December 2017 News

December 2017

12-30-17 Daily Progress. Letter to editor: Do right thing on pipeline. “But something else needs to be pointed out: The successful candidates who ousted incumbents were all but unanimously opposed to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, as was Lt. Gov.-elect Justin Fairfax. So the election could just as well be seen as citizens casting a powerful anti-pipeline vote. Gov.-elect Ralph Northam reportedly ducked the pipeline issue out of concern for alienating union voters, who had been convinced by Dominion propaganda that the pipeline will boost employment (it won’t).

Perhaps now that he’s been elected, Northam will do his job and insist that the Department of Environmental Quality do its job, which is to require that the pipeline builders show that their environmental mitigations will work (they won’t). It might be too much to expect that Northam will reverse the outgoing governor’s pro-pipeline stance. But you never know. Now that the lieutenant governor and more members of the House of Delegates oppose the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, he has a real incentive to do the right thing.” For the pipeline to be built, the construction company may need to follow all legal and environmental requirements. It is likely that construction firms will have to cut costs on various parts in order to comply with most of the guidelines. Usually, in such situations, construction firms are in desperate need of consultants like Lincoln Frost, who are able to provide solutions that can help them to complete their work within government guidelines.

12-30-17 Lancaster Online. Pipeline’s been a sham from the beginning. “My blood is boiling after reading Bad vibrations in the Dec. 19 issue. The article details the noise problems for some residents of Manor Township caused by nonstop drilling under the Conestoga River for the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has ordered the pipeline builder to ‘look into ways to mitigate the situation.’ That’s fantastic. It is kind of like of ordering me to look into buying a Ferrari. It’s just not going to happen. FERC has the same problem that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission does. It is charged with regulating an industry while simultaneously promoting it. I have an idea for FERC: Do your job, and regulate this travesty. Order Williams to stop construction at night so these people can get some sleep. I honestly don’t expect Williams or FERC to do anything. The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline has been a sham from the beginning. We were told the natural gas would not be exported – it is all being exported. We were told the project would create high-paid, local jobs – it hasn’t. All the license plates on workers’ vehicles that I have seen are from out of state. We were told the project is about American energy independence – it’s not. It is all about who will pay the most for natural gas. Fifty years from now, when the natural gas runs out, residents in the Marcellus Shale are left with toxic groundwater and the pipeline is a useless hulk rotting underground, you can be sure none of the companies responsible for it will still be around. They will take their money and run. And the public that is left to deal with this mess? No one will care about them. They got fracked in more ways than one.”

12-30-17 Register-Herald [Beckley WV]. Letter to Editor: A pipeline near us soon? “Since 2014, there have been over 700 ‘incidents’ involving natural gas pipelines in America. Those incidents have caused 278 deaths and over $5 billion in damages. Eighty percent of these were reported by everyday citizens who observed something wrong.”

12-28-18 Farmville Herald. ACP yard to be discussed. “Members of the Cumberland County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Jan. 8 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss a temporary construction yard for materials to be used for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). According to a public notice from the cmomission the discussion will concern a conditional use permit (CUP) for a parcel of land on Salem Church road. The permit requests ‘allow(ing) borrowing and stockpiling of soil, gravel and sand, as well as utility opertaions,’ according to the public notice. ‘The intended use is a temporary yard for storage of equipment and material for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.” According to the notice, the request will cover 75 acres out of a 337-acre parcel. The property is zoned as Agricultural-2 and is not considered to be in a growth area in the county’s Comprehensive Plan, according to the notice.”

12-28-17 WDBJ7. Mountain Valley Pipeline pursues injunction in federal court. “A hearing in mid-January will determine if MVP can gain immediate access to the property of landowners who have refused to negotiate with the pipeline company. And opponents say the process is now moving so quickly, they do not have adequate time to protect their property rights. ‘Landowners are here at the court looking for justice,’ said pipeline opponent and Bent Mountain resident Roberta Bondurant. ‘And what we have always heard is that the wheels of justice turn slowly. Perhaps at the very least, they should turn a little bit more slowly here.’ Judge Elizabeth Dillon must still rule on the discovery motions that were argued Thursday [December 28, 2017]. The lawyers and landowners will return to the federal courthouse in two weeks.”

12-27-17 Nelson County Times. Keeping up the fight in the pipeline age of Nelson. An excellent review of the fight against the ACP in Nelson County, featuring Joyce Burton, Eleanor Amidon, and Deborah Kushner.

12-27-17 Nelson County Times. Pipeline architects with project since inception work through obstacles, criticism. “Brittany Moody recalls the exact moment the Atlantic Coast Pipeline took over her life. Moody was on a break from a training session in Richmond in early 2014 when Leslie Hartz, Dominion Energy’s vice president for engineering and construction, approached her to ask: ‘Hey, I’m gonna need you to route a pipeline. How long do you think it’ll take you to complete it?’ Moody, manager of engineering projects for Dominion, answered without hesitation. ‘I’m thinking it’ll be just like every other pipeline I’ve done [and responded], “I’ll have it done in a week,”‘ she said. In the days that followed, though, Moody began to learn more details about the project, which would become the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. ‘Later I started getting the details and it’s a 500-mile pipeline, and I’m like, “Oh shoot, I’ve got to get it done in a week,”‘ Moody said. So she and Dominion construction manager Greg Park, the two appointed to lead the design of the route from start to finish, set to work. About a week later, after hours in front of computers analyzing thousands of miles in West Virginia, Virginia – including the 27 miles of Nelson County that are currently included in the route – and North Carolina, the first iteration of the natural gas pipeline’s route was born.” [We’ve always said the proposed route reflects massive ignorance of all aspects of the terrain it crosses, and now we know why: it was designed in just a week!]

12-27-17 Washington Examiner. FERC pipeline review stokes divide between environmental groups. “A new federal review of pipeline approvals could set up a fight between environmental groups, with some calling the review a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ while questioning the praise of other green groups as ‘sick’ and troubling. Environmental activists say the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s recently announced review of its pipeline approval policy marks the next step in the Trump administration’s ‘dirty energy agenda,’ while other groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council said they were encouraged by the review.”

12-26-17 News Virginian. Opinion: It’s not too late – join the fight against pipeline. “The Atlantic Coast pipeline, as well as the Mountain Valley pipeline, is not needed to keep our lights on. We know we are not getting the gas; we are not getting the jobs or any of the so-called benefits of a natural gas pipeline. We are getting only the negatives. People standing united against government corruption, the abuse of eminent domain and the overreaching power a private for-profit corporation is the only way we will stop the pipeline. We the people can only count on each other to stand up and do the right thing, and right now our neighbors need you to stand with them as they face this massive threat to their land, homes, and lives. Affected landowners need everyone to help them stand up to the powerful Dominion and all of their friends in Richmond and DC that give them unyielding power and strength, all of them financially benefiting from their mutually beneficial relationship. What side are you on?”

12-26-17 WVTF. Two Pipelines, Two Different Decisions. “A group of landowners, local businesses and elected officials is crying foul at the way the rulings went, on two proposed natural gas pipelines for Virginia. The Water Control Board held off on a final decision on the Atlantic coast pipeline, pending further review. However, it OK’d a similar pipeline for southwestern Virginia. After Virginia’s State Water Control Board came to two different conclusions about two, proposed natural gas pipelines, the group filed a lawsuit asking a court to reconsider the decision.”

12-23-17 WV MetroNews. Shopping center developer at odds with pipeline developer. “A Nicholas County [WV] developer and convenience store company is among those objecting to the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s eminent domain claims. Paco Land says development of the pipeline route is going to mess up its own development plans.”

12-22-17 Richmond Times-Dispatch. After calls for campaign finance reform, Gov.-elect Ralph Northam takes corporate money for inauguration. “After calling for sweeping campaign finance reforms during last year’s Democratic primary, Gov.-elect Ralph Northam is accepting five-figure checks from some of Virginia’s biggest corporate donors to fund his inauguration. Dominion Energy, the state’s top public service corporation whose bankrolling of Virginia politics has made some lawmakers increasingly uneasy, contributed $50,000 to Northam’s inaugural committee earlier this month, the same amount the company has given to help celebrate the last four incoming governors.”

12-22-17 Triangle Business Journal. N.C. officials emphasize due diligence in Atlantic Coast Pipeline analysis. “While Atlantic Coast Pipeline officials are still bullish on their timeline for the 600-mile natural gas pipeline, North Carolina environmental regulators continue to sort through the paperwork. Michael Regan, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, said he wants to make sure the project gets a full review – and has directed his team to conduct due diligence required of a project of ACP’s magnitude. ‘We’re still going through our permit review process, so you know I could not say that, No. 1, we would be finished with the proper evaluation of all the permits required by the end of the year, let alone render judgement on the information we’re still getting in,’ he said. ‘We are continuing to evaluate the information that has come in for these permits, recognizing that all of the information for these permits has yet to be submitted.’ …. Regan said diligence can’t be understated – and that it’s not an either-or situation when it comes to the environment and business interests.”

12-22-17 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Atlantic Coast Pipeline wants to start cutting down trees. “Though it still lacks several key approvals, the Dominion Energy-led Atlantic Coast Pipeline project has asked federal regulators to allow workers to begin cutting down trees along some portions of the 600-mile route in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Dominion made the request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week. Opponents are urging the commission to reject it, noting that permits for the project are missing or unfinished, as are effective water quality certifications from Virginia and North Carolina and stormwater plan approval from West Virginia. Requests for reconsideration and stays by FERC are likewise still pending, among other objections raised in a filing submitted by the Southern Environmental Law Center in Charlottesville on behalf of more than a dozen conservation groups. ‘At this point, it is unknown whether Atlantic will obtain all of the necessary approval and permits to move forward with its project,’ the document says. ‘The commission must reject Atlantic’s attempts to cut corners and pre-empt state authority by denying the company’s premature request.'”

12-21-17 The New Yorker. The Movement to Divest from Fossil Fuels Gains Momentum. “Tuesday should have been a day of unmitigated joy for America’s oil and gas executives. The new G.O.P. tax bill treats their companies with great tenderness, reducing even further their federal tax burden. And the bill gave them something else they’ve sought for decades: permission to go a-drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But, around four in the afternoon, something utterly unexpected began to happen. A news release went out from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, saying that New York was going to divest its vast pension-fund investments in fossil fuels. The state, Cuomo said, would be ‘ceasing all new investments in entities with significant fossil-fuel-related activities,’ and he would set up a committee with Thomas DiNapoli, the state comptroller, to figure out how to ‘decarbonize’ the existing portfolio. Cuomo’s office even provided a handy little Twitter meme of the type that activists often create: it showed three smoke-belching stacks and the legend ‘New York Is Divesting from Fossil Fuels.’ The pension fund under Albany’s control totals two hundred billion dollars, making it one of the twenty largest pools of money on Earth. Not to be outdone, half an hour later the comptroller of the city of New York, Scott Stringer, sent out a similar statement: he, too, was now actively investigating methods for ‘ceasing additional investments in fossil fuels, divesting current holdings in fossil-fuel companies, and increasing investments in clean energy.’ Stringer’s pension funds add up to a hundred and ninety billion dollars-that’s in the top twenty, too.”

12-21-17 Power for the People. How Did Virginia Get So Far Behind on Energy Efficiency? “Dominion Energy ranks 50th in energy efficiency among the 51 largest electric utilities in the nation (ACEEE). Virginia has captured only 2% of its efficiency potential (EPRI). Robust energy efficiency policy in VA could increase employment by 38,000 jobs by 2030 (DMME Energy Plan 2014). VA’s residential electricity bills ranked 10th highest in the U.S in 2015, commercial bills ranked 13th highest (U.S. Energy Information Administration). In the past year, numerous reports from research institutes, industry think tanks, and government entities have exposed Virginia’s poor energy efficiency performance. Considering the clear economic and environmental benefits that energy efficiency provides to Virginia’s businesses and residents, and in light of Virginia’s untapped energy efficiency potential, electric utilities should prioritize meeting demand through improving energy efficiency rather than building new expensive power plants.”

12-21-17 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Chairman: FERC to review pipeline permitting process. “The new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says the agency will review its policies, unchanged for nearly two decades, for certifying natural gas pipelines, projects that have sparked contention from North Dakota to Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia, where the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines are advancing toward construction. Kevin J. McIntyre said in a statement Thursday that the format and scope of the planned review of the 1999 Policy Statement on Certification of New Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Facilities is still being discussed, though he described it as part of a pledge he made during his U.S. Senate confirmation hearings to ‘take a fresh look at all aspects of the agency’s work. I believe we in the government should constantly be examining our various processes and procedures to see if we can do anything better,’ said McIntyre, who was confirmed by the Senate in November. ‘Much has changed in the energy world since 1999, and it is incumbent upon us to take another look at the way in which we assess the value and the viability of our pipeline applications.'”

12-21-17 Utility Dive. New FERC chair wants to make agency more transparent. “Kevin McIntyre, the new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, was sworn in this month and just told Open Access, the commission’s podcast, his goals include making the agency more transparent. …. ‘As a matter of good governance, I would like to see us move in the direction of making FERC more transparent,’ he said. ‘As a practitioner, I know first hand what it’s like to wonder when on earth the commission is going to make a decision on a given matter. I think we owe it to stakeholders and the public itself to be as transparent as we can possibly be.'”

12-19-17 Lancaster Online. ‘It’s just constant’: Atlantic Sunrise pipeline company ordered to fix noise, lighting problems in Manor Twp. “Since Nov. 28, residents of about 10 homes near Safe Harbor have had an unwelcome front-row seat to a six-day-a-week, all-night unusual work zone: near-constant drilling under the Conestoga River as part of the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline. Drilling on a lesser scale began in early October. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told LNP on Monday that after resident complaints, a FERC compliance monitor in the last few days confirmed there are indeed noise and lighting problems. The pipeline builder has been ordered to “look into ways to mitigate the situation so the public will not be inconvenienced,” said Tamara Young-Allen, a FERC spokeswoman. Seventy decibels is akin to the sound of a vacuum cleaner. ‘We’re sorry for the inconvenience.’ …. As a result of residents’ complaints, Williams told FERC last week in its weekly summary of pipeline construction that it was investigating new ways to address noise levels at the site, including paying homeowners for the disturbances and offering to relocate them until the drilling is finished. The company said it had installed a sound wall and baffles on equipment on Oct. 24. Two noise readings by the company taken on Dec. 9 were below the 55-decibel action reading, but one from the front door of a home on Witmer Road was 70.2 decibels. …. Pans on the kitchen wall tap each other and rattle from vibrations given off by the drilling under the earth…. All the residents interviewed complained that no one ever approached them to inform them of the impending drilling or what to expect. ‘No one has ever come over here to say here’s what we’re doing. There’s no transparency….’ Residents said they have complained to Williams, Manor Township officials, FERC and a state legislator, but without noticeable results. Ryan Strohecker, Manor Township manager, said he checked the township noise ordinance and found that utilities are exempt. He said jurisdiction with the drilling lies with FERC and the pipeline builder.”

12-18-17 Blue Virginia. Dominion Sues to Condemn Ralph Northam’s Family Farm to Build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Everything but the Ralph Northam part is true – but less well known and less powerful Virginians are not so lucky. “Dominion, the main company behind the ACP, is not deterred by the fact that the Virginia State Water Control Board just refused to issue a permit to start construction until further studies are completed. Nor is Dominion deterred by the fact that three of the seven members of the Board voted outright to kill the project – meaning one more no vote in the future, which is very possible, would stop the pipeline in its tracks. These facts did not prevent Dominion from ruining the holiday season of many Virginians.” The article goes on to describe how Dominion has begun the process to take land for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline by asking a federal court to allow it to use eminent domain for certain properties along the proposed route. Some of the affected landowners first learned of the suits against them from news reports.

12-18-17 Roanoke Times. Second court challenge filed over water quality certification for Mountain Valley Pipeline. “A group of landowners, conservation groups and a member of the Virginia House of Delegates brought a court challenge Monday to a state board’s finding that a natural gas pipeline would pose no danger to the streams and creeks that lie in its path. The petition for review, filed in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, marks the second time the State Water Control Board has been sued over its Dec. 7 decision to issue a water quality certification for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, is listed as the first of 16 petitioners who contend the board lacked adequate information on which to find a ‘reasonable assurance’ that the 303-mile long buried pipeline would not contaminate the waters of Western Virginia. …. Shortly after the case was filed Monday, the court of appeals issued an order that consolidates it with the earlier challenge brought by the Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Wild Virginia.”

12-18-17 Morning Call [PA]. What happens when a pipeline is built in your backyard. “The caravan of noise and mayhem arrived a few days before Thanksgiving – several colossal excavators, a backhoe, a bunch of pickup trucks and an otherworldly saw that can slice through a huge tree like a knife through butter. It was ‘Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site,’ a book I read to my grandkids, sprung to life, writ large. …. It’s all very legal, of course, when the pipeline arsenal rolls in on the magic carpet of eminent domain, signed, sealed and delivered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. That fact doesn’t make it easier when survey flags are planted on your property like little grave markers, orange construction fencing goes up like symbolic barbed wire, and the awful symphony from the earth-ripping machines plays on, even in your dreams.”

12-17-17 Progress-Index [Petersburg VA]. The other side of the pipeline story. Commenting on a December 3 letter endorsing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Stacy Lovelace, a “chemical engineer with knowledge of the fracking process and a background in research” carefully and in detail refutes “misinformed statements” in the earlier letter by Mark Moore. He concludes, “Dr. Moore was right about one thing: the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be a “game-changer.” It will permanently change the game for farmers whose property will be unconstitutionally seized and their livelihoods all but destroyed. And through the well-documented environmental hazards related to fracked gas projects, it will permanently change the game for Virginia’s environment and water. The only “golden opportunity” presented by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is profit for corporate stakeholders at the expense of entire communities in the pipeline corridor and of ratepayers like you and me.”

12-16-17 The Morning Call. What happens when a pipeline is built in your backyard. “The caravan of noise and mayhem arrived a few days before Thanksgiving – several colossal excavators, a backhoe, a bunch of pickup trucks and an otherworldly saw that can slice through a huge tree like a knife through butter. It was ‘Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site,’ a book I read to my grandkids, sprung to life, writ large. …. It’s all very legal, of course, when the pipeline arsenal rolls in on the magic carpet of eminent domain, signed, sealed and delivered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. That fact doesn’t make it easier when survey flags are planted on your property like little grave markers, orange construction fencing goes up like symbolic barbed wire, and the awful symphony from the earth-ripping machines plays on, even in your dreams.”

12-16-17 The Oregonian. Blocking eminent domain for private gain: Guest opinion. “As landowners threatened by the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline we are elated at Sen. Jeff Merkley’s announcement that he will not support a project dependent on seizing private properties through eminent domain. Merkley’s shift comes as welcome news against this speculative venture already denied twice by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.” [Same issues, different state!]

12-15-17 World Pipelines. Atlantic Coast pipeline receives Virginia National Park approval. “According to a release from Dominion Energy yesterday, the National Park Service approved the pipeline’s construction, but there’s still numerous contingencies on the project. …. [T]he National Park Service has given authorisation for the construction and operation of the pipeline underneath the Blue Ridge Parkway.”

12-15-17 Facing South. Would the Atlantic Coast Pipeline be the job creator its TV ads claim? “Dominion bases the promise of lower rates on the ICF report’s finding of significant savings in the price of natural gas from the Dominion South supply hub that would serve the region with the ACP in operation as compared to the existing Transco regional hub. But AEC notes this price gap has been narrowing in recent years with new pipeline capacity added and may not be as great as the developers assumed, with Dominion itself now projecting a smaller differential. And there’s some evidence there might not be any cost savings at all: A report released in September by Oil Change International, the Sierra Club and Public Citizen found that higher pipeline transportation costs would mean gas delivered by the ACP would be 28 percent more expensive than Transco gas.”

12-14-17 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Northam announces Cabinet picks for Natural Resources, Agriculture and Forestry. “Gov.-elect Ralph Northam has named one of his former legislative aides, currently a senior adviser to a key congressional committee, as Virginia’s next secretary of natural resources, one of two Cabinet picks announced Thursday. The selection was also one watched closely by environmental groups who want a change of tack under the new administration on some major issues such as coal ash cleanup and the planned construction of a pair of natural gas pipelines through the state. Matt Strickler, currently a senior policy adviser to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources, will oversee six state agencies: the departments of Conservation and Recreation; Environmental Quality; Game and Inland Fisheries and Historic Resources; as well as the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Northam also appointed Bettina Ring, the current state forester, as secretary of agriculture and forestry. She will oversee three agencies: the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Forestry and the Virginia Racing Commission.”

12-14-17 WDBJ7. Mountain Valley Pipeline opponents plan to appeal federal court ruling. “Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline say they plan to appeal, following a setback this week in Roanoke federal court. A judge dismissed most of their constitutional challenge, but the landowners’ lawyer says the fight is just beginning. Roanoke Attorney Justin Lugar says he isn’t surprised, or deterred by a judge’s ruling earlier this week. ‘You always want to win at the first level of course,” Lugar told WDBJ7, “but difficult issues aren’t usually decided very easily.’ Landowners who live in the path of the proposed natural gas pipeline are challenging the process of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that allows the use of eminent domain for a project opponents argue is not a public use. And they will now take their case to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. …. Landowners involved in the lawsuit are likely to ask for an expedited review of their appeal, so the constitutional questions about the use of eminent domain can be settled before construction begins on the natural gas pipeline.”

12-14-17 Roanoke Times. FERC delays action on whether to reconsider approval of Mountain Valley Pipeline. “As opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline had predicted, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued what’s called a ‘tolling order.’ The order puts the project in a state of legal limbo – at least when it comes to challenging the commission’s Oct. 13 decision that there is sufficient public need for a 303-mile buried pipeline that would transport natural gas at high pressure through the Roanoke and New River valleys. Among other things, FERC’s decision allowed Mountain Valley to proceed with efforts to obtain access to land in the pipeline’s path, even if the property owners object, through the legal process of eminent domain. The tolling order would also allow construction to begin – assuming the pipeline developers obtain approval from a handful of other regulatory agencies that have yet to act – while preventing an appeal of the commission’s decision to a federal court.”

12-13-17 News Leader. Letter to Editor (by George Taylor): Lost property value just another form of Dominion theft. “On Thursday, November 23rd, John Bruce reported in The Recorder, Highland County’s newspaper, that ‘land values near Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline have dropped substantially in anticipation of construction next year.’ This was not supposed to happen. To the contrary, the public was assured by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the approval of the pipeline would not affect land values. In reality the Highland County Reassessment Office reports that property valuation may very well be affected. A dozen properties within half a mile of the proposed line are showing an average decline of 36% along Valley Center Road, the decline ranging from 10 to 67%. FERC maintains that because property owners are paid by Dominion for the rights to their property in perpetuity, that should, theoretically, compensate for their loss of assessed value. This is a dubious argument at best. Furthermore, it completely ignores the collateral cost to adjacent landowners who receive no compensation for the loss of value of their land. It is bad enough that Dominion can seize property by eminent domain. That this will cause economic hardship to countless neighboring landowners and local governments along the pipeline’s 500-mile route is a hidden form of theft, for which the corporation assumes no responsibility. Just because it is legal does not make it right.”

12-12-17 The Guardian. World Bank to end financial support for oil and gas extraction. “The World Bank will end its financial support for oil and gas extraction within the next two years in response to the growing threat posed by climate change. In a statement that delighted campaigners opposed to fossil fuels, the Bank used a conference in Paris to announce that it ‘will no longer finance upstream oil and gas’ after 2019. The Bank ceased lending for coal-fired power stations in 2010 but has been under pressure from lobby groups also to halt the $1bn ( £750m) a year it has been lending for oil and gas in developing countries. The Bank said it saw the need to change the way it was operating in a ‘rapidly changing world,’ adding that it was on course to have 28% of its lending going to climate action by 2020. At present, 1-2% of the Bank’s $280bn portfolio is accounted for by oil and gas projects.”

12-12-17 Roanoke Times. Judge narrows lawsuit over efforts to take private land for Mountain Valley Pipeline. “A federal judge says her courtroom is not the place to determine whether the taking of private property for the Mountain Valley Pipeline amounts to what a lawsuit called a ‘government-sanctioned land grab.’ U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Dillon dismissed part of a lawsuit filed by landowners in the pipeline’s path. The landowners had claimed that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the project was an unconstitutional overreach that gave Mountain Valley authority to use land it does not own through the controversial process of eminent domain. That challenge was made ‘in the wrong court at the wrong time,’ Dillon wrote in an opinion issued Monday. Although she dismissed FERC from the case, Dillon kept alive a second part of the lawsuit that calls into question the manner in which Mountain Valley has attempted to obtain easements for its natural gas pipeline to pass through the land of objecting property owners. Mountain Valley’s surveys of parcels along the route without permission from the owners represent an unlawful “taking” of the land with no compensation, the lawsuit claimed. Dillon said she will hear additional arguments on that assertion.”

12-12-17 Washington Post. Virginia agency takes unexpected step that could delay gas pipeline project. “Opponents of a natural gas pipeline planned across some of Virginia’s wildest terrain declared a partial victory Tuesday when a state panel delayed enacting water permits for the controversial project. The State Water Control Board approved permits for the $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is backed by Dominion Energy, but took the unusual step of delaying the effective date until several environmental impact reports are completed. The action came unexpectedly after a day and a half of tension-filled hearings, leaving supporters and opponents alike scrambling to determine exactly what had happened. The bottom line seemed to be that the project is at least temporarily on hold. ‘They cannot start construction until the final erosion and sediment control plans are approved,’ state Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Bill Hayden said.”

12-12-17 WVTF. Both Sides Claim Cautious Victory on Key Regulatory Hurdle for Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Anti-pipeline protesters were vocal through two days of public hearings on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. But when a vote finally came, there were no rounds of applause, no shouts of anger. Just confusion. The state water control board voted 4-3 Tuesday to approve the project. But that approval is contingent on getting more information from state regulators, effectively slowing down the permitting process for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. For opponents of the 600-mile natural gas pipeline, it wasn’t entirely clear whether the vote was a win or a loss.”

12-12-17 NBC29. Dominion Energy Arguing to Use Eminent Domain for Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Dominion Energy is beginning the process to take land to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. The energy company is asking the federal court to allow it to use eminent domain to get dozens of acres of land along the path of the proposed natural gas pipeline. This comes as the Virginia Water Control Board voted 4-3 to conditionally approve a permit for the pipeline project. Some of the affected landowners are just learning about the lawsuits filed against them in federal court.”

12-11-17 WVTF. Protesters Send McAuliffe Packing. Governor McAuliffe was in Waynesboro to take a bow for the settlement with DuPont – a company that allowed mercury to pollute the South River in Waynesboro. “McAuliffe listed a number of projects to be funded by the DuPont settlement: Land preservation and restoration along the South River, water quality improvement, construction of a branch of the state’s natural history museum in Waynesboro. In situations like this, it’s been McAuliffe’s custom to meet with local media afterward, but when he left the building about a dozen protesters had already gathered. ‘Save our water! No pipeline! No pipeline,’ they shouted. Faced with a controversy, McAuliffe ducked into his SUV and sped away, leaving Jennifer Lewis – President of the anti-pipeline group Friends of Augusta, to complain. ‘I’ve never been pushed away by his security before, so that’s a new one,’ she said. ‘It’s hard to sit here and listen to him boast about all the hard work he’s done to protect our environment, save our water when he’s allowing these natural gas pipelines to run through our mountains and our streams. It took them 40 years to get this deal of $50 million for contamination of mercury. What happens when a pipeline comes through and ruins our streams? Are we going to have to wait 40 years for compensation from Dominion for that?’

12-11-17 Roanoke Times. Lopez and Rasoul: Pipeline not worth cost to Virginians. “In the end, there have been multiple unchallenged studies documenting how little the market wants this pipeline. In contrast, there has been no study performed as to whether the pipeline is necessary to keep customers’ lights on. Even Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur concluded that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was not in the public interest in a forceful dissent to the project. Those are the facts. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will cost billions of dollars to build with the expectation that these costs will be passed along to Virginia customers regardless of how much they use it. And once it’s built, the pipeline will not save us any money. Virginia’s energy customers get nothing out of this deal except condemned land, the threat of contaminated rivers and streams, and climbing energy bills. Virginians deserve better.”

12-10-17 News Leader. Remnants and reminders of Augusta County’s early immigrants under threat. “The grey and green lichen and moss-covered walls of stone meander through the forest like silent sentinels of history. Long ago, settlers on the western slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Augusta County, and on the eastern slopes in Nelson, lived proud and independent lives on their subsistence farms. These stone walls were an integral part of their daily farming activities. …. There is no doubt that the walls are cultural remnants from the Ulster Scots who settled the land in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. …. The only threat today to these walls is a natural gas pipeline. To date, Dominion will not acknowledge the need to avoid these walls during their construction activities. Should Dominion build its pipeline through these walls, there is no mitigation that can restore what those artisans created centuries ago. If the destruction of these walls worries you, please write to Julie Langan, Virginia Department of Historic Resources Director, 2801 Kensington Ave., Richmond, VA 23221. Express your concern over the potential loss of these important resources and suggest that the pipeline route be moved to protect the historic stone walls of Augusta County.”

12-9-17 NBC29. Atlantic Coast Pipeline Signs Agreements with 4 Leading Construction Trade Unions. “Dominion Energy Press Release: Richmond, Va. – Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC announced today it has signed Project Labor Agreements with the nation’s four leading building and construction trade unions. The agreements reaffirm the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project’s commitment to hiring skilled union workers for the pipeline’s construction. The agreements were signed with the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), Teamsters National Pipeline (Teamsters), International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States (United Association).”

12-9-17 WHMI [Livingston County, Michigan]. FERC Affirms Denial of Blanket Construction Certificate For Rover Pipeline. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is standing by its decision to deny a pipeline company’s request for a blanket construction certificate. In February, FERC issued a certificate authorizing Rover Pipeline LLC, to construct and operate approximately 510 miles of new pipeline and related facilities from the Appalachian supply area to an interconnection in Livingston County. However, FERC denied Rover’s request for a blanket construction certificate to perform certain routine construction activities and operations. In explaining their reason for denial, FERC stated Rover ‘could not be relied upon to comply with the environmental regulations required for all blanket certificate projects.’ FERC supported its decision in light of an incident in which historic properties were damaged by Rover during construction. Rover requested a rehearing, but FERC upheld the denial last week, making the conclusion that Rover intended to circumvent the National Historic Preservation Act by choosing to demolish a historic building. Additionally, FERC says pipeline companies have an ‘ongoing obligation to supplement certificate applications with relevant information and provide documentation of consultations with the State Historic Preservation Office,’ but stated that Rover did neither. See FERC’s letter denying the rehearing here.

12-8-17 Washington Post. Environmental groups file suit in federal court against gas pipeline. “A coalition of environmental groups filed suit Friday to try to block the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline planned for the southwestern portion of Virginia that cleared the last regulatory hurdle and won state water permits Thursday. Appalachian Mountain Advocates filed the suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, seeking a review of the permits issued by the State Water Control Board.”

12-8-17 Richmond Times Dispatch. Meeting in Henrico erupts after Virginia state board issues approval of Mountain Valley Pipeline. “Police cleared the audience from a Henrico County community center auditorium Thursday afternoon after a state board’s approval of a water-quality certification for the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline triggered an eruption of shouts and profanity.”

12-7-17 Bold Alliance (press release). Bold Alliance, Virginia Landowners Vow to Continue Fight Against Mountain Valley Pipeline After Water Control Board Issues Permit. “Virginia landowners, Bold Alliance and other advocates on Thursday vowed to continue the fight against the Mountain Valley Pipeline, despite the Virginia State Water Control Board’s issuance of a permit for the proposed fracked gas pipeline project. ‘Today, the state of Virginia ignored science and the citizens of our state; the State Water Control Board chose corporate interests over the people of the commonwealth,’ said Carolyn Reilly, regional organizer with Bold Alliance. ‘As an impacted landowner and a citizen, I feel betrayed and wronged by this decision. But, our fight will continue to protect land, water and people from this risky, fracked-gas pipeline.'”

12-7-17 Washington Post. Virginia water board approves Mountain Valley Pipeline, angering opponents. “Protesters shouted “shame!” Thursday as the State Water Control Board voted 5 to 2 to approve permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, one of two controversial natural gas pipelines proposed for rural parts of the state. The action is the last major regulatory hurdle for the project, which is backed by a consortium of companies led by EQT Midstream Partners. The other major natural gas project – the larger Atlantic Coast Pipeline – faces the same review Monday and Tuesday.”

12-7-17 WHSV3. Virginia water board certifies proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. “Virginia’s Water Control Board has issued a certification for a proposed natural gas pipeline that will run through six counties in the state. The board voted 5-2 Thursday to issue a water quality certification for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. At a public comment session Wednesday, most of the dozens of speakers expressed concerns about digging trenches for a 42-inch buried steel pipe to run along steep mountain slopes.”

12-6-17 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Pipeline opponents urge state board to to deny water quality permit ‘without prejudice.’ Can it do that? “Dozens of people urged the seven members of the State Water Control Board at an all-day meeting Wednesday to reject outright a proposed water quality certification necessary for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which will run from West Virginia through six Southwest Virginia counties. A smaller number of pipeline proponents called on the citizen board to endorse the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s conditions, intended to shield the more than 1,100 waterways the pipeline will cross. Construction produces sediment loads and entails blasting, trenching and drilling through streams and along some of the state’s steepest terrain. But others suggested a third option: Deny the certification “without prejudice” and invite the pipeline developers and the DEQ to fix what critics contend has been an inadequate process to vet the potential water impacts of the MVP, led by EQT Midstream Partners, and another, longer natural gas pipeline project, the Dominion Energy-led Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Dominion’s pipeline faces the same approval process next week.”

12-6-17 MetroNews [WV] Landowners want dismissal of Mountain Valley Pipeline property case. “Property owners who are being sued by the Mountain Valley Pipeline have moved to have the federal case dismissed, saying the developers don’t have the proper authority. Eighteen landowners filed their motion to dismiss on Monday in U.S. District Court in Charleston. They contend Mountain Valley Pipeline can’t yet commence condemnation proceedings because its certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is conditional, ‘which means MVP still has to clear numerous administrative and regulatory hurdles before it can commence condemnation.’ The landowners also contend private entities cannot condemn private property unless they first demonstrate an ability to pay just compensation – and they say MVP hasn’t yet attempted to do that.”

12-6-17 Virginian-Pilot. West Virginia weighs permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “West Virginia environmental regulators Wednesday announced two public hearings on issuing a construction stormwater permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would carry natural gas southeast from the center of the state. …. West Virginia hearings are scheduled Dec. 18 at Buckhannon-Upshur High School in Buckhannon and Dec. 21 at Pocahontas County High School in Dunmore.”

12-6-17 MetroNews [WV] DEP again waives federal permitting authority for Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection will waive its option to tailor the state’s own requirements within a federal permit that’s specific to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Instead, West Virginia intends to rely on newly-updated, state-focused requirements in a nationwide U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit that is reissued every five years – as well as a state stormwater permit that regulators call unique compared to enforcement options in other states. ‘Combining the special conditions in the USACE Nationwide permit with the broader regulatory oversight in the West Virginia pipeline construction stormwater permit will provide for a level of inspection and enforcement on this large project that is not available in any surrounding state,’ DEP wrote in an announcement today. The agency made the same decision last month with the similar but separate Mountain Valley Pipeline and drew scrutiny from environmental groups who said waiving state-focused authority is unusual and an abdication of the state’s particular oversight role.”

12-6-17 Raleigh News & Observer. Atlantic Coast Pipeline blows another deadline as NC officials seek more info. “The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, already more than a year behind schedule, missed another deadline Wednesday when North Carolina regulators said they will not issue an environmental permit by Dec. 15 as had been expected. The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality sent the pipeline’s developers a request for more information on Monday, saying the request indefinitely suspends the Dec. 15 deadline to issue an air quality permit for a planned compressor station that will push the natural gas downstream through the underground pipeline. The date to issue a decision on the air quality permit will now depend on the promptness of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s responses and the amount of time it takes state officials to review the materials. The Department of Environmental Quality, part of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration, had previously submitted four rounds of questions seeking additional information from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s developers.”

12-6-17 Washington Examiner. Kevin McIntyre to be sworn in as FERC chairman Thursday, filling the commission. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday will swear in its fifth member and chairman, Republican Kevin McIntyre, giving the panel a full slate of commissioners just days before it is expected to rule on a controversial proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants.”

12-6-17 WVTF. State Water Board Will Get Final Say on Mountain Valley Pipeline. “The fate of a controversial pipeline is now in the hands of Virginia’s Water Control Board. The board heard final public comment on the Mountain Valley Pipeline Wednesday. If approved, it would carry natural gas through much of southwest Virginia. …. Delegate-Elect Chris Hurst spoke for his constituents in southwest Virginia who couldn’t make it to Richmond for the meeting. He asked the board to deny the water permit in order to gather more information. ‘Overwhelmingly the comments were in opposition to the certification,’ Hurst said to the board. ‘Don’t let the volume, the sheer magnitude of the volume, of comments not be taken into full account.'”

12-6-17 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Perriello and Laskey column: Building a pipeline to energy independence. “The choice facing our governor-elect and this General Assembly on the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley natural gas pipelines is instructive. Ratepayers will be on the hook for $6.8 billion in costs, while the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) guarantees a 14 percent return on the cost of investment regardless of how much energy is used here or how few jobs the pipelines create. These kinds of sweetheart deals choke out opportunities to grow jobs and local business, especially in rural areas hit hard in recent years by shifts in energy production. And people on both sides of the aisle get it: Opposition to the pipelines is bipartisan, and that doesn’t even include environmentalist concerns that spills and leaks are inevitable, as we saw recently with Keystone XL. This is a tremendous opportunity for the Northam administration to move Virginia forward. The governor-elect has spoken powerfully about how some rural communities and small towns were left behind as the state’s overall economy improved. A shift away from the current outdated, monopolized model to one that incentivizes local investment in energy production and energy efficiency could set the foundation for his entire rural economic development agenda.”

12-5-17 Blue Virginia. New Economic Analysis: Fracked-Gas Pipelines Could Lead to Billions More in Charges to Dominion Customers, No Job Growth in Virginia. A new economic analysis, just published by the Applied Economics Clinic at Tufts University has key findings that demolish all Dominions. claims about economic development and new jobs in an environmentally responsible way.

12-5-17 DeSmog. On Eve of Key Atlantic Coast Pipeline Decision, Here’s a Review of Dominion’s Ties to Decision-makers. Ahead of the key meetings of the Virginia Water Control Board, a regulatory agency within the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), “DeSmog is taking a look back at the many instances where the federal and state regulatory review processes for this pipeline were either potentially conflicted by Dominion’s involvement or somehow linked to the company.”

12-5-17 Huffington Post. Leaked PowerPoint Reveals The Gas Industry’s Playbook For Waging Pipeline Fights. The new Huffington Post article builds on the Washington Post’s November 29 article about the role of manufactured pro-energy front groups like Energy Sure and Your Energy Virginia, and includes additional examples of their promotional materials. For the gas industry, “it’s like, ‘We have to do something, we have to counter this narrative, or at least we have to muddy the waters and make it seem like there’s protests on both sides,’ said Josh Stanfield, executive director of the progressive group Activate Virginia, which has opposed pipelines.”

12-4-17 Triangle Business Journal. ACP has filed its first eminent domain action. “On Friday [December 1, 2017], ACP filed two suits to acquire North Carolina tracts through eminent domain, an action spokesman Aaron Ruby has called a last resort.” Additional coverage in the Fayetteville Observer.

12-4-17 Raleigh News & Observer. Editorial: Needed scrutiny of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will face many hurdles from gaining permits to burrowing through 600 miles of terrain from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina. But its biggest obstacle may be time. The project is already more than a year behind schedule and now faces further delays as it waits for environmental permits. The project’s backers don’t like it, but the delays are a helpful test. If the project is truly needed, time should make that clearer. If it’s not – as many argue – then time will reveal that as well. …. There’s no doubt North Carolina needs reliable sources of energy, but there is doubt about whether it needs a massive new pipeline carrying natural gas from fracking operations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Whether it does will become clearer as DEQ and the public has time to assess the environmental and economic impacts of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”

12-4-17 Public News Service. ‘The Art of the Self-Deal’ Study Looks at Pipelines’ Costs For Ratepayers. “A recent report finds huge planned gas pipelines could cost some ratepayers many times what they would otherwise pay. The Art of the Self-Deal looks at federal filings for four proposed lines. Kate Addleson, director of the Sierra Club in Virginia, said Dominion electric customers would pay 3.5 times more to fuel power plants with gas from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline than from current lines. She said the Mountain Valley Pipeline could cost Con Ed ratepayers $60 million extra per year. Addleson said federal rules allow energy companies to pass on the high cost of the new lines plus a hefty profit if they say the system of current pipelines is too small to meet demand. ‘The truth is that it’s just not. The existing pipelines are not currently being used to capacity,’ Addleson said. ‘These companies can create the illusion of demand by selling the pipeline’s capacity to their own subsidiaries.’

12-3-17 N.J. environmentalists use new legal strategy to fight pipelines. “Garden State environmental advocates think they’ve found a way to stop pipeline companies from acquiring the land they need in the first place, and a pipeline project in New Jersey may serve as the legal battleground. The New Jersey Conservation Foundation has sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the grounds that the agency’s use of eminent domain to take over land for the construction of interstate natural gas pipelines is often unconstitutional. (The NJCF is represented by the Eastern Environmental Law Center and the Columbia University Environmental Law Clinic.) The lawsuit, filed in federal court in November, cites the Fifth Amendment requirement that any eminent domain action be made for ‘public use.’ Environmentalists claim that FERC has consistently failed to prove that pipeline projects are necessary, and thus, the eminent domain land seizures further private profits rather than the public good. ‘We’ve taken this action because it’s become abundantly clear that the way that [FERC] is approaching their review of proposed pipelines really is at odds with the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution,’ said Tom Gilbert, a campaign director for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation.” The lawsuit could have national impact.

12-2-17 Virginian-Pilot. Would the Atlantic Coast Pipeline increase the threat of sea level rise in Hampton Roads? “[I]n keeping with this column’s theme, let’s look at the pipeline’s potential impact on the coastal environment – specifically, whether it might exacerbate the threat to Hampton Roads from sea level rise. …. As with so many other pipeline-related issues, the question of climate change impacts likely is headed for the courts.”

12-2-17 Blue Virginia. Video, Photos, Statement From the #WaterIsLife Rally in Richmond Today. “I’ll post more later, but for now here’s some great video and photos from today’s #WaterIsLife rally in Richmond against Dominion’s proposed fracked-gas pipeline monstrosities. Great job by CCAN, the Sierra Club of Virginia, Appalachian Voices, the many other environmental groups and everyone else involved in organizing today’s rally (see their press release below), and thanks to everyone who spoke, marched, etc. The bottom line is we have to keep fighting, no matter what the odds against us…the cause (protecting our planet from fossil fuel interests’ destruction) is very much worth it!”

12-2-17 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Hundreds of anti-pipeline protesters from around Virginia rally on Capitol Square ahead of Water Control Board hearings. “Protesters who oppose the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines walked around Capitol Square in Richmond on Saturday. The State Water Control Board is set to begin hearings on the pipelines this week. A rally opposing the construction of two major natural gas pipelines in Virginia drew hundreds of people from across the state to Capitol Square on Saturday ahead of key regulatory hearings set to begin this week. Among them were one state delegate and two delegates-elect, one of whom said he will pursue legislation during the coming General Assembly session to push for a more rigorous state review.”

12-1-17 DeSmog. Virginia Won’t Say Whether its Official Spoke at Gas Industry Panel on Curbing Pipeline Protesters. “A high-ranking Virginia state official was listed as participating in a gas industry-sponsored panel that discussed strategies for confronting public opposition to new infrastructure projects, including the Atlantic Coast pipeline. Yet Governor Terry McAuliffe’s administration has refused to provide any explanation or even confirm the official’s appearance on the panel. The panel took place during the American Gas Association’s (AGA) State Affairs Meeting, held in early October this year in Scottsdale, Arizona. Also presenting on the panel was a Dominion Energy executive, Bruce McKay, who shared his company’s experience in countering protests and engaging in what he called a political ‘campaign to elect a pipeline.’ McKay, Dominion Energy’s policy director, provided tips on ‘siting fossil fuel infrastructure in the age of “keep it in the ground.”‘ The panel on which he spoke, titled ‘Heard it Through the Pipeline: Proactive Strategies for Securing Infrastructure,’ was first reported by the Washington Post. DeSmog now reports that another speaker listed on the same panel was none other than Virginia’s Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Hayes Framme. In recent years, Virginia has become a flashpoint for gas pipeline opposition, with activists and residents mobilizing against the Dominion-led plans for the Atlantic Coast pipeline. Documents from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) indicate that Framme was involved in agency discussions concerning the Atlantic Coast pipeline in the early stages of the project.”

12-1-17 Roanoke Times. Pipeline project wins approval to cross Jefferson National Forest. “The U.S. Forest Service gave a green light Friday for the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross federal forestland on its way through Western Virginia. The approval marks another milestone for the planned 303-mile buried pipeline and another setback for those who fear it will mar scenic views and inflict environmental damage along its path.”

12-1-17 Southeast Energy News. Critics highlight Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s environmental justice impact. “On September 15, 1982, high-profile protests over the siting of a toxic waste dump in Afton, North Carolina – an overwhelmingly African American town an hour northeast of Raleigh – set in motion a wave of reforms to prevent polluters from targeting people of color and the poor. Thirty-five years later, North Carolina advocates say the $5-billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline deserves its own place in the environmental-justice history books – a distinction they believe could be its undoing. ‘It deserves its own claim to shame,’ said Therese Vick, who has worked for the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League for 25 years. …. In all but one county along the pipeline’s 180-mile route in North Carolina, African Americans, Native Americans and those living in poverty make up a greater percentage of the population than the statewide average. More than a quarter of the state’s Native Americans live along the project’s path. Despite flagging 71 percent of the census tracts along the North Carolina pipeline route for ‘environmental justice concerns,’ federal regulators have given the project the green light – a move scores of groups are contesting.”

12-1-17 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Correspondent of the Day: We do not need these pipelines. “Virginians are fortunate to live in a state of such outstanding beauty. We have the Appalachian Mountains that were formed more than 1.2 billion years ago. It is of great concern to me that we are considering putting two pipelines through these ancient mountains. …. Two-thirds of our state’s water supply originates from mountain streams. Ninety small streams originate in the Shenandoah National Park and empty into the Shenandoah, Rappahannock, and James Rivers. Since 2010, more than 3,300 crude oil and natural gas pipelines have had leaks or ruptures in the U.S., killing 80 people and injuring 389 others. …. Independent studies show conclusively that demand for new gas-fired plants is unnecessary. Current infrastructure will meet existing demand through 2030. Renewable energy industries now employ more people than the fossil fuel industry – and demand is growing. So why are these pipelines being proposed? Virginians will receive no benefits from these pipelines but they do guarantee the developers a 15 percent rate of return on their investment.”