From Kay Ferguson’s 7 Protections from Fracked Gas in VA for Dec. 17-30
FLOOD THE FERC: By 5 pm December 21, tell the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission not to accept Mountain Valley Pipeline’s variance request to allow them to bore under waterways.
The rules of the water permit for MVP were inadequate to protect our water. MVP broke all the rules. Some rule breaking holds MVP up in court. Now they want to change the rules without due or public process. This is a no.
There are two ways to say no before Dec. 21, 5 pm
Short/one click still effective way: Sign & share this petition. And this one.
Longer more effective way: Filing as an intervenor on this request and/or filing comment with FERC is not so simple, but for some of you long in this fight, it might be time to learn it. This latest go around request from MVP is docket number # CP21-12. For help with FERC filings, review this tool kit: To view the document for this Issuance, click here.
From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update 296, November 19, 2020
Two nominees for vacancies on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) were approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The two nominees, Mark Christie and Allison Clements, had been nominated by President Trump in July.
Mr. Christie, who has been chairman of the Virginia State Corporation Commission for the past 16 years, was nominated to fill the seat of now-departed Commissioner Bernard McNamee, a Republican member. Allison Clements, who is with the Energy Foundation and formerly was an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, was appointed to fill the seat vacated last summer by Cheryl LaFleur, a Democrat.
The committee-approved nominees must now receive a vote of confirmation from the entire U.S. Senate. While approval is anticipated, the Senate has only 15 days of scheduled session remaining. It is not clear when the nominations will come to the Senate floor for a vote.
FERC has been operating with only three members, which is the required quorum. President Trump on November 5 replaced Neil Chatterjee as FERC Chairman with Commissioner Neil Danley, who was appointed to the Commission in March of this year after serving as FERC General Counsel. While Commissioners are appointed to specific terms, the Chairman serves as an appointee of the President. It is anticipated that President-elect Biden will appoint a new Chairman after he takes office on January 20. Sitting Commissioner Richard Glick is reported to be likely named.
On October 27, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asked Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc. (DETI), managing partner for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Supply Header Project (SHP), to provide to FERC “a plan for disposition of ACP and SHP, including restoration activities.” Dominion was given 60 days from the date of the FERC letter to respond, which would be December 26, 2020.
On June 16, 2020, Dominion had filed with FERC a request for a two-year extension of its FERC certificate in order to complete the SHP, and in a separate filing on July 10 requested a one-year extension of its ACP certificate to implement abandonment of the ACP project areas that had been disturbed.
The FERC letter asks that Dominion’s plan include:
Discussion of the status of Atlantic’s/DETI’s consultation with landowners on matters pertaining to project disposition and restoration activities on their property, as applicable, including: a. preferences regarding treatment of pipeline segments that have already been installed (i.e., pipeline to be left in place or removed); b. preferences for removal of felled trees that have not been cleared; and c. preferences on how disturbed areas would be restored, depending on their land use type (e.g., forest, agricultural, etc.).
FERC has not yet granted the extension, but is asking Dominion to submit plans for the ACP restoration they intend to do.
However, FERC’s response does not address the question of easements at all. The Southern Environmental Law Center, along with many others who submitted comments to FERC on Dominion’s July 10 request, urged that the issue of landowner easements be included in the restoration plan. Further, FERC has not granted requests to solicit comments from landowners themselves regarding what restoration is needed on their lands. FERC Commissioner Richard Glick wrote recently: “When it comes to protecting landowner interests, we should look at what the Commission does, not what it says. With that in mind, today’s order tells you everything need to know about how much the Commission cares about landowners.”
An October 29 Virginia Mercury article, Federal regulators order Atlantic Coast Pipeline to provide a plan for project wind-down, restoration, says, “Asked about how Dominion intends to approach easements that remain in force and whether it plans to relinquish those easements, Dominion spokesperson Aaron Ruby said in an email the company ‘will work with each landowner whose property has been disturbed to develop a plan for the right of way on their property’ and will ‘evaluate each easement agreement on a case-by-case basis in consultation with each landowner. Our goal is to close out the project as efficiently as possible and with minimal environmental disturbance.'”
On October 9, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted a request from the Mountain Valley Pipeline for a two-year extension of the project’s certificate to complete construction of the pipeline. The existing certificate was to expire October 13, 2020. Many organizations and individuals had opposed MVP’s request.
The vote was 2-1, with Commissioner Glick dissenting. Read the FERC decision here. Note especially the last two pages where Commissioner Glick registers his partial dissent, and delivers a scathing criticism of FERC for their decision to deny intervenor status to a number of landowners who had not been formal intervenors in the original Certificate process, but who had attempted to intervene in the time extension request proceeding.
Glick writes, “Time and time again, landowners do their very best to navigate the complexity of FERC proceedings. And, time and time again, the Commission relies on technicalities to prevent them from even having the opportunity to vindicate their interests. When it comes to protecting landowner interests, we should look at what the Commission does, not what it says. With that in mind, today’s order tells you everything need to know about how much the Commission cares about landowners.”
Glick’s dissent indicates the “care” landowners may expect in upcoming ACP extension decision. ACP’s original Certificate of Public Convenience and Need expires on Oct. 13, 2020. That means they can do nothing after that date – including cleaning up the mess they made on many people’s properties. So, ACP asked for a one-year extension to complete necessary “stand down” activities, remove pipe that has been staged but not buried, stabilize and restore the abandoned construction sites, etc.
Many organizations (including Friends of Nelson), the lawyers from SELC, and many individuals submitted comments to FERC this summer requesting that certain conditions be met as part of the process of such an extension being granted. A couple of notable conditions were 1) that all landowners be released from the easement agreements they signed and 2) that there be a formal opportunity for landowners and other stakeholders to submit further comments to FERC delineating exactly what kind of restoration or other things are needed to restore impacted lands and make impacted property owners “whole” so that those needs could be taken into account in whatever orders FERC gives to ACP as the “stand down” process begins.
We expect to hear FERC’s decision about the extension — and thus on whether they will require conditions that would help landowners — any day now.
From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update #290, August 27, 2020
The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for an extension of time of “an additional two years, or until October 13, 2022, to complete construction of the Project and place the Project facilities into service.” FERC issued on August 27 an official notice of a comment period for the public to have input on the MVP request, the deadline for which is Friday, September 11, 2020.
You are strongly urged to file comments with FERC by 5 pm, Friday, September 11 in opposition to the extension of the certificate for the MVP. Regarding filing comments, the FERC Notice states: The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “e-File” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically may mail similar pleadings to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20426. Hand delivered submissions in docketed proceedings should be delivered to Health and Human Services, 12225 Wilkins Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20852.
For further information and details of the MVP request, see the ABRA article, MVP Asks FERC for Two More Years to Construct Pipeline.
From Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance’s ABRA Update 232, August 13, 2020
U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-V) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced legislation on August 6 to strengthen the public’s ability to evaluate the impacts of natural gas pipelines being considered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. S. 4502 would make it easier for the public to offer input and clarify the circumstances under which eminent domain should and should not be used.
Among other guidelines, the bill requires public comment meetings to be held in every locality through which a pipeline would pass, at every stage of the review process, in order to minimize situations where individuals are forced to commute long distances with very little time to comment. It also strengthens landowners’ rights by improving the processes in which landowners are notified of a pipeline application and bolstering their ability to intervene to ensure any concerns about their property are given fair consideration and compensation.
The bill builds upon an earlier version of legislation the Senators introduced in the last Congress. More info here.