On September 2, 2020, the U.S. Forest Service (NFS) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule that would ease existing restrictions on oil and gas development in the National Forests. The action follows a September 2018 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR).
The NFS proposal, available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/09/01/2020-18518/oil-and-gas-resources, summarized the comments received on the ANPR, as follows:
- “Fifty-seven public comments included statements of general opposition, and twenty-three included statements of general support for the proposed rule. The remainder expressed neither opposition nor support.
- “Stated reasons for general opposition include the destruction of national forests and natural resources for financial or political interests; inadequate protection of human and environmental health; adverse impacts to recreation opportunities and tourism; and unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels.
- “Stated reasons for general support include the generation of revenue; large existing demands for oil and gas; decreases in regulatory burden on the oil and gas industry; promotion of domestic energy production; and creation of a simplified process leading to quicker leasing decisions and elimination of duplication with the Bureau of Land Management.”
Comments to the Forest Service on the proposed rule are due November 2, 2020.
We’ve killed the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, now it is time to kill the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Continue the fight! Join with some of the organizations fighting the MVP:
Two articles provide helpful background.
In his August 10, 2020 article, Despite company claims, only a fraction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline is complete in Virginia, Jonathan Sokolow writes, “”While substantial work appears to have been done in West Virginia, according to MVP’s own numbers they barely have gotten started in Virginia. The truth is that in Virginia MVP is less than 15 percent complete. That’s 15.75 miles complete in Virginia out of a total of 108 miles. …. It turns out MVP is, to be generous, manipulating numbers to create a false impression. It would be like a contractor telling you your new house is ‘almost complete’ because ‘most’ of the wood framing is ‘done’ even though you have no electricity, no water, no roof, no walls, no floors – and the contractor is missing multiple permits to do that work because they got sued in federal court – and lost.”
On September 2, 2020, a Virginia Mercury article points out that Despite rosy projections, all is not well with the Mountain Valley Pipeline. “Following the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline have not been shy about talking up their own project in the Appalachian region. However, behind the rosy pronouncements of late, all is far from well with the MVP. …. MVP has requested the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission grant an extension of its construction timeline until Oct. 13, 2022. The reality is that MVP is over two years behind schedule and $2 billion over budget. Given federal permit suspensions, a nearly year-long — and counting — project-wide Stop Work order, ongoing legal challenges and ballooning financial woes, MVP cannot forecast when, or if, the project will be finished.”
Friends of Nelson is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting to celebrate the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline!
Click the link below to join us on Sept 5th at 7pm
Topic: A Zoom Celebration!
Time: Sep 5, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 889 0761 6068
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Meeting ID: 889 0761 6068
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.
We are urging everyone — and especially impacted landowners — to file comments to FERC on the request that Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc. (DETI) submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on July 10, 2020, for an extension of time of
- one-year to address abandonment and restoration issues for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and
- two-years to complete construction of the Supply Header Project (SHP).
FERC has set a comment deadline of 5 p.m. Monday, August 3.
For details on how to comment, click here.
The major points that should be made in comments are:
1) – Landowners who entered into an easement agreement with Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (Atlantic) should be provided an opportunity to be released from those agreements as a condition of FERC’s granting Atlantic its requested extension so that the landowners can once again utilize their land without the restrictions such agreements placed upon future use. The recommendation for such a remedy made in the July 17 filing by a group of conservation organizations (cited below) should be adopted by FERC. “Requiring Atlantic to promptly contact all landowners where a right-of-way easement exists and inform them that
- (i) Atlantic will release the right-of-way easement within 90 days of a written request from an affected landowner,
- (ii) Atlantic will provide the affected landowner with the proposed written release of the right-of-way easement,
- (iii) Atlantic will pay the reasonable attorneys’ fees of the affected landowner in reviewing and negotiating changes to the proposed written release of the right-of-way easement, and
- (iv) Atlantic will file the final, executed written release of the right-of-way easement in the land records of the appropriate jurisdiction. Atlantic has already committed that landowners will keep the easement compensation they have received.”
For impacted landowners: Click here for additional information, including a comment template.
2) – The extension request for the ACP to address abandonment and restoration activities along the project’s right-of-way should not be granted without a public comment period of at least 30 days. It is in the Commission’s interest to know the concerns that the public and affected landowners have about restoration activities and impacts on landowners’ rights in the future.
FERC’s agreement with these first two items would be in keeping with the recently expressed interest by Chairman Chatterjee for the Commission to be more responsive and sensitive to the interests and concerns of landowners who are affected by projects being considered by the Commission.
3) – The SHP time extension should be denied because it has not and cannot be justified in accordance with FERC standards. The project was proposed as being dependent upon the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Dominion Energy clearly stated on the record that “the SHP does not have independent utility and would not be built without construction of the ACP.” If built, the SHP would be a pipeline to nowhere!
If you are interested in learning more about all of these issues, you can read more about them in the excellent and detailed comments that that SELC submitted to FERC.
Dominion has asked FERC for a two year extension on its expiring certificate to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. WITHOUT THE EXTENSION, NO ACP CONSTRUCTION COULD HAPPEN AFTER OCTOBER 13, 2020.
Submit your comments to FERC by 5 pm on Thursday, July 2, 2020, asking FERC to DENY Dominion’s request for an extension! Be sure to cite the ACP docket number in your comments, CP15-554.
In their June 17 Notice of Request for Extension of Time, FERC says, “The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and three copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20426.” Note that comments sent in paper must also arrive at FERC by 5 pm on July 2.
ABRA has put together a helpful sheet of information on how to file with FERC as an individual or as an organization.
For talking points, see:
The eight permits the ACP is still missing are explained here.