October 2017 News

October 2017

10-31-17 The Robesonian. Campaign launched to highlight benefits of pipeline. “A campaign featuring personal, local stories has been launched to promote the the construction of a 600-mile-long natural gas pipeline that would begin in West Virginia and end in Pembroke. EnergySure Coalition’s campaign in favor of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is designed to highlight ‘the significant economic and environmental benefits that this important infrastructure will bring to the state,’ according to a release issued by EnergySure. Local elected governmental officials also will speak about how families, business owners and communities will benefit from the pipeline. The campaign will feature television, radio, print and website advertising, along with messages on EnergySure’s social media channels, according to the release. EnergySure North Carolina is described on its website as a ‘group of businesses, organizations and individuals that is standing up for reliable energy in our state.’ … Not everyone agrees. The ACP has been the focus of numerous public forums during which the pipeline’s need was questioned. Many people also have expressed concerns about the pipeline’s effect on the residents of the areas through which it will pass and on the environment.”

10-30-17 Public Radio East. NCDEQ Requesting Different Stream Crossing Strategies For Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has requested modifications to the way the Atlantic Coast Pipeline crosses some streams in the state. The natural gas pipeline that runs through eight counties in North Carolina will cross 367 bodies of water. 53 of those streams have little to no flow, so open cut crossings were proposed. Workers dig a trench, pipe is laid from bank to bank and the area is filled and restored to its original state. Duke Energy spokesperson Tammie McGee says some of the crossings were impacted by the Department of Environmental Quality’s request to instead use dry ditch methods. ‘So only about 16 of the crossings will be materially impacted by switching to the drier method of construction, so that we see that everything is still scheduled so that we can begin construction by the end of the year.’ Workers will now build sandbag dams both upstream and downstream and divert the water during construction. McGee says she doesn’t expect the modifications will delay the timeline for the project, which is set to receive final approval in time to begin construction by the end of the year.”

10-30-17 Natural Gas Intelligencer. Atlantic Coast Pipeline to Have All State Permits by Mid-December, Dominion Says. “Dominion Energy Inc. expects to complete the permitting phase of its 600-mile, 1.5 Bcf/d Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) by mid-December, securing all necessary state approvals by that time despite pushback from project opponents, management said Monday. The controversial natural gas transmission project received a certificate earlier this month from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a rare split decision. With FERC’s approval in place, opposition groups have turned to the states recently to try to stall the pipeline, urging regulators in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina to withhold water quality permits for ACP. During a conference call Monday to discuss 3Q2017 results, Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell was asked about the scrutiny the project has received. Farrell described the state-permitting process for the pipeline as business as usual.”

10-29-17 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Environmental groups say Virginia State Water Control Board must deny pipeline water permits. “In a letter last week, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, along with the Southern Environmental Law Center and Appalachian Mountain Advocates, wrote that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s much-maligned decision to narrow its water-quality review for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines to ‘upland’ areas, among numerous other shortcomings, means the board lacks the information it needs to make a legally-defensible water-quality certification. ‘While it is the board’s decision whether to certify the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines under section 401 of the Clean Water Act, DEQ must provide the board with sufficient information to make that decision,’ the letter says. ‘DEQ has not done so. As a result, the board does not have the tools it needs to do its job and approval of water quality certifications for these proposed pipelines would be vulnerable to challenge in federal court.'”

10-29=17 Southside Daily. A company wants to put pipeline under water supply for Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Here’s what you should know. “Last week, [Norfolk] city council briefly discussed a public hearing slated for the evening’s formal session. In the eight or so minutes it was discussed, council members had several questions. The agenda item was described as ‘to accept bids for a long-term easement and temporary construction easements on City of Norfolk property’ – or, in simpler terms, a request to use lands currently owned by the city. The sole bid? The offer of $150,000 was more than double the city’s minimum. But the company, a partner of Dominion Energy, is one that’s been shrouded in controversy – Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC. … A lateral extension of the pipeline, splitting off of the main line near the Virginia-North Carolina border, would run 70 miles northeast, through Suffolk and into Chesapeake. It’s estimated to cost $5.1 million overall. The Norfolk-owned land in question? It’s located in Suffolk and includes the Lake Prince and Western Branch reservoirs – two of the largest sources of both Norfolk and Virginia Beach’s tap water. And the company? They want to install a 20-inch in diameter natural gas pipeline underneath the reservoirs – anywhere from 4 to 40 feet underneath them, according to Kristen Lentz, the city’s director of utilities.”

10-28-17 NBC29. Anti-Pipeline Group Hosts Tribunal In Wake of Pipeline Projects’ Approval. “Saturday, Anti-pipeline group Friends of Buckingham hosted a tribunal at Charlottesville’s CitySpace where more than 40 people spoke about what they see as the negative effects of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. This comes about a week after the Department of Environmental Quality ruled the pipeline to be safe. ‘Even though they say it’s a done deal, I say that it’s not a done deal,’ Ruby Laury, who lives near the proposed compressor station, said.”

10-27-17 Charleston Gazette-Mail. Justice urged to give WV DEP resources for complete review of pipelines. “Twenty citizen groups are urging Gov. Jim Justice to ensure that the state Department of Environmental Protection performs a complete review of the water quality impacts of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline and the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The coalition of groups, calling themselves the Appalachian Gas Working Group, delivered a letter to Justice’s office this week asking the governor to provide DEP staffers with ‘ample resources for the agency to do its due diligence to protect our water through’ reviews for Clean Water Act water quality certifications for the natural gas pipelines. They said that the state’s tourism industry ‘and the health of the state’s citizens depend on clean water.’ ‘West Virginians are counting on you to oversee DEP’s thorough review of these massive projects to ensure water quality will not be degraded,’ the groups said in their letter.

10-27-17 Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley sues landowners to gain pipeline easements through eminent domain. “Mountain Valley Pipeline filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday in Roanoke against hundreds of landowners in Virginia to initiate acquiring easements for the project across private properties through eminent domain. Both Maureen Brady, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, and Chuck Lollar, a Norfolk-based lawyer who specializes in eminent domain, said filing suit against multiple landowners and properties at once is standard procedure for similar projects. Lollar said one reason to file condemnation proceedings against hundreds of landowners at once ‘is to seek one court order granting entry to begin construction, applicable to all property owners who have refused to sign easements, since they would be the remaining obstacle to commencement of construction of the pipeline.’ … The condemnation action targets properties where Mountain Valley has failed to negotiate with landowners an acceptable price for an easement. Many property owners opposed to the pipeline have refused even to enter such negotiations.”

10-27-17 Daily Progress. Opinion/Letter: Politicians failed to stand against pipeline. “On Oct. 13, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission committed a crime against humanity. That’s the day FERC issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity to the wannabe builders of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. FERC’s review board normally has five members, but the vote was just 2-1 because two seats remain unfilled. That’s right, approval for this highly contentious project was rammed through by exactly two people, which wouldn’t even constitute a majority if the commission were at full strength. … Meanwhile, it’s time to call out by name our politicians who, by their conspicuous silence, have aided and abetted Dominion Resources through this process. ‘Game of Thrones’ fans can only wish we had a ‘Walk of Shame’ here. If we did, these local misrepresentatives of districts on the pipeline route should be forced to walk it….”

10-27-17 Robesonian. NC asks again for more pipeline information. “State environmental regulators are seeking even more information from the builders of a 600-mile-long natural gas pipeline that would start in West Virginia and end in Pembroke. The N.C. Division of Water Resources on Thursday [October 26, 2017] issued a third letter to Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC requesting additional information as part of the company’s application for a state 401 water quality certification, according to Bridget Munger, N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Public Information officer. The state is requesting information about the pipeline builders’ methods for crossing small bodies of water.”

10-27-17 Triangle Business Journal. N.C. officials ask for ‘modifications’ on Atlantic Coast Pipeline plans. “State officials are asking Duke Energy and Dominion Energy to tweak their plans for the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. Late Thursday [October 26, 2017], Atlantic Coast Pipeline spokesman Aaron Ruby said the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality requested modifications to its plans to cross a small number of water bodies. Specifically, the request relates to the 401 water quality certification, which is required in order for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to move forward in North Carolina.”

10-27-17 Marcellus Drilling News. Mountain Valley Pipeline: “We Don’t See Any Major Obstacles”   “Yesterday EQT provided an update for both its drilling and midstream operations. On the midstream side, EQT had an interesting comment about it’s biggest project on the books–the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). MVP is a $3.5 billion, 303-mile natural gas pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final approval for the project two weeks ago (see FERC Approves Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley Pipeline Projects). However, the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) which had issued a federal water crossing permit for the project in March, withdrew the permit in September (see Trouble for Mountain Valley Pipe: WV DEP Withdraws Water Permit). The permit process has now restarted in WV. Committed radicals in Virginia are pressuring the state’s Dept. of Environmental Quality to reject the project (see 19 Radicals Arrested for Blocking DEQ Building in Richmond, Va.). Apparently the absence of permits in WV and VA isn’t bothering the brass at EQT because yesterday they said this about the project: ‘We don’t see any major obstacles’…”

10-25-17 Nelson County Times. Letter: It’s time to reform FERC. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve both the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipeline proposals highlights the need to reform this captured agency. FERC demonstrated once again that its primary purpose is to serve the industry it is supposed to regulate. Nobody with experience dealing with FERC was surprised by these approvals. Given the revolving door between FERC and the industries it is supposed to regulate, coupled with the fact that FERC’s operating budget comes from industry fees, what else could be expected? … In its handling of the ACP and MVP reviews, FERC carried out what many participants felt was a sham of public involvement. We were buried in paperwork, and key information was not offered for public review. Instead of building confidence through the review process, any confidence we may have had at the beginning was eroded.”

10-25-17 Progressive Pulse. Pipeline builders’ group starts “incident database” to track protests. “An organization that supplies the energy industry with equipment and machinery is tracking protests against oil and gas pipeline projects, including those that are peaceful demonstrations. Energy Builders lists 18 incidents over the past year in which protesters were arrested. Some of those incidents involved vandalism to heavy machinery and pipelines under construction, but those acts were limited to property damage. However, the organization makes no mention of the police violence against peaceful protesters. The group is also alleging the protesters are paid, although none of the news articles that the website links to substantiate that claim. … The tracker also lists a demonstration in Virginia against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline, both recently approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In that case, protesters peacefully blockaded the offices of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Police were also peaceful, according to the Roanoke Times, and a law enforcement spokeswoman was quoted as saying the demonstration was ‘an ideal peaceful protest.’ Energy Builders claims that it is a ‘grassroots coalition of workers, local businesses, civic leaders, unions and American families.’ However, Energy Builders does not list its members on its website.It is a subsidiary of the nonprofit group Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance, also headed by Mack. The alliance’s federal tax returns show that it generated $500,000 in membership fees in fiscal year 2015. The cell phone number provided on the press release connects to the voicemail of Jonathan Toby Mack. He is president and CEO of Associated Equipment Distributors, an international trade association representing suppliers of heavy machinery and related services to the construction, mining and forestry industries in North America.”

10-25-17 S&P Global Platts. Natural gas pipeline groups call on US Army Corps to break permitting logjam. “Faced with repeated rejections of interstate natural gas pipelines in New York, a key industry trade group is hoping the US Army Corps of Engineers may be able to assist, as well as exploring whether to pursue Clean Water Act changes. … Industry hopes of further relief in court were dimmed earlier this month when the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals declined to rehear a decision upholding New York’s denial of Constitution. Northern Access’ pending 2nd Circuit appeal is slated for oral arguments November 16. … Adding to the industry’s challenges, environmental groups objecting to projects are increasingly turning to state water reviews as an avenue for litigation. On Wednesday, Appalachian Mountain Advocates and others wrote to Virginia’s State Water Control Board to say it cannot approve the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline projects at this time because it lacks adequate information from project sponsors and the Department of Environmental Quality about erosion and sediment controls and stormwater management.”

10-24-17 Roanoke Times. Roanoke County seeks rehearing on pipeline certification. “The Roanoke County Board of Supervisors is urging federal energy authorities to reopen their review of the Mountain Valley Pipeline project. In a resolution Tuesday, the county board said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s certification of the 303-mile natural gas pipeline plan was premature. Germane information had been ‘dismissed, disregarded, or insufficiently evaluated,’ leaving key concerns about environmental protection and quality-of-life preservation unresolved, it said. The county plans to use its status as an ‘intervenor’ party in the process to formally petition FERC for a rehearing of the pipeline’s certification application. Specifically, local leaders will seek a closer review of needed water quality protection measures, erosion and sediment control plans, and proposals to safeguard the historical and cultural resources found along the pipeline route.”

10-23-17 Bacon’s Rebellion. Is Dominion Eyeing a Big Move in South Carolina? “Santee Cooper, the state-owned electric utility in South Carolina that lost a bundle through nuclear power overruns, is thinking up putting itself up for sale. One of the four companies sniffing around, according to this report in The State, is Dominion Energy. Dominion has been beefing up its presence in South Carolina. Since 2014, says The State, the company ‘has announced plans for a major solar farm in the Lowcountry, built a gas pipeline southeast of Columbia, established a regional headquarters in the Capital City, donated to nonprofit groups and hired State House lobbyists.’ The company also has confirmed the possibility that it might extend the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to the Palmetto State, although any extension of the pipeline, which terminates in southern North Carolina, would require another lengthy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval process.” [Does Dominion want to extend the ACP to SC because VA and NC don’t have enough demand?]

10-23-17 Kallanish Energy. FERC approves continued commissioning at Cove Point. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has granted Dominion Energy approval to continue its commissioning activities at the $3.8 billion Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Maryland, Kallanish Energy reports. The latest approval, granted last week, covers introduction and commissioning activities involving mixed refrigerants and propane refrigeration systems, LNG piping to existing LNG tanks and permanent fuel gas piping, as well as supporting systems. It is unknown if propane supplies will be sourced from places like kellypropane.com at this moment in time. FERC asked subsidiary Dominion Cove Point LNG to file weekly reports to show the commissioning is progressing and the plant on Chesapeake Bay at Lusby, Md., can be safely operated. FERC’s latest action does not cover beginning service at the LNG liquefaction and export terminal. Dominion had reported last month the facility was 95% completed. It is expected to be in commercial operation by Dec. 31. It will handle up to 750 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus and Utica shales in the Appalachian Basin. The Cove Point plant’s marketed capacity is fully subscribed under 20-year service agreements with Japan’s Sumitomo and India’s GAIL Ltd.”

10-23-17 Augusts Free Press. Friends of Nelson: Pipeline would create 4,500-acre downzone area in Nelson County. “In a letter today addressed to the Nelson County Board of Supervisors, Friends of Nelson has asked that the board consider potential zoning and economic impacts from the possible construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. This week it has been revealed that that there is an ‘industry [effort] to create a “consultation planning zone” which extends 660 feet from the center of any high pressure natural gas pipeline.’ The purpose of the zone or corridor is to ‘restrict development’ within those parameters for the ‘lifetime of the pipeline.’ Both the industry and the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have recommended that county governments restrict development through actions by county governing bodies.” [See the full press release from Friends of Nelson]

10-22-17 DeSmog. GOP Senators, Fueled by Industry Cash, Propose Bill to Expedite Small Scale LNG Exports. “U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have introduced a bill to fast-track the regulatory process for the export of small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG). The bill, titled ‘Small Scale LNG Access Act,’ was introduced on October 18 and calls for amending the ‘Natural Gas Act to expedite approval of exports of small volumes of natural gas.’ The proposed legislation follows in the footsteps of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposed rule which would assume that all U.S. small-scale exports of LNG, with the gas mostly obtained via hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’), is in the “public interest” as defined by the Natural Gas Act. The public commenting period for the DOE’s proposed small-scale LNG rule ended on October 16, with 81 comments posted on Regulations.gov. DOE, alongside the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), oversees the regulatory process for LNG exports and the industry has long complained that the process is too onerous.”

10-21-17 West Virginia Press. Officials: Atlantic Coast Pipeline project to provide big boost to NCWV, all of West Virginia. An extremely one-sided report, describing pipeline approval as a win-win for everyone – without a single mention of opposition.

10-20-17 Riverkeeper. Circuit Court rejects Constitution Pipeline, again. “Yesterday marked a big legal victory for New York’s environment. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Constitution Pipeline’s motion for a rehearing, upholding the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denial of a Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification. … In April 2016, the DEC denied certification for the proposed pipeline, noting that the application failed to provide the necessary information for New York State to confirm that the project would comply with water quality standards. In May 2016, Constitution Pipeline, Co. sued to overturn the DEC’s decision to deny certification. Last year, the Court’s three judge panel dismissed the legal challenge.

10-20-17 Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley Pipeline still faces hurdles before construction. Note: This article is about the MVP, but almost all the hurdles mentioned also apply to the ACP. “The Mountain Valley Pipeline nailed a major milestone Oct. 13 by winning the blessing of a key federal agency. But the company can’t crank up the bulldozers yet. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s order certifying the $3.7 billion interstate project noted that other federal and state agencies must weigh in before construction can begin on the 42-inch diameter buried natural gas pipeline.”

10-19-17 Roanoke Times. Fraser: How oil and gas pipelines abuse private property owners. “It seems, with the passage of time, today’s pipeline operators and real estate moguls consider the courts business partners and have forgotten that their long-standing use of eminent domain is a public trust, not a private power. American governments, I presume, are still in the business of protecting individual private property rights. The public purpose once rendered by oil and gas corporations – and the basis for the delegation of the police power into corporate hands -has vanished. … Why should state and federal governments continue to empower pipeline operators to force private property owners, against their personal conscience and environmental concerns, to forfeit their land for a purpose that potentially puts the well-being of the Earth at risk? If taking of private property to encourage oil and gas development was once in the national interest that is no longer the case. Delegation of eminent domain powers to oil and gas corporations is no longer justified as a special form of corporate welfare but now violates a cardinal principle of American government – the protection of private property from government abuse.”

10-19-17 Oil Change International. Community Responses to FERC’s Terrible Pipeline Approvals. “Six days ago, in a Friday-evening news dump, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Certificates of Need and Necessity for the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines. Grassroots organizations across West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina were unanimous in their opposition to this cowardly act, but vowed to fight on even harder to stop these dangerous pipelines that threaten our land, air, water, climate, and sovereignty. Fortunately for pipeline fighters and water protectors, the fights against these two fracked gas pipelines is far from over. Here’s a selection of community voices responding to FERC’s terrible pipeline approvals of Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast’s certificates. Note: This list is by NO means exhaustive – there are millions of residents of these three states firmly opposed to these fracked gas pipelines, and millions more supporting them from around the globe. If you don’t see your community represented here or know of other reactions, please email collin@priceofoil.org to be added to this compilation.” What follows is an extensive list of groups opposing the pipelines, with brief descriptions of the group and quotes from their statements or press releases.

10-17-17 Wilson [NC] Times. Wilson County voices concern over Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Wilson County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday calling for Atlantic Coast Pipeline officials to be more transparent in their dealings with property owners and local government when it comes to development and safety issues. Commissioners expressed reservations on several issues related to the pipeline project and its officials Tuesday, including a ‘development dead zone’ in Wilson County, full and complete disclosures and transparency in project planners’ dealings with property owners and the pipeline’s quality of construction and safety. Commissioner say ACP officials failed to inform property owners or local government that there is an ‘industry [effort] to create a “consultation planning zone” which extends 660 feet from the center of any high pressure natural gas pipeline,’ according to the resolution. The purpose of the zone or corridor is to ‘restrict development’ within those parameters for the ‘lifetime of the pipeline,’ the resolution states. Property owners within that zone have not been offered compensation for restrictions placed on their property outside of the construction and permanent easements, commissioners said. They say these types of development restrictions will severely affect the value of land and property owned by county residents. That planning zone, according to the resolution, would create a ‘development dead zone’ 1,300 feet wide by 12 miles long running through the heart of western Wilson County. And that would lower property values and ‘adversely affect’ both residents and Wilson County as a whole, they said.”

10-17-17 Charleston Gazette-Mail. Court ruling highlights unanswered questions on Mountain Valley Pipeline. “A federal appeals court on Tuesday sent a key water quality permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline back to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for further review, in a move that highlights the significant questions that remain about the $3.7 billion project’s impacts and whether those impacts will be fully examined by state regulators. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the Clean Water Act water quality certification for the MVP to DEP Secretary Austin Caperton, whose lawyers last month had acknowledged – under pressure from a citizen group lawsuit – that the permit needed further evaluation. The DEP has not indicated how long its re-examination of the water quality certification might take or answered questions about exactly how the re-evaluation would work. The DEP also is re-examining a sediment control permit for construction of the 300-mile natural gas pipeline from Wetzel County, West Virginia, to Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Additional regulatory hurdles still exist for MVP in Virginia as well.”

10-17-17 Indy Week. FERC Approves Atlantic Coast Pipeline, But N.C. DEQ Can Stop it in its Tracks. “On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission took a decisive step in moving the project forward by granting the necessary federal approval for the pipeline. The decision was widely expected by critics, who say the agency routinely gives its blessing to infrastructure projects. … As the INDY reported last week, a recent investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found that FERC has rejected just two pipelines out of hundreds of proposals over the past three decades. ‘At best,’ the researchers concluded, ‘FERC officials superficially probe projects’ ramifications for the changing climate, despite persistent calls by the U.S. Environmental Agency for deeper analyses.’ FERC’s approval came down in a 2–1 decision and over the objections of Cheryl A. LaFleur, the only non-Trump appointee on the commission, who highlighted the project’s potential environmental impacts. … But FERC’s decision does not mean the pipeline is good to go. In order for developers to start building, the project needs to be approved the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and its West Virginia and Virginia counterparts, which must issue water-quality permits stipulating that the pipeline is in compliance with the Clean Water Act. Earlier this month, the DEQ surprised opponents when it made public a late September letter to the pipeline developers denying the necessary water-quality permit and inviting them to resubmit their application with additional information on the project’s impacts on streams and waterways. If the agency ultimately denies the permit, experts say the decision would deal a fatal blow to the project.”

10-17-17 Roanoke Times. Politicians react to FERC pipeline certifications. “U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine used the phrase'”very suspicious circumstances’ Monday to describe how a federal agency announced it had approved two deeply controversial natural gas pipelines that will burrow through different regions of Virginia. Kaine, a Democrat who was in Roanoke on Monday, observed that notices from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about the commission’s endorsement of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline were distributed after 7 p.m. Friday – timing clearly intended, he said, to inhibit news coverage going into the weekend. ‘When somebody puts something out at 7 o’clock Friday night, they’re trying to hide it,’ Kaine said. ‘That means they’re ashamed of their decision. Why would they be ashamed of it?’ He said the orders granting certificates of ‘public convenience and necessity’ to the multi-billion dollar projects were issued when there were only three commissioners on FERC’s five-person panel. ‘Clearly, they were trying to rush it without a full complement on the team,’ Kaine said, adding that he believes decisions of this magnitude ought to require the participation of all five commissioners. The senator noted too that a vigorous and “stinging” dissent by Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur was significant, partly because such dissents rarely occur on the commission, he said. LaFleur, a Democrat who has been a commissioner since 2010, wrote, ‘I cannot conclude that either of these projects as proposed is in the public interest.’ The two commissioners who voted to approve the pipelines are both Republicans appointed by President Donald Trump who recently joined the commission. Kaine said the timing of the public notice, the orders granted in an apparent hurry by two members of a three-person commission and LaFleur’s dissent all led him to conclude that ‘their reasoning is probably pretty weak.'”

10-17-17 Oil Change International. Trump stamps his mark on mid-Atlantic pipeline fights: time for McAuliffe & Cooper to take action. “There’s an entire episode of The West Wing devoted to the infamous practice of the Friday news dump. Early in the episode Donna quizzes Josh on the merits of ‘Take-out-the-Trash Day,’ and Josh highlights the benefits: the opportunity to dump multiple bad news stories onto editors with limited column space, so they don’t have the space to say much, and the fact that ‘no one reads the paper on Saturday.’ Last Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) took things a step further. They didn’t just dump bad news on a Friday, they did it after 7pm, when any self-respecting news editor (at least on the East Coast) is deep into Happy Hour. The bad news in question was the issuing of permits for two highly destructive and contested interstate gas projects, the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines. While issuing gas pipeline permits has come to be a rote routine at FERC, the approval of these permits were different. Nearly all FERC decisions are unanimous, but on Friday, only two of the three sitting commissioners voted to approve. A dissenting commissioner at FERC is so rare, it was clearly a candidate for Trash Day. Any White House role in the timing will probably never be clear, but the mark of Trump on these permits is as clear as day. The two ‘yes’ votes came from Trump appointees who have barely been in the job two months. The dissenting vote came from Cheryl LaFleur, a seven-year FERC veteran, former FERC Chairwoman, and Democratic Obama appointee. The fact that LaFleur has signed off on dozens of similar gas pipeline projects means she’s no friend to environmentalists, landowners, and communities along pipeline routes. But her ‘no’ votes this time around do say a lot about these two projects and the deeply flawed process by which they were certified. LaFleur’s dissent should also speak volumes to the Democratic governors who now have the power to decide the future of these two dangerous projects – Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, Roy Cooper of North Carolina. If McAuliffe – who has the authority to stop both pipelines – or Cooper – who can stop Atlantic Coast – allow either of these projects to run roughshod through their states, they will be standing side-by-side with the Trump administration’s dismantling of environmental protections, bulldozing of citizen protections, and science denial.

10-16-17 S&P Global. FERC faces pressure after its split on Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley projects. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hear calls for change in its review process for interstate natural gas pipelines after Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur expressed reservations about the way the commission determines the need for such projects, analysts said. … ClearView Energy Partners LLC managing director Christi Tezak said the decisions showed that FERC under Chatterjee will hear calls for the commission to integrate its reviews of economic need for the projects with its study of environmental impacts. ‘What you’re seeing, I think, is a lot more political pressure for FERC to have those concurrently instead of sequentially,’ Tezak said in an interview. ‘It’s been some time since we’ve seen dissent on a pipeline.’ Analysts at Height Securities LLC expected LaFleur’s comments on public need to feature prominently in future petitions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit opposing FERC approvals of gas pipeline projects. ‘Supply-led projects may find themselves faced with a higher bar to clear – demonstrating demand – and projects designed to serve similar markets may consider co-location as a way to reduce cumulative environmental harms,’ the analysts wrote in an Oct. 16 note to clients. The analysts’ view contrasted with the position of Chatterjee, who told reporters on the morning of Oct. 13, just before FERC issued the pipeline approval orders, that the commission had no plans to adjust its pipeline review process.”

10-16-17 Daily Progress. Land preservation board approves easements for pipeline. “A public land preservation organization in Virginia has approved easements that will allow two natural gas pipelines to be built in mountainous areas of the state. The Virginia Outdoors Foundation’s board of trustees approved 11 easements on Monday, the board said on its website. In exchange for crossing 53 acres of protected land, two pipeline developers will convey to the foundation 1,130 acres of substitute land in three counties.

10-16-17 News-Leader. The pipeline: What happens from here. “Getting the go-ahead from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) grants the pipeline developers the authority to use eminent domain to acquire property from landowners they can’t reach agreements with – but the project’s not a done deal yet. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) still must issue some key permits in order for the pipeline to be constructed on its planned route, which projects to cross more than 700 rivers and streams in Virginia. … Pressuring those state regulators not to issue the permits will be the focus moving forward for pipeline opponents on the ground here in Augusta County, said Jennifer Lewis, president and founder of the Friends of Augusta anti-pipeline group. They plan to go to upcoming DEQ public hearings to voice their concerns over the pipeline’s potential effect on Virginia water. ‘None of us are giving up and we’re going to keep fighting,’ she said. ‘I don’t think people understand the serious risk this project would have to our water.'”

10-16-17 Public News Service. Pipeline Critics Continue Opposition to ACP, MVP. “As expected, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has green-lighted two huge natural gas pipelines running through Virginia. But opponents say they’ll still try to stop them. Between them, the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines would run 900 miles and cost more than $8.5 billion. Rick Webb, coordinator of the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, said FERC almost never turns down gas pipeline projects. But his group will be asking state regulators and the U.S. Forest Service to stop the projects. And Webb says they’ll be going to court. ‘We expected this, FERC always approves pipelines,’ Webb siad. ‘The battle’s not over, there are a number of approvals that still have to be obtained, and a lot of errors have been made in the decision making.'”

10-15-17 Charleston Gazette-Mail. FERC sidesteps broader issues in approvals of pipelines. “In approving 900 miles of new natural gas pipelines through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, federal regulators rejected proposals that they conduct a broader examination of where those projects fit in a national energy policy and sidestepped some major questions about their long-term environmental effects. A split Federal Energy Regulatory Commission explained that the agency’s role and practice are not to examine groups of proposed projects in such a wholesale manner, but simply to separately review whatever individual applications industry submits. ‘We have explained that there is no commission plan, policy, or program for the development of natural gas infrastructure,’ FERC said in its order approving the Mountain Valley Pipeline. ‘Rather, the commission acts on individual applications filed by entities proposing to construct interstate natural gas pipelines.’ … FERC in both rulings explained that it would not, as some citizen groups had requested, conduct broad ‘programmatic’ environmental impact studies looking at a collection of pipelines proposed across the region as part of the boom in natural gas drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. ‘The commission is not engaged in regional planning,’ Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson said in rulings on both MVP and ACP. ‘Rather, the commission processes individual pipeline applications in carrying out its statutory responsibilities under the [Natural Gas Act].'” [Interesting that FERC is so up front about having no broad plan, no overall view, and no interest in how the pieces fit together. It is a good way to avoid dealing with anything that might slow down the fossil fuel industry.]

10-15-17 RTO Insider. FERC Chair: Court Ruling Won’t Change Pipeline Reviews. “A court ruling requiring FERC to consider the impact of greenhouse gas emissions won’t have a “significant” impact on the agency’s licensing of natural gas pipelines, Chairman Neil Chatterjee said Friday. On Aug. 23, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that FERC’s environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Southeast Market Pipelines Project should have included ‘reasonable forecasting’ of the project’s impact on GHG emissions. FERC had contended that the impact of the pipelines on GHG emissions was unknowable, dependent on variables including the operating decisions of individual plants and regional power demand. Ruling in a challenge by the Sierra Club, the court said FERC had failed to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. FERC ‘should have either given a quantitative estimate of the downstream greenhouse emissions that will result from burning the natural gas that the pipelines will transport or explained more specifically why it could not have done so,’ the court ruled. In a press conference Friday, Chatterjee said he didn’t ‘believe that [the court’s ruling] was going to significantly alter the way that we evaluate these projects.'”

10-13-17 Southeast Energy News. Experts: North Carolina’s actions on pipeline ‘not unusual’ so far. “In North Carolina, where more than 300 rivers and streams lie in the path of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has dealt the project two high-profile setbacks – delaying a decision over one crucial water quality permit, and temporarily rejecting another. Yet officials say these actions – both involving requests for more data from the pipeline – are not uncommon for a project of this scale, its 100-foot-wide construction berth stretching across eight counties along the state’s I-95 corridor.”

10-13-17 Washington Post. US regulators OK Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley pipelines. “A divided panel of federal regulators granted approvals Friday evening for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley natural gas pipelines, major East Coast projects. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authorization had been widely expected by both supporters and opponents of the pipelines. The certificates granted by the commission came with dozens of conditions, and other necessary permits for both projects are still pending.”

This story was covered by many other media outlets, including the
Charleston Gazette-Mail, Roanoke Times, Virginia Pilot, Daily Progress, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and NBC29.

10-13-17 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Dominion rules: How the Richmond-based utility company became one of the most influential political forces in Virginia, a special multi-part report.  Last month, in a decision that could allow the Richmond-based monopoly to reap an estimated $1 billion windfall, the Virginia Supreme Court confirmed that the General Assembly can constitutionally freeze electric rates. The series explores the utility’s transformation and political power – and what that means for the company’s 2.5 million customers.

10-10-17 WVVA. Pipeline preparations moving forward at Raleigh County [WV] staging base. “Construction crews continued to bring in miles of parts for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) to a Mount Hope [WV] staging site on Tuesday – another sign the company overseeing the project, EQT Midstream Partners, is confident it will get the green light. On Sept. 7, West Virginia’s Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) revoked its previous approval of the 300-mile, $3.5 billion pipeline that would transport fracked gas from West Virginia to Virginia, saying only that it needed to ‘reevaluate the complete application.’  As of October 10, a DEP spokesperson confirmed to WVVA News the agency is still weighing the application.”

10-10-17 Roanoke Times. Roanoke County seeks more comment time on Mountain Valley Pipeline effects. “The Roanoke County supervisors want more time for residents to respond to a report outlining potential environmental effects of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. The board passed a resolution Tuesday asking the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to push back by 90 days the Oct. 22 deadline for public comments on a report about erosion and sedimentation impacts. They also asked the agency to require that the pipeline company take out a bond to protect against damage to private water sources like those relied on by residents in western and southern Roanoke County where the pipeline is currently routed.”

10-10-17 Roanoke Times. Giles County wants cost estimates for tapping Mountain Valley Pipeline. “Giles County’s board of supervisors continues to oppose the Mountain Valley Pipeline, but the county also wants to know what its costs might be for tapping the natural gas pipeline if the project moves forward. County Administrator Chris McKlarney said in an email Tuesday that the county wants to compare the costs of a tap at the 120-acre Wheatland Eco Park that would be installed either during or after pipeline construction. ‘Giles County has been, and remains, opposed to the proposed route through our community,’ McKlarney said. ‘However, the reality of the situation is that if the project is approved, we have to determine the most cost efficient means by which to obtain a connection.'”

10-10-17 Marcellus Drilling News. NC DEQ Rejects Plan for Atlantic Coast Pipeline – What’s Next? “North Carolina has become the first state to complete an environmental evaluation for Dominion’s proposed $5 billion, 594-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP)–a natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. ACP is slated to run through eight NC counties. After completing it’s evaluation, the NC Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a rejection letter (copy below) for the project. The reason? The DEQ says the erosion and sediment control plan for the project is not up to scratch. Dominion can now do two things: Revise the erosion and sediment control plan and resubmit it, or contest the DEQ’s rejection of the existing plan”

10-9-17 Washington Post. Is Dominion already planning a pipeline expansion? “So, why are we learning on the eve of a critical FERC vote that this might be a much bigger project than we were led to believe? Why all the legerdemain on markets and regulation and intentions?”

10-9-17 Richmond Times Dispatch. Buppert and Sanner column: Construction of Atlantic Coast Pipeline will destroy lands, endanger state’s waters. “Families in Virginia should not have to worry about their drinking water or whether in the future their children will continue to enjoy the same clean creeks and streams that we fish and swim in today. Yet Virginia environmental officials find themselves at a crucial moment, poised to make a decision that could either protect our waters or put us on a path toward endangering our most valuable natural resource…. We should not be beholden to Dominion’s timeline to build its pipeline and race forward toward a water certification without first understanding the risks to our waterways and requiring adequate, specific mitigation plans. Our state officials must take this process seriously.”

10-9-17 News and Observer [Raleigh NC]. NC officials reject environmental plan for Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has rejected environmental plans by Duke Energy and three other energy companies to build an interstate pipeline to carry natural gas from West Virginia into North Carolina. The letter of disapproval from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is the first decision on the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline from any state or federal government agency in the three states the project would traverse. Duke Energy is also expecting a decision this month from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as to whether the $5 billion pipeline project is necessary.”

10-6-17 FrackCheckWV.   An essay by S. Tom Bond listing the many reasons why Most Farmers and Land Owners Abhor Drilling & Fracking & Pipelines. “Placement of wells, access roads and pipelines destroys the surface value of the land. Well pads and roads are rocked to a depth that will support heavy trucks in any weather, often 18 inches. Drainage is changed, with new gullies formed, and silt produced and discharged into streams. ‘Reclamation’ never restores a fully productive surface. Pipelines from wells to connectors go up and down steep grades, many of them over 45 degrees. They are kept cleared for the length of the project with consequent loss of timber. They are a source of erosion, timber is lost…. These rights-of-way are attractive to trespassers, and interrupt habitat and animal migration patterns. … Building sites are foreclosed” because heavy equipment can’t cross the pipeline right of way. “Big diameter pipelines for transmission are a particular horror. They often go straight up and down hills, cutting very deep. Here in West Virginia, in many places that means cutting through solid stone. One can see both bulldozers and backhoes with special cutting blades that rotate using tungsten carbide cutting edges. And what is the back filling material? The same broken stones, since it the grade is too steep to move in material that will pack. The result is a subsurface stream along the pipeline, rock scratched protective coating on the outside of the big pipes, and plenty of oxygen and water to the steel underneath the coating to cause rusting.” And the list goes on.

10-6-17 Washington Examiner. FERC appeals court’s ruling in pipeline climate decision. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asked a federal court Friday to end its ruling blocking construction of a natural gas pipeline project in Florida in a major case that could hold sway over all future pipeline projects. FERC said it has complied with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal’s Aug. 22 decision to redo its original environmental review for the pipeline, taking into consideration the effects of greenhouse gas emissions from the power plants that the pipeline would supply. A three-judge panel killed FERC’s permit that allowed a pipeline to be built in Florida because it said the commission did not consider the effects of climate change caused by the natural gas that would be shipped through the project…. The most important part of FERC’s request is that it does not want the court’s decision to interfere with the construction of the pipeline. Under the Aug. 22 order, the court’s mandate to kill the project’s permit would mean the pipeline would not be able to go forward and construction would be suspended.”

10-5-17 Bay Journal. Virginia board to hear pipeline arguments over four days in December. ” The fate of two sprawling pipeline projects in Virginia will be decided by the State Water Control Board at a pair of meetings in December, each expected to last two days. The Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines, which would carry natural gas across portions of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina have faced steep opposition from citizens and environmental groups. The projects are undergoing review by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, which has pledged to apply several ‘regulatory tools…to ensure that Virginia’s water quality is protected’ should the projects be approved. But it will be up to the State Water Control Board, composed of seven, governor-appointed citizens, whether to approve, reject or modify the state environmental agency’s proposal for how to proceed. At the meetings, which will take place on Dec. 6 and 7 and Dec. 11 and 12 in Richmond, the DEQ will present a summary of the public comments it received and will make its recommendations to the board…. The DEQ’s recommendations will not be made known until those meetings, though an agenda with more details about how the meetings will proceed will be posted on the agency’s website in early November.”

10-5-17 Toronto Globe and Mail.  TransCanada halts pipeline, sparking new regional tensions.  “TransCanada Corp. killed its controversial $15.7-billion Energy East pipeline proposal Thursday, provoking a bitter regional battle over the Liberal government’s energy and environment policies.  In a terse statement, TransCanada said it reviewed ‘changed circumstances’ and will pull the plug on the pipeline, which was designed to carry 1.1-million barrels a day of Western crude to Eastern refineries and export terminals.”

10-5-17 The Real News. People Power Defeats an Oil Pipeline in Canada. “Activists in Canada are celebrating what is being called a victory for people over pipelines. The energy company TransCanada has announced it is canceling the proposed Energy East pipeline that would’ve moved crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to Canada’s east coast. The Energy East is one of several major pipelines that have faced heavy protests from indigenous and environmental groups, and its defeat has raised hopes that those pipelines will meet the same fate.”

10-5-17 Roanoke Times. City council wants pipeline developers on hook for any sedimentation of Roanoke River. “The Roanoke City Council is calling on the state to require developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline to either completely control sediment the project causes in the Roanoke River or pay for cleaning it up – at a potential cost of $36 million or more. The council passed a resolution Thursday to be sent to the governor, the General Assembly and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. ‘Essentially, whoever dirties the water needs to clean it up,’ Councilman Ray Ferris said. The route of the 303-mile, $3.5 billion, 42-inch diameter pipeline from West Virginia to Chatham doesn’t pass through the city. However, it crosses the Roanoke River and its tributaries upstream from the city more than 100 times, according to the resolution. The river and those tributaries are already listed as “impaired” by the federal Environmental Protection Agency due to excessive sediment, and the city is in the midst of spending millions of dollars on stormwater improvements to reduce sediment and other pollution to comply with demands from the EPA. A consultant for MVP estimated that the pipeline project would increase sediment in the river by 2 percent – or about 1,039 more tons per year – which the city calls a conservative estimate. But even that amount would add $36 million in costs to an existing $78 million the city believes it will have to spend to comply with EPA requirements.”

10-5-17 State Impact Pennsylvania.  Pipeline blasting sprayed Lebanon County home with debris, and may have spread legacy pollution.  “Blasting to remove rock for construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in Lebanon County showered a home and its swimming pool with debris, and may have prompted the spread of existing underground contamination from a former gasoline depot…. “It appears that the legacy plume migrated under 322 from the north side to the south side, and the blasting brought that to the surface,’ Lloyd told [a supervisor for the township] reporters after the [public] meeting. He said Sunoco has now promised to remove contaminated soil to a depth of 10 feet from the Spangler Road site. He said he did not know the nature of the contamination. Tests on water at nearby properties found two – a private home and a chicken farm – that showed the presence of benzene and MTBE, the township said in a timeline of recent events. The report also described three spills of fluid used in horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for the pipeline in the township during September. Two of the spills prompted DEP to order a halt to drilling at those sites…. Drilling has resumed but with tougher oversite from DEP. At the time of the renewed drilling operations, Sunoco had caused 90 drilling fluid spills at 40 sites. Since then, there have been at least 15 additional spills, according to the DEP.”

10-5-17 Roanoke Times.  Does potential expansion of Atlantic Coast Pipeline to South Carolina change equation for Virginia?  “Dominion Energy’s Dan Weekley, a vice president and general manager at the company, told the South Carolina Clean Energy Summit in Columbia last month that Dominion could bring ‘almost a billion cubic feet a day into South Carolina’ when it extends the pipeline, as ‘everyone knows’ it will, according to an Associated Press report last week. Those remarks, pipeline opponents contend, undercut the stated rationale for the roughly $5.5 billion, 600-mile project, which, if approved, will bring Marcellus Shale natural gas through West Virginia, across Virginia and into North Carolina, with an extension running from the Virginia-North Carolina border south of Emporia to Chesapeake. ‘For us, that underscores this issue that we’ve been focusing on: that there’s not demand for new gas-fired power plants in Virginia or North Carolina that will justify the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,’ said Greg Buppert, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center in Charlottesville, which has fought the project. ‘That sounds like companies looking for a market for their products because the market they’ve been banking on isn’t materializing.'”

10-4-17 Los Angeles Times. Trump administration ordered to enforce methane restrictions launched under Obama. “The Trump administration was ordered by a federal judge Wednesday to immediately enforce Obama-era restrictions on the release of potent methane emissions at oil and gas drilling operations on public land. The ruling came at the behest of California and other states, which charged the administration is required by law to enforce the new rules intended to cut the release of 175,000 tons of the potent greenhouse gas annually, as well as reduce the emission of associated toxic pollutants. The rules took effect Jan. 17, just three days before President Trump’s inauguration. The Interior Department had been delaying enforcement as it mapped out a strategy to rescind the new rules, which industry has complained are onerous. An earlier push by opponents of new methane restrictions to kill them in Congress fell short of the needed votes amid a backlash from environmentalists and landowners adversely affected by pollution from drilling. The ruling was the latest in a series of legal setbacks for the Trump administration, as the courts find flaws in its plans for dismantling executive branch actions taken under President Obama to confront climate change.”  [Much better news than the earlier story below.]

10-4-17 CNBC. Trump Interior Department will delay methane emissions rules for oil and gas industry. “The Interior Department will delay for one year implementing rules meant to capture methane emissions from oil and gas operations. The department is seeking to water down or scrap the rules and wants to avoid imposing compliance costs on energy firms since it may ultimately kill the regulations.”

10-4-17 WUNC. Contrary To Original Plan, Atlantic Coast Pipeline May Extend Beyond North Carolina. Lead-in for a 12 minute audio story: “When Dominion Energy applied for approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the publicly-unveiled plan indicated that the natural gas line would end in the middle of a field in Robeson County, North Carolina. But according to a new Associated Press report, developers are considering extending the pipeline through Lumbee territory and into South Carolina. Host Frank Stasio speaks with Triangle Business Journal reporter Lauren Ohnesorge, and Ryan Emanuel, professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University, an enrolled member of Lumbee Tribe, and a member of the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs Environmental Justice Committee Member about the economic and cultural impact of the potential change.”

10-4-17 AltDaily. Op-ed: Governor McAuliffe: Don’t Let Hampton Roads Become the Next Houston. “If we want to avoid becoming the next Houston, Texas of flooding, we have to fight back now. Already, with every downpour and high tide, many of our streets in Hampton Roads become creeks, our cars flood, and our homes become islands. Whatever we call it – nuisance flooding, sunny-day flooding, tidal flooding – scientists say the situation is linked to climate change and will get worse if we burn more fossil fuels. But Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe doesn’t seem to get the connection. He says he wants to save the Virginia coast, but he also wants to build two massive pipelines for high-polluting fracked gas: the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. For us in the Hampton Roads area, flooding has become an expensive and even dangerous routine.”

10-3-17 Lexington Herald [KY]. Pipeline wins federal OK to carry hazardous liquids across Kentucky. “The proposed conversion of a Kentucky natural gas pipeline has received federal authorization despite opponents’ concerns that the 70-year-old pipe was hazardous. In a decision released Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said converting the Tennessee Gas Pipeline from carrying natural gas to natural gas liquids does not ‘constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.’ … [O]pponents say they will now go to local planning authorities to ensure that there is some control should the project go forward. ‘It’s going to be up to local governments, because there really isn’t any state regulation of pipelines carrying hazardous liquids like natural gas liquids,’ Danville [KY] attorney Mark Morgan said.” This could happen here if the proposed ACP and MVP are approved.

10-3-2017 Roanoke Times. DEQ to make pipeline recommendations in December. “The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality plans to disclose in December its recommendations to the State Water Control Board regarding water quality certification for two deeply controversial natural gas pipelines. DEQ said it will recommend conditions that the seven-member citizens board should consider attaching to any Clean Water Act 401 water quality certification the board grants the projects. Ann Regn, a DEQ spokeswoman, said it is also possible the agency will suggest that one or both projects not be granted certification.”

10-2-17 WVTF. Pipeline Expansion Could Mean Additional Compressor Stations. “Hadwin says if the pipeline were to expand, more compressor stations would be needed. ‘Either in southern North Carolina or northern South Carolina,’ he says. ‘And perhaps another where the pipeline first comes into Virginia to add some more capacity in Bath County.'”

10-2-17 The Chronicle [Duke University]. They’ll be singing Kumbaya. “What do gun totin’ conservatives and hip liberal environmentalists have in common these days? Not much frankly. That is, unless we zoom in on two states on the brink of transforming the United States’ energy future. Inside Virginia’s town halls, outside North Carolina’s state capital, and deep in the hollers of the Blue Ridge Mountains, property rights fundamentalists are standing arm in arm with tree-hugging Berniecrats to oppose the biggest, most expensive corporate infrastructure project you’ve never heard of: The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).”