Happy new year! We are pleased to share with you this article in the Nelson County Times recently about the return of landowner easements on the canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Dominion Energy has agreed to return all easements to landowners. Landowners will keep all compensation.
For two and a half years the Niskanen Center, along with Joyce Burton (landowner liaison for Friends of Nelson) helped to turn this tide. This effort included a year-long partnership with Senator Tim Kaine’s office.
If you are a landowner on the canceled ACP route and want an expedited release (for example if you have plans for the property or you want to sell) please see the link below to contact the land agent in your area.
Virginia ACP Land Supervisor counties of Augusta, Bath, Buckingham, Cumberland, Highland, Nelson, and Prince Edward contact:
Please note that your land agent may be different than the one you initially worked with. For all counties on the ACP route see the link here for your land agent.
Together we are stronger!
Category Archives: Easement Agreements
As the holiday season is upon us, we are pleased to share some good news with our community!
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,
2021 Annual Meeting
Dear Friends of Friends of Nelson,
2021 has been a year devoted to exploring new ways Friends of Nelson can serve Nelson County. After six long years of battling the misbegotten Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposal, our steering committee members and volunteers are ready for a change of pace and focus.
Our first priority for 2021 was finishing up the pipeline battle and doing what we could to help other citizen groups in their struggles against unwanted pipelines. We prepared an archive of our efforts and experiences; sought to get Dominion to release easements extracted through threats of eminent domain; and are preparing several different resources through a ‘Lessons Learned’ project intended to help other grassroots pipeline fighters to get started quickly and organize effectively.
Looking to the future, we examined projects aimed at preserving and enhancing Nelson County’s environmental quality and the enterprises, ranging from farming to tourism, that depend on it. Interests to be further developed include practical ways in which Nelson County can become a leader in climate and environmental action. For details see our annual report.
Our steering committee combines wizened veterans and energetic newcomers:
Doug Wellman, president and future vice president
Mary Eiserman, vice president and future president
Susan McSwain, secretary
Cheryl Klueh, treasurer
We anticipate some departures from the steering committee, so we are eager to hear from anyone who might be interested in serving. If you think you’d like to put your shoulder to the wheel, please contact any of the current committee members you may know or Doug Wellman at: email@example.com or 434-964-8307.
Our annual meeting is scheduled for Sunday, January 23, 2022. Due to continuing COVID challenges, it will be via Zoom. The meeting link and passcode is below.
We look forward to seeing you!
Topic: Friends of Nelson Annual Meeting
Time: Jan 23, 2022 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 880 3273 9022
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“Zombie Easements” story featured on NPR
It’s been just over a year since Dominion and its utility partners announced they were scrapping plans for a pipeline to carry natural gas from the fracking fields of West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina. Opponents were thrilled, but the fight isn’t over yet.
Audio and written story by Sandy Hausman forRadio IQ. August 5th, 2021
Nelson County Administration and Board of Supervisors Submit Comments on FERC Docket# CP15-554-009
On April 14, 2021, the Board of Supervisors of Nelson County unanimously directed that a comment letter be filed with FERC to address the many “zombie” easements that afflict landowners in the County following the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. In the comment letter, the Board stated that “we submit that it is the responsibility of FERC to require Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC to release the thousands of easements that were obtained by Atlantic from private landowners on the proposed path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” including 250+ easements in Nelson County. The Board added that “these easements impose a significant burden upon these landowners which has been proven to be unwarranted. They significantly diminish and limit the owner’s use of their properties and, therefore reduce its value.” Moreover, “it is inevitable that the county tax assessments on these properties will be reduced due the limitations that the easements put upon the landowner’s
properties, costing a loss of county tax revenue on these properties.
Oil and Gas companies are making old pipelines the landowner’s problem.
From Popular Science. In the US private residents end up footing the bill to prevent further eyesores and pollution. March 10, 202.
There are some 3 million miles of natural gas pipelines buried in the US. More than half of all gas transmission lines in the country were installed before 1970, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration. Those pipelines have an average lifespan of 50 years. And it’s not just old pipelines that are set to go out of service. Younger pipelines are also at risk of falling into disuse as the power sector comes to rely less on natural gas in favor of wind, solar and batteries.
No clearer sign exists that that bridge has been crossed than the cancellation of several high profile natural gas pipeline projects in the last year, including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Constitution Pipeline. What does that mean for the millions of miles of gas pipelines that are already in the ground?
The most comprehensive data on abandoned pipelines comes from Canada. In the 1980s, the Canadian government began an extensive study of abandoned pipelines, which identified a slew of serious risks to leaving them in place. Sinkholes could form as pipelines corroded and collapsed. Leftover fossil fuels, or the cleaning agents used to clear outlines, could leak out into the surrounding soil or water. Aging lines under lakes or rivers could carry water where it’s not wanted. However, the chances of this happening could be minimized by using safety precautions, like equipping pipelines with Double Block and Bleed Valve or similar devices that can prevent leakage. Likewise, the government might want to pay more attention to this as there could be a disaster in case of a leak. Empty pipelines could also become slightly buoyant, relative to the soil, and rise to the surface, where landscaping and signage marking a pipeline’s path is rarely maintained (by thorough inspection and regular updation using good quality Industrial Valves and other additional pipeline parts) after it has been retired. There can never be a replacement for regular and timely maintenance, which can prevent problems and also, increase the efficiency and longevity of the pipeline. However, it is not sure as to how the valving system of these pipelines have been in place, or whether the Butterfly Valves of the pipeline are still intact to keep them from spilling.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) can order a pipeline company to remove a line that’s not in use, says Carolyn Elefant, an energy and eminent domain attorney, but it doesn’t always do so.
Pipeline companies have ample incentive to leave pipelines in the ground. Removal is expensive and requires heavy equipment, permits and environmental reviews. And pipelines laid before 1980 often have the added feature of an asbestos coating that must be dealt with. It can cost almost as much to get a pipeline out of the ground as it costs to put it in the ground.
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