However, should growing health concerns and public safety recommendations resulting from COVID19 and Governor Ralph Northam’s Executive Order 51 declaring a state of emergency in Virginia affect normal operations, DEQ will review non-compliance issues on a case-by-case basis and exercise enforcement discretion as appropriate.

The WV DEP issued a statement on March 27 saying:

It is important to note that the WVDEP expects facilities to continue to be operated in a manner that fully protects human health and the environment. This includes, but is not limited to, continued operation and monitoring pollution control devices, record-keeping, maintenance, testing, and reporting requirements. If compliance is not reasonably practicable due to issues related to COVID-19 pandemic, facilities with environmental compliance obligations should contact the WVDEP and follow the requirements outlined in the EPA memorandum listed here:

A Message from SELC

These are unprecedented times and Southern Environmental Law Center is working their way through them. They pulled together a short message from staff across their offices that we hope you’ll enjoy.  We thank SELC for all their hard work to protect our environment from damaging and unnecessary pipelines.

Webinar Planned for April 9 on COVID-19 and the Gas Power Industry

From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update #270, April 2, 2020

A webinar co-hosted by Reuters Events and Petrochemical Update will be held Thursday, April 9, 2020, at 10 am (EDT) to explore the impact the short and long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the gas power industry. The hour-long session will feature assessments by Jim Hempstead, Managing Director for Moody’s Investors Service, and Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance for Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. To register for the webinar, click here.