October 2018 News

10-31-18 News Leader. Board of Zoning Appeals must stop Dominion from breaking laws in pursuit of pipeline. “For the third time in three months, the Board of Zoning Appeals will have to listen to Dominion’s shifting tale of why the county should violate its own ordinances and comprehensive plan in order to allow a massive construction staging area in the heart of western Augusta County. The public hearing portion of the special use permit process concluded in September, but the people continue to flood the BZA with factual information about why this pipe yard would have positively scary impacts on our communities. Perhaps, fittingly, on the day after Halloween –Thursday Nov. 1 at 1:30 in the Augusta County Government Center – citizens will again pack the room hoping to witness the BZA stop the threatening specter of a West Augusta pipe yard. …. This time the proposed pipe yard is almost unanimously opposed by the people of Augusta County so the decision should be fairly easy, despite Dominion’s relentless pressure.”

10-30-18 C-ville. Edging closer: Atlantic Coast Pipeline gets state go-ahead. “Massive opposition to Dominion Energy’s pipeline has made headlines since the project was proposed in 2014. So when Governor Ralph Northam held his 2018 Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity in Staunton, just two days after the October 19 pipeline permit approval, activists were there to meet him. They say he’s touting ‘rural prosperity’ while ‘greenwashing’ his complicity in environmental destruction. …. For the first three weekends of October, the Averitts and other activists who oppose the ACP invited the public to their property to camp or visit for a few days of what they call ‘camptivism,’ to learn why Nelson residents are so vehemently fighting to prevent the pipeline’s construction. Approximately 150 attendees heard from environmental experts, impacted landowners, and local historians. ‘Northam’s supposed to represent all of us and he couldn’t even give us the courtesy of an hour?’ Averitt asks. ‘He is allowing and participating in this negligent act of allowing these pipelines to be built in the face of every credible source that says they aren’t needed and [are] ill-advised.’ …. Says Averitt, ‘If these pipelines are developed, we would create a 600-mile development dead zone around them and jeopardize thousands of rural homeowners’ water along the route. I’d like Northam to explain to me how that is good for rural economies.’”

10-30-18 Blue Virginia. Glen Besa – An Open Letter to Gov. Northam: Doing the Climate Math in Virginia. “It should be evident that the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines seriously undercut your desire to address climate change. Carbon pollution from these two pipelines represents over 70 million tons per year of new emissions as soon as the pipelines are turned on, while your rule would only reduce carbon pollution by less that 10 tons per year by 2030. These 70 million tons will not all be emitted in Virginia, but regardless of where this gas is burned, its impact on climate change will be the same. The administrative approach you have proposed to reduce carbon pollution is one step in the right direction; however, the increased annual carbon pollution from the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines is over 7 times greater than the reductions you propose to achieve by 2030. This is just one of many compelling reasons why you should stop these pipeline projects.”

10-30-18 LancasterOnline [PA]. Main contractor on Atlantic Sunrise, Mariner East gas pipelines declares bankruptcy. “The main contractor on the Atlantic Sunrise and Mariner East 2 gas pipelines that run through Lancaster County has declared bankruptcy. Ohio-based Welded Construction LP was sued in Oklahoma by Atlantic Sunrise owner Williams Partners. Williams alleges Welded overcharged the company and had accounting failures and other contract breaches. Williams has withheld $23 million from the company. The nearly 300-mile, $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise natural gas project — which goes through 37 miles of Lancaster County — began moving gas on Oct. 6. Sunoco, owner of the 300-mile Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline, terminated its contract with Welded, alleging the company failed to comply with environmental requirements. The pipeline, which goes through 8 miles of northeastern Lancaster County, has been beset with spills and fines that have delayed the project. After the legal actions by the two pipeline builders, Welded filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.”

10-30-18 Virginian-Pilot. Why the last piece of a pipeline under Hampton Roads has gone from an afterthought to a fiery battle. “In many ways, this is a typical energy battle, short on easy solutions and long on passion. It’s being waged with worst-case scenarios and conflicting statements – difficult to sort though, even harder to fully disprove. What’s unusual about this one: The two sides are fighting over the final piece of pipe. The bulk of the $62 million project has already been built, buried in a crescent-shaped path that runs from the outskirts of downtown Norfolk and to the Gilmerton Bridge area of Chesapeake. Construction on the connector started in 2017 at each end, marching toward the middle. Other than some protests in Chesapeake last year, it’s gone into the ground with nary a peep, mostly along city and electrical right of ways. The final segment – dipping under the eastern branch of the Elizabeth River – will tie the whole project together.  Drilling would start on one bank at Harbor Park stadium, owned by the city of Norfolk.  No problem.  It would end on the other bank at Colonna’s Shipyard, owned by 89-year-old Bill Colonna.  Problem.”

10-30-18 Virginian-Pilot. Fact check: The war of words between Virginia Natural Gas and Colonna’s Shipyard. “Welcome to a war of words: the arguments over the almost-done Southside Connector Distribution Pipeline. We’ve distilled the key points from each side – Virginia Natural Gas and Colonna’s Shipyard – and what The Pilot has been able to determine.”

10-30-18 Virginia Mercury. Virginia’s proposed carbon rule gets lower emissions cap, adds environmental justice component. “Virginia’s State Air Pollution Control Board approved a handful of changes Monday to a sweeping proposed carbon rule that would cap the allowable amount of emissions from power plants starting in 2020 and enter into a multi-state market-based program to reduce emissions. If approved — which could be next year after another round of public comment — Virginia would become the first state in the South to regulate carbon output through that program, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. Staff from the Department of Environmental Quality proposed a change Monday to lower the cap from 33 to 28 million tons of carbon output, while board members suggested amendments that clarify which entities the rule applies to and require staff to consider issues of environmental justice when the rule is implemented. ‘It’s excellent for the environment and keeps the commonwealth moving forward in reducing carbon pollution,’ said Michael Dowd, director of the DEQ’s air quality division. That cap would decrease 3 percent each year until 2030.”

10-30-18 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Work stopped on pipeline that exploded in Beaver County, after Pa. regulators find environmental violations. “Energy Transfer LP, the operator of the Revolution Pipeline that exploded near Monaca last month, has been ordered by state regulators to stop all work on that pipeline because of subsequent environmental violations. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued an order to the Texas-based pipeline company on Monday alleging that its construction practices are failing to control erosion and soil movement and have impacted several streams in the area. The company must stop all earth moving activities, temporarily stabilize its work sites and submit a series of plans before it can continue with its work to get the pipeline back up and running again.”

10-29-18 News Leader. Augusta County zoning board enters third round of pipeline storage yard discussions. “The Augusta County Board of Zoning Appeals will revisit a well known request from Dominion Energy Thursday afternoon. In September, the board heard Dominion’s request for a special-use permit to construct a temporary pipeline staging yard, which would aid Atlantic Coast Pipeline construction. The board tabled the permit vote twice after a heated public hearing and additional questions came up about the project. The 1:30 p.m. meeting on Thursday marks the third time the board will discuss the current special-use permit application for construction in West Augusta. It’s the second application of its kind the Augusta County Board of Zoning Appeals has reviewed this year. In March, the board denied a request from Dominion for a pipeline storage yard after three months of discussion.”

10-27-18 The Guardian. Air pollution is the new tobacco. Time to tackle this epidemic. “Air pollution is a silent public health emergency, killing 7 million people every year and damaging the health of many, many more. Despite this epidemic of needless, preventable deaths and disability, a smog of complacency pervades the planet. This is a defining moment and we must scale up action to urgently respond to this challenge. Air pollution puts the health of billions at risk from the simple act of breathing. The World Health Organization estimates nine in 10 people globally breathe polluted, toxic air. Air pollution is a health risk at every stage of life. …. [I]n less than a week, the WHO will host the first global conference on air pollution and health, where leaders will chart next steps for future action to cut air pollution in their countries. …. The world has turned the corner on tobacco. Now it must do the same for the “new tobacco”: the toxic air that billions breathe every day.” [The first Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health will be held at WHO Headquarters in Geneva on 30 October – 1 November 2018.]

10-25-18 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Correspondent of the Day: October 26, 2018: Despite Farrell’s column, the ACP is dangerous. “Thomas Farrell’s Op-Ed column, “Powering Virginia’s future with clean, affordable, and reliable energy,” uses a logical fallacy to attempt to persuade people, because he cannot logically prove that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is good for us. As the top honcho at Dominion Energy, he is clearly biased in his viewpoint. While it is his right to only write about the alleged benefits of the ACP, a proper assessment must include not only the alleged benefits but also all the external costs and risks. Dominion Energy will be making a profit at the expense of the people it impacts. Economists call this an externality. Citizens call it unacceptable. On economic efficiency grounds, the benefits of a project must be greater than its total cost, including the externalities. The ACP fails this big time. The benefits are overstated while the impacts, externalities, and future risks are ignored. …. Will Dominion Energy be willing to post a bond of $10 billion or so to partially cover any damages from the ACP if they happen? Will the energy company cover the expenses of people who may be impacted by an explosion?”

10-25-18 Virginia Mercury. The con at the heart of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “It can’t be said enough, and it’s something that’s easy to lose sight of amid the labyrinthine legal and permitting debates around the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which could be getting federal approval to start full construction in Virginia any minute now. The need for Dominion Energy’s 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline is far from proven — certainly not in Virginia — despite the propaganda piece extolling the virtues of the project that company CEO, president and CEO Thomas Farrell got published Sunday in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Your case should be ironclad before a federal agency gives your company the authority to blast, trench and tunnel your way across 600 miles in three states, trampling on private property rights, national forests and parks, sensitive habitats and waterways and through aquifers remote communities rely on for drinking water. In fact, the preponderance of evidence points to Dominion being well on its way to foisting a massive con on its 2.5 million ratepayers here, as opponents of the pipeline have warned all along.”

10-25-18 Utility Dive. Trump names Chatterjee FERC chair. “President Trump on Wednesday designated Commissioner Neil Chatterjee to be the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Outgoing Chairman Kevin McIntyre will step down from his post but remain on FERC as a commissioner, according to a letter released by the agency. McIntyre battled brain cancer last year and wrote that he ‘very recently experienced a more serious health setback’ that left him ‘unable to perform the duties of chairman.’ Chatterjee was acting chairman of FERC last year before McIntyre was confirmed by the Senate, but the White House announcement said he will be chairman, not acting chair. The White House and FERC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.”

10-25-18 Blue Virginia. October Surprise: Governor Ralph Northam, Secretary Matt Strickler Tell Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice to Go Away – Literally. “Ralph Northam and those around him tried to derail the Governor’s own Advisory Council on Environmental Justice. Then they pretended the Council had not spoken. Then they ignored it. And when Northam and Strickler could no longer ignore their own Advisory Council, they threatened to destroy it. An astute observer of the Advisory Council’s work recently told this author that it is hard to believe that a Southern Democratic Governor would go so far as to eliminate an advisory council on social justice in retaliation for having offended his corporate campaign contributors. The optics, as they say, would not be good. Perhaps that is correct. But there are many ways Northam could gut the Council. Northam could let it be known that he doesn’t want to hear any more about pipelines. He could pack the Council with members more willing to tow the Dominion Energy party line. And he could get rid of those who refuse to stay silent. The problem with changing the composition of the current 15 members of the Council is that they were told explicitly and on the record in December 2017 that ‘all appointed members are being asked to serve for the first two years to ensure continuity while the Council is getting established.’ Whatever Northam does do, this much seems clear: he wishes the Council would just go away – or at least shut up about pipelines. He could prove that statement wrong by issuing a new Executive Order and reappointing the current members.”

10-25-18 Roanoke Times. U.S. Supreme Court is asked to hear pipeline eminent domain case. “A group of landowners whose property was taken against their wishes for a natural gas pipeline is seeking relief from the U.S. Supreme Court. The appeal, which involves the use of eminent domain by Mountain Valley Pipeline, is believed to be the first time the nation’s highest court has been asked to consider a challenge involving the controversial project. Whether that will happen is far from certain; the court agrees to hear oral arguments and render a decision in only about 80 of the approximately 8,000 cases that get filed each year. …. Thirteen landowners along the pipeline’s route are appealing the dismissal of their lawsuit, filed last year in Roanoke’s federal court, challenging the way Mountain Valley used a law that allows the condemnation of private land for a public use. Among the constitutional questions raised is whether eminent domain, a power normally invoked by governmental bodies for projects such as highways and power lines, should be awarded to a private company in pursuit of profits. Under the Natural Gas Act, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission delegated what the lawsuit called ‘a government-sanctioned land grab’ to Mountain Valley when it approved the company’s request to build a 303-mile pipeline through West Virginia and Southwest Virginia.”

10-23-18 News and Advance. Nelson residents look for answers concerning project on Norwood road in Arrington. “Neighbors continue to voice concerns about being kept in the dark on a major construction project on Norwood Road in Nelson County, between the Tye River and James River State Park. An access road about a half-mile long and 65 feet wide has been under construction since August. …. In March of 2017 Morris sold just over 740 acres, including that easement, to the Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit dedicated to protecting land across the United State for around $2.9 million. Then, last week, Dominion Energy spokesman Aaron Ruby said in an email the Conservation Fund had purchased the property on behalf of Dominion Energy as replacement for land impact to the James River Wildlife Management area from development of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a $6.5 billion natural gas pipeline that Dominion Energy is currently working on. …. ‘It makes me worry that in the future big money can make these kind of secret transfers and negotiations without any transparency about how they intend to use the land,’ Hale said in an email. …. ‘At first, Dominion Energy said it didn’t have anything to do with the pipeline project. Then, maybe a week later, they said it did have something to do with the pipeline project,’ Carter said. Carter said after questions from neighbors starting coming to him and Saunders, he started making phone calls to figure out what was going on. …. ‘That’s the real issue that I have with it. No one on [the] board of supervisors seems to know what is being built in our district and the clerk said Senator Deeds said ‘it was secret’ and wouldn’t say what it is,’ Tillman said. ‘Why are they not telling us when we live here? Why are they doing something and not even announcing it to the public? The whole thing is shady.’”

10-23-18 Roanoke Times. Mountain Valley Pipeline loses another water-crossing permit. “Federal regulators have pulled another permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline construction project, which now lacks authority to build through streams and wetlands along the project’s entire 303-mile route. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended its authorization of water body crossings for the first 32 miles of the natural gas pipeline, starting where it originates in Wetzel County, West Virginia. In a letter Friday to Mountain Valley officials, Jon Coleman of the Corps’ regulatory division in Pittsburgh cited an Oct. 2 federal appeals court decision that vacates a similar permit issued by a different division for the rest of the pipeline’s route through West Virginia. A third such approval, which covers more than 500 streams and wetlands in Southwest Virginia, was suspended earlier for the same reason. Pipeline opponents pointed to the most recent suspension in calling anew for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to order a stop to all other work on the pipeline, which continues at a brisk pace on land between the streams. ‘Frankly, it is astounding that the Commission has not yet issued a stop work order in response to Mountain Valley’s loss of its Clean Water Act authorizations,’ attorneys Ben Luckett and Derek Teaney of Appalachian Mountain Advocates wrote Monday in a letter to FERC. FERC’s approval for the massive pipeline a year ago was conditioned on Mountain Valley having all of its required permits from other federal agencies, including the Army Corps, the attorneys wrote.”

10-22-18 E&E News. Industry, activists want change in how they talk. “Federal regulators and pipeline industry representatives are eager to hear more from the public — in civil forums that avoid emotional, project-specific discussion. That was the takeaway from a series of sessions at a conference last week in which top Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration officials and representatives from pipeline companies, the American Petroleum Institute and other national organizations sat alongside stakeholders from community groups, state regulators and smaller environmental organizations. The conversation took place at a yearly conference hosted by the Pipeline Safety Trust, a group chartered to advocate for public safety in the industry and whose annual gathering is one of the few events to bring a significant number of civil society speakers together with pipeline industry representatives. Several people involved with fighting oil and natural gas pipelines in their local area expressed frustration that the pipeline developers they work with brush off the concerns of those in the project’s charted path. Take Irene Leech, an associate professor at Virginia Tech whose family farm will be bisected by the planned Atlantic Coast pipeline, a 600-mile project to carry shale gas from West Virginia to markets along the Atlantic Coast. Leech described her efforts to move the planned pipeline off the property that her family has owned since 1902, where she and her husband raise cattle. ‘We engaged real early in the process,’ Leech said, intervening with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to have a formal say in project development. Leech said she first hoped to have the pipeline rerouted off their land and then, when it became clear that would not happen, to have it moved from the middle of a field to the field’s edge so it would not interfere in the farm’s operations. ‘They told us where the location was going to be, and our input didn’t matter,’ she said.”

10-22-18 News Leader. Governor Northam stops in Staunton; discusses I-81, pipeline and renewable energy.  Staunton welcomed Governor Ralph Northam Tuesday morning. He was in town for the 2018 Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity. The event, which was held at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel, focused on innovation in rural parts of the commonwealth. Among other topics, the governor talked about renewable energy. When asked about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline affecting the Shenandoah Valley, he said the Commonwealth still needs time before it can go without traditional energy sources. ‘Renewable energy is very important to me,’ Northam said. ‘I have a commitment from Dominion that by the end of our administration, 3,000 megawatts of electricity will be generated by wind and solar. So we’re moving in that direction. But it can’t happen overnight.’”

10-21-18 News Leader. Pipeline protesters try to be heard amid discussion of rural prosperity. “About 60 people gathered outside the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center Sunday evening, singing, shouting slogans and waving signs of opposition to two natural gas pipelines that state regulators are allowing to be built across the mountains and valleys of western Virginia. Inside participants in the Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity were hobnobbing at an opening reception while those on the sidewalks out front were arguing that rural prosperity would be at risk because the state filed to adequately protect the land and water.”

10-21-18 WHSV3. Despite final state approval, pipeline opponents remain motivated. ” After Virginia regulators approved engineering plans for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline last week — thereby granting final permission needed from the state for developers to begin construction — opposition to the project continues among environmental groups. The state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced on Friday a state-level water quality permit could take effect. It was approved last December, pending additional studies. A small group, representing a larger opposition movement, gathered in Augusta County on Sunday. ‘To show folks that it’s not a done deal,” Ben Cunningham, Pipeline CSI’s Virginia field coordinator, said. “The state and the developers would like us to think so. But it’s simply not the case.’”

10-20-18 NBC29. Anti-Pipeline Advocates Join Forces at Construction Site to Show Disapproval. “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is one step closer to becoming a reality after the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality announced a key approval of the pipeline’s erosion and sediment control plans. However, advocates from across central Virginia are not giving up hope that they can stop the pipeline. People from Nelson County and across the country who oppose this pipeline are joining forces at sites where the proposed pipeline would run. Since learning about the 600-mile underground Atlantic Coast Pipeline, he’s become actively involved in the efforts to stop it. …. ‘I plan on living for another 40 years and don’t want to have a climate catastrophe and I don’t want to see these mountains slip on steep slopes and unstable soils and damage what lovely country we have here,’ Cunningham said. He joined a handful of other advocates just outside Wintergreen Resort in Nelson County on Saturday, October 20, where contractors with the ACP have already cut down trees to prep this site for the pipeline. ‘We’re out here because we are very concerned about building a pipeline on such a steep slope with some of the most unsuitable soils,’ Charles Hickox, the organizer of Spruce Creek Camp for Friends of Nelson, said. All of the people who camped out at the site on Saturday oppose the pipeline in general, but specifically this site because of both how steep it is and its proximity to Wintergreen, which they say is the area’s top hub for tourism.”

10-19-18 Virginia Mercury. Atlantic Coast Pipeline gets final Virginia approvals. “The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has cleared the way for Dominion Energy’s 600-mile, deeply divisive Atlantic Coast Pipeline to begin construction here. The agency has signed off on plans for how workers will manage erosion, sediment and stormwater along the route, which will cross hundreds of waterways and some of Virginia’s steepest terrain, the final approval the project needs before beginning to blast, trench and lay the pipe. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will issue the actual go-ahead for work to start here.”

10-19-18 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Virginia authorizes construction on Atlantic Coast Pipeline; final U.S. approval pending. “Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality on Friday gave state authorization for construction to begin on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, subject to final approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. DEQ said it had approved engineering designs to protect water quality during and after construction of the $6.5 billion natural gas pipeline, spearheaded by Dominion Energy. …. DEQ’s approval of the pipeline’s erosion and sediment control plans and its stormwater management plan allow the state’s water quality certification to take effect. …. The Virginia League of Conservation Voters said DEQ had issued a ‘license to pollute’ for the 42-inch-diameter pipeline, which it said ‘will impact more than 300 miles of Virginia mountainside, heartland and hundreds of waterways. Even as their on-the-ground safeguards for pipeline construction have failed Southwest Virginia, today state regulators saw fit to allow an even larger, more complicated and environmentally destructive pipeline project to move forward, despite clear evidence that these pipelines can’t be built safely,’ said Lee Francis, deputy director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Pipeline construction in a national forest in Virginia remains blocked as a three-judge panel reviews environmental groups’ appeal of permits issued by the U.S. Forest Service.”

10-19-18 Blue Virginia. Photos: Faith Leaders Commemorate “No Pipeline” Encampment with Interfaith Celebration of Forest and Land. “Today, dozens of faith leaders and activists joined for an interfaith ceremony to honor all forests threatened by Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline and EQT’s Mountain Valley Pipeline. The ‘Ona Commemoration Celebration’ took place on Miracle Ridge, an old-growth forest filled with 300-year-old trees, including one that Bill and Limpert — who own the property — have named ‘Ona.’ Ona has inspired residents from all across the Commonwealth to unite for the ‘No Pipeline Summer’ protest encampment on the Limperts’ land. Now, they have gathered again for a ceremony that featured Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, the Indigenous Peoples’ Prayer, and more.”

10-19-18 The Progressive Pulse. This Week in Pollution: Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s secret drilling fluids. “Waterways in North Carolina can’t get a break. Some ingredients in drilling fluids and additives used for construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are deemed ‘trade secrets.’ Unless Dominion and Duke Energy decide you’re on a need-to-know-basis, it’s impossible to (legally) know what’s in them. When these drilling fluids, also known as ‘mud,’ spill — and they do spill — it is known in Orwellian terms as ‘an inadvertent return.’ The Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC’s own federal filings say that if this ahem, return ‘occurs in a waterbody it will be more difficult to contain because the fluid will be dispersed into the water and carried downstream.’”

10-19-18 Roanoke Times. Gilmore: Dominion shouldn’t make campaign contributions. “The Oct. 11 editorial “Five modern myths” uses a recent study to praise Dominion Energy’s transparency before drawing a false equivalency between the political activities of regulated utility monopolies and environmental groups. Both assertions warrant closer examination. …. Clean Virginia would like our Commonwealth to join the 25 other states in the country where this type of activity by monopoly public service utilities is banned. If Dominion’s political giving truly does not affect political behavior, then they should have no problem supporting a law banning this money altogether. Let them compete on the strength of their ideas, not the size of their campaign checks. Finally, the author describes Dominion as a “bête noir” of the left, but fails to acknowledge that many of the fiercest critics of Dominion’s legalized corruption and anti-free market business model are on the right of the political spectrum. In a bitterly-divided political climate, opposition to Dominion’s legalized corruption is one thing that has united Virginians of all partisan leanings.”

10-19-18 Energy News Network. Q&A: Virginia couple takes a stand in Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s path. “When Lynn and Bill Limpert bought 120 pristine acres in Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains in 2009, the only construction project they expected to handle was building their retirement home. That changed Feb. 12, 2016, when the couple opened a letter from Dominion Energy asking to purchase a right-of-way for its Atlantic Coast Pipeline. …. The Limperts have dedicated their retirement years to educating the public about pipelines. Bill, 71, worked as a regulator for the Maryland Department of Environment and Lynn, 63, as a graphic artist. Bill talked with the Energy News Network about their journey.”

10-18-18 Virginia Mercury. Virginia’s pipeline projects and the aura of inevitability. “This week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave Dominion Energy permission to begin cutting down trees in Buckingham County to clear the way for a massive compressor station the company wants to build as part of its Atlantic Coast Pipeline. …. The approval came even though the proposed 54,000 horsepower compressor station still lacks an air permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. That kind of minor detail hasn’t stopped FERC in the past. The agency approved tree clearing for the pipeline in Virginia in January even though state regulators hadn’t bestowed all the approvals Dominion and its partners needed to begin construction here. The company still doesn’t have those permits, but has cut vast swathes of trees down along the route, including where it wasn’t supposed to, in fact. Indeed, plunging ahead with as much work as it can get away with before all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed seems a deliberate strategy to deflate opposition and stay ahead of a slew of court decisions that have found major flaws in the federal approval process. If trees are coming down here and pipe is going in the ground elsewhere, the thing must be getting built, right?”

10-18-18 E&E News. FERC chairman expected to step down — sources. “The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was conspicuously absent from an agency meeting today as speculation mounted that he may soon relinquish his post. Kevin McIntyre, a Trump appointee who has been struggling with health issues, did not attend the gathering at FERC’s Washington, D.C., headquarters this morning, nor did he vote on agenda items. He was previously absent from FERC’s September meeting due to medical issues, according to an agency source. In recent days, sources close to the commission have said McIntyre could announce he will cede his chairmanship at the agency as early as today and that the White House will subsequently tap FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee as chairman. Still, there was widespread uncertainty about any leadership changes, and it remains unclear if or when McIntyre’s role may change.”

10-17-18 Richmond Times-Dispatch. Dominion pays for transfer to state of scenic property in Nelson to compensate for pipeline’s impact on state land. “Virginia would gain a large, scenic property along the Tye River in Nelson County as part of a pending private land transfer to compensate for the planned crossing of a state wildlife management area by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Dominion Energy, lead developer of the $6.5 billion natural gas pipeline, confirmed this week that it has paid for an environmental organization to buy more than 1,000 acres with 3 miles of frontage along the Tye near Norwood and then transfer the land to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The Conservation Fund, based in Arlington County, has purchased the property for an undisclosed amount, although Nelson County Administrator Stephen Carter estimated the sale price at $2.9 million for what he called the Morris Tract. The property has not yet been transferred to the game department, which negotiated the transaction as mitigation for the planned pipeline crossing of more than 1 mile of the James River Wildlife Management Area. The wildlife management area lies along the James slightly northeast of Wingina and across the river from Yogaville Satchidananda Ashram.”

10-17-18 The Recorder. Foundation reminded about way it acquired Hayfields farm.  [The following letter was sent to members of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation on Oct. 10, and shared with The Recorder.] “How considerate of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation to ask for public input regarding usage of Hayfields property, which VOF acquired illegally from Dominion by approving the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to destroy our historic property, The Wilderness, with two VOF conservation easements and other VOF conservation easement properties. Well, here is input from the owners of two VOF conservation easements on 1,000 historic Virginia acres destroyed by the ACP due to greed and betrayal by VOF. A brief recap of our property and VOF betrayal, which VOF has chosen to ignore. …. [B]ased on what VOF did to The Wilderness property with two conservation easements: VOF could always approve another gas pipeline to completely dissect Hayfields property, as you have with 1,000 acres of The Wilderness, and perhaps gain even more ‘land donations from Dominion’ for gas pipelines that destroy the property, environment, property values and stewardship, quality of life and property conservation easements in Virginia.” [Recorder subscription required]

10-17-18 Roanoke Times. Advisory council asks Northam to stop pipeline work, but governor passes. “Asked by his own advisory council to suspend work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, Gov. Ralph Northam made no such promise in a letter sent to the panel this week. The Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice recommended in August that Virginia’s water quality certification for construction of the natural gas pipeline be ‘rescinded immediately.’ The same request was made for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which like Mountain Valley has drawn fierce opposition from those who say the projects will mar rural landscapes, pollute streams and invade private property. ‘Governor Northam and I share your commitment’ to protecting public health and the environment, Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler wrote in a letter to the 14-member panel, which is appointed by the governor but has no direct authority over the permitting process. Strickland’s letter indicated that the hands of state officials are tied by the actions of a federal agency with primary oversight of the pipelines. …. The one-page letter did not specifically address the council’s recommendation that construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline be delayed until its impacts are more thoroughly reviewed. …. Opponents question the need for the project, and accuse state officials of favoring corporate interests over natural resources. ‘Governor Northam and his Environmental Chief have now laid waste to any notion this administration and its agencies are capable of doing anything but advancing the business of the fracked gas industry,’ the Protect Our Water Heritage Rights Coalition said in a statement Wednesday after the letter was released. ‘Northam and team have calculated citizens in the pipelines’ path as dispensable in the elections mix, as collateral damage in the high risk-high return business of fracked gas global commodities trading.’”

10-17-18 Richmond Times Dispatch. FERC gives green light to tree cutting at Buckingham compressor site. “Federal regulators have given the green light for developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to begin cutting trees on the site of a planned natural gas compressor station in Buckingham County. The decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday comes a little more than three weeks before state regulators decide whether to grant an air pollution permit for the compressor station, which has drawn fierce opposition from pipeline opponents and residents of the majority-black Union Hill neighborhood where it would be built. The commission’s notice to proceed allows Dominion Energy and its partners in the pipeline to cut trees but not disturb the soil on portions of the 68-acre property. The company expects to use about 15 acres of the property that would be used for the compressor station and a related metering and regulation station that would be built at the intersection with the existing Transco natural gas pipeline. …. The company also is waiting for final approval of erosion and sediment control plans for the project by the Department of Environmental Quality before it begins construction of the project in Virginia.”

10-17-18 Virginia Mercury. Giant sections of the Mountain Valley Pipeline washed onto an opponent’s land. Can he keep them? “Dale Angle has something the developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline want: two 80-foot sections of their pipe that washed onto his Franklin County farm during last week’s heavy rains. And despite receiving two rather insistent phone calls seeking permission to come on his land and collect the property, he says he’s ‘not too anxious to be in a hurry about helping them.’ In fact, he says he’s not sure he’ll ever willingly hand it over. ‘I’m still mulling that over,’ he says, citing concerns about the heavy equipment required to retrieve it damaging his land.”

10-17-18 Roanoke Times. Munley: We don’t need zombie pipelines. “Prepare for higher natural gas prices locally, unless EQT — rushing to complete its Zombie MVP (Mountain Valley Pipeline) — is stopped. America’s overbuilding of pipelines (now at only 50 percent capacity), is endless. The industry-funded Federal Energy Regulatory Commission virtually permits every pipeline request, failing to scrutinize claims of public need and supposed benefits. The methane-leaking natural gas industry exerts disproportional influence on America, unloading its overinvested fracked gas glut. Similarly, despite cancelling its gas-powered plants, Dominion Energy exploits Virginian ratepayers for a 15 percent “guaranteed” rate-of-return for unneeded ACP (Atlantic Coast Pipeline), confirming Dominion’s ‘No need, only greed!’ motive.”

10-17-18 News Leader.   Robert Whitescarver Op Ed:  Atlantic Coast Pipeline set to destroy rare Bath County old-growth forest. “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Dominion Energy’s forty-two-inch, fracked-gas pipeline, is planned to come up this ridge and cross Jack Mountain. They will have to cut down thousands of old-growth trees, clear a swath 125 feet wide, and dig a trench ten-feet deep in the steepest terrain I have ever walked on in Virginia. It will cause the most irresponsible, environmental damage to this forest—ever. Loggers never touched it because it is so steep. …. The worst part of this saga may not be the insane notion of destroying the mountain by constructing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline but how Dominion has treated the Limperts, and many others in their way—with disrespect, unanswered questions, a subpoena to appear in court, and silence.”

10-16-18 Common Dreams. In ‘Blockbuster’ Ruling, Judge Says Youths’ Climate Case Against Trump Administration Can Proceed to Trial. “Twenty-one children and young adults were looking forward on Tuesday to bringing their climate lawsuit against the federal government to trial in the coming weeks, following a U.S. District Court ruling arguing that the plaintiffs have made a convincing case that the Trump and Obama administrations have failed to curb carbon emissions even as they knew of the pollution’s myriad harmful effects. Judge Ann Aiken handed down the ruling late Monday in a court in Eugene, Oregon, affirming that the plaintiffs can credibly claim that their due process rights have been violated by the government and fossil fuel companies—an argument the young people are more than ready to make in court starting October 29, when the case is set to go to trial. …. The lawsuit, Juliana vs. The United States, was first filed in 2015 under the Obama administration, with the 21 plaintiffs, then ranging in age from eight to 19, arguing with the help of Our Children’s Trust that the government’s actions that have worsened carbon emissions have ‘violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.’

10-16-18 Natural Gas Intelligencer. FERC’s LaFleur Sheds Light on Recent Natural Gas Pipeline Dissents. “The natural gas industry needs to proactively address the fuel’s “complicated relationship” with climate change, FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur told a group of executives and other stakeholders Monday during a speech in Washington, DC. LaFleur, speaking at the North American Gas Forum hosted by Energy Dialogues, said natural gas has come under increasing scrutiny for its climate impacts despite the role it has played in cutting emissions by reducing reliance on more carbon-intensive fuels like coal. …. On the topic of FERC’s pipeline certificates, LaFleur called for FERC to go beyond precedent agreements in evaluating the need for a pipeline project. She said basing FERC’s certificate decisions solely on precedent agreements could lead to pipeline overbuild.”

10-16-18 Roanoke Times. Opponents seek a stop to ‘reckless’ construction of Mountain Valley Pipeline. “Despite the loss of permits allowing the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross streams and wetlands, construction on other phases of the project is proceeding at what opponents call an aggressive and reckless pace. Three environmental groups and a nonprofit law firm are asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to stop work on the natural gas pipeline, which is continuing outside of the water bodies. A stop-work order from FERC has been due since Oct. 2, the opponents say, when a federal appeals court vacated a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit that Mountain Valley needed before it could start digging trenches through more than 500 streams and wetlands in West Virginia. A similar permit that covered Southwest Virginia was suspended three days later. With no action yet from FERC, Mountain Valley is attempting to beat the clock by improperly accelerating some stages of construction and working well past dark, according to a complaint submitted by the Protect Our Water Heritage Rights Coalition. …. Construction crews have also remained on the job through heavy rains, which critics say is worsening already-documented problems with sediment being washed onto nearby properties and into streams. Similar concerns were expressed by two West Virginia groups, the Indian Creek Watershed Association and Preserve Monroe.”

10-15-18 State Impact Pennsylvania. ‘energy, explained’ podcast: How one family lost the farm to a failed pipeline project. “The Hollerans said they didn’t want the pipeline on their land, and thought that was the end of it. They were wrong. A federal judge eventually gave the pipeline builder a chunk of the Hollerans’ land, and acres of maple trees soon fell to chainsaws. But this story would take an unexpected turn — one that the family hopes might allow them to get their land back one day. In the latest episode of “energy, explained,” the new podcast from StateImpact Pennsylvania, Megan Holleran tells her family’s story to StateImpact’s Susan Phillips: How surprise turned to resolve after the pipeline company said it wanted to use the family’s land. How a court sided with the company. How family members, initially united in opposition to the pipeline, took different sides after being threatened with arrests and fines if they continued to protest. And how the family hasn’t given up yet.”

10-15-18 Blue Virginia. Community Victorious; Dominion Won’t Build Proposed Compressor Station. “The AMP Creeks Council and greater Southern Maryland Community are Celebrating a Victory in a two-year fight against Dominion Energy Cove Point’s (DECP) efforts to build a giant fracked gas compressor station on 14 clear cut acres surrounded by fragile wetlands that often flood in the Accokeek/Bryans Road area. This morning Dominion released the following statement: ‘Dominion Energy will not construct a natural gas transmission compressor station at its Charles County Marshall Hall site. We will continue our existing operations at that site, which consist of a field office, a warehouse, and pipeline inspection and safety-related equipment. We are actively evaluating alternatives for this component of our Eastern Market Access project. This requires the engagement of multiple stakeholders, as successful solutions must meet the needs of the project’s customers. Discussions with customers are ongoing.’”

10-15-18 Virginian-Pilot. 9 injured after a natural gas explosion in Chesapeake, fire department says. “A natural gas explosion in Chesapeake injured nine people, leaving two in critical condition on Sunday night, the fire department said. Two homeowners were still in the house, which is on the 2500 block of Lofurno Road in the Deep Creek North area of Chesapeake, when the fire started around 5:30 p.m. Sunday. They are both in critical condition following the ‘significant explosion,’ according to Lt. Anthony P. Barakat. They were transferred to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Four others had minor injuries and were treated released at the scene. Two firefighters were transported to Chesapeake General Hospital with minor injuries and another adult was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital with unknown injuries. …. The investigation will begin once the fire is confirmed to be completely out, Barakat said, explaining that they don’t know how or why the explosion happened yet. The gas company, which Barakat did not identify, is also on the scene.”

10-15-18 Virginia Mercury. There’s a lot to like in Northam’s energy plan, but missed opportunities abound. “There is a lot to like in the Northam administration’s new Virginia Energy Plan, starting with what is not in it. The plan doesn’t throw so much as a bone to the coal industry, and the only plug for fracked gas comes in the discussion of alternatives to petroleum in transportation. The 2018 Energy Plan is all about energy efficiency, solar, onshore wind, offshore wind, clean transportation and reducing carbon emissions. That’s a refreshing break from the “all of the above” trope that got us into the climate pickle we’re in today. Welcome to the 21st century, Virginia. But speaking of climate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released a special report that makes it clear we need “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. That’s only half again the amount of warming that has already brought us melting glaciers, a navigable Arctic Ocean, larger and more destructive hurricanes and, here in Virginia, the swampiest summer in memory. The fact that things are guaranteed to get worse before they get better (if they get better) is not a happy thought. Perhaps no Virginia politician today has the courage to rise to the challenge the IPCC describes. Certainly, Gov. Northam shows no signs of transforming into a rapid-change kind of leader. But as we celebrate the proposals in his energy plan that would begin moving us away from our fossil-fuel past, we also have to recognize that none of them go nearly far enough. And missed opportunities abound. Let’s start with the high points, though.”

10-15-18 Technician [NC State Univ] OP-ED: The injustices of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. ““The project does not threaten any federally protected species and is consistent with the public use of the Blue Ridge Parkway,” reads an Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) release update on their website. While it is true that there are plans to build the pipeline underneath the parkway to preserve the view and surrounding environment, what we do not see is the damage that is caused by the work required to place the pipeline underneath the parkway. First and foremost, Dominion and the many agencies they are working with are not being transparent with the public. They have proposed to build underneath the parkway by use of horizontal directional drilling; however, they have given us no further information on the area or amount of removal required for such a task. It is important to be aware of the risks that may occur during the building process, not only the aftermath.

10-14-18 Fayetteville Observer. ‘Robeson Rises’ pipeline documentary wins Indigo Moon Film Festival award. “Michael Pogoloff didn’t know much about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline before he became involved in a documentary focusing on resistance to the project. And when he started working on the film, he only expected to help edit it. But the expected contribution of some others didn’t work out, and “Robeson Rises” became Pogoloff’s directorial debut. On Sunday, it won the Juried Award for Documentary Short at the Indigo Moon Film Festival. ‘It was a huge opportunity that fell in my lap and also a huge responsibility that fell on my shoulders,’ he said. Pogoloff said the documentary shows how the natural gas pipeline will disproportionately impact Native Americans and low-income residents. He said it shows how some in Robeson County’s diverse and tight-knit community have resisted the project.”

10-12-18 Roanoke Times. Flood carries a piece of the Mountain Valley Pipeline into the hands of opposing landowner. “It’s one thing for rain to wash mud and sediment away from where the Mountain Valley Pipeline is being built; that’s happened many times. But when part of the pipe gets swept away, that’s another story. It happened Thursday on Dale Angle’s cornfield in Franklin County. And Angle — who has been complaining for months about runoff from construction damaging his land — says he’s not ready to give Mountain Valley its pipe back. ‘They called this morning wanting me to sign a permission slip’ that would allow company workers onto his property to retrieve two 80-foot sections of steel pipe that floated away, Angle said Friday. ‘I said I couldn’t do it right now. They’ve done destroyed enough of my property. I’m not going to let them do it again.’”

10-12-18 Blue Virginia. Video: Heavy Rains Turn Pristine Streams to “River of Sediment” Thanks to Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction Activities. “This is a sample of the destruction being wrought by the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Franklin County- pipeline route turned into a river of sediment and floating debris and pipes. When Ralph Northam and his DEQ say all is good, they are lying.”

10-11-18 Vice.com. The Quiet but Furious Nationwide War Against Pipelines. “From Appalachia to Louisiana, mostly ignored by the media, activists have been putting themselves in the path of bulldozers. …. ‘When the pipeline company came around, folks just didn’t buy the deal,’ she said. ‘People have been doing everything they can to stop it.’”

10-11-18 Roanoke Times. Letter: Pipelines, landslides and explosions. “On September 10, a 24-inch natural gas pipeline exploded in Beaver County, north of Pittsburgh. Fortunately, no lives were lost, though one family narrowly escaped their home before it was destroyed. Six high-tension electric towers were brought down by the blast causing 1,500 customers to lose electric service (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 10). Why should we care about this? The Revolution Pipeline is brand new, still in the commissioning phase and not yet operating commercially. Doubtless, officials from Energy Transfer Partners would have described it as a “state of the art, best in class” modern pipeline, just as officials from Trans-Canada described the Leach XPress pipeline that exploded in West Virginia on June 7, six months after it was commissioned. Preliminary investigations indicate that both of these pipeline explosions were caused by soil movement that undermined the buried pipeline, stressing it and causing it to break. In both cases, the soil movement was caused by heavy rains on steep slopes. According to the director of the county conservation district, these erosion and sedimentation controls were installed as designed, ‘but they were not working.’ …. Almost 50 years ago, landslides and flooding caused by Hurricane Camille’s heavy rains caused 124 documented deaths in Nelson County. Now, with Hurricane Florence fresh in our minds, we find no comfort in Dominion’s claims that their “state of the art, best in class” erosion control measures will hold the soil on our steep slopes and prevent pipeline ruptures.”

10-11-18 The Recorder. More work needed protect from pipeline construction. Publication of a lengthy and detailed letter sent Oct. 2 to Phil Phifer, assistant regional director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Services, Northeast Region, regarding the revised biological opinion on endangered species for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

10-10-18 Roanoke Times. A message for pipeline workers. “Maybe, as this upcoming round of unprecedented rains approach, brought on in part by fuel-burning-induced climate change, and sends you scrambling to stop your ‘clean energy’ destruction from clogging our waterways and flooding our roads, you will think about job opportunities in solar and wind power. I was brought up in politeness and taught to treat others as I would like to be treated, so please don’t thank me for being a sympathetic human being. But I also ask that you please excuse me if I lose my cool and stand in my yard with my megaphone during one of your quieter moments and ask you to go home and leave us the hell alone.”

10-9-18 Daily Progress. Opinion/Letter: Pipeline risk isn’t covered. “In order to legally drive an automobile, I am required to carry liability insurance. This makes clear that I am responsible for damage to another person’s property, health or life, and provides a way for me to fulfill that responsibility. And yet the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee and the commonwealth of Virginia are asking for no comparable insurance policy from Dominion in its construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Instead, we are offered assurances that everything will be fine, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary. Pipelines and mountaintop forest clearing have caused landslides, spills and explosions, leading to water pollution, injury and death. Dominion signed an agreement with the state to provide $38 million for forest mitigation and $19 million for water quality. But this simply absolves Dominion of any responsibility for further damages; it does nothing for damages beyond the mitigation amount, and does not account for other kinds of ecological and financial damages. Meanwhile, Dominion is able to offer its shareholders something that is termed a ‘sleep well at night’ stock because the profits are guaranteed due to its ‘government sanctioned monopoly with a locked in customer base’ and the ability to pass construction costs to customers through higher rates.”

10-9-18 Roanoke Times. Main: What’s good for Dominion isn’t good for Virginia. “But there’s another reason Virginia’s leaders have rolled over in the face of Dominion’s destructive and expensive pipeline, and that’s our government’s long history of favoring business interests over those of ordinary residents. Every year our leaders celebrate or wring their hands over any movement up or down on the list of the most business-friendly states. Heaven forbid we cede a spot at the top by limiting a corporation’s ability to destroy our environment and exploit consumers. A strong economy is necessary to maintaining a good standard of living for all Virginians, but there is no reason to accept environmental destruction as the price of progress. Job growth in the energy sector today is driven by the solar and wind industries, not fossil fuels. More importantly, a thriving business sector is fully compatible with a strong regulatory environment.”

10-8-18 Daily Tar Heel. Robeson County [NC] activists challenge Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “As construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline progresses, there is controversy in Robeson County about the legality of the portion of the project intended to run through the county. ”

10-8-18 Laurinburg Exchange [NC]. ‘Mitigation’ money from Atlantic Coast Pipeline nowhere in sight. “Eight North Carolina school districts tapped to split $57.8 million from Atlantic Coast Pipeline developers aren’t likely to see that money anytime soon. Pipeline partners haven’t paid the state because a memorandum of understanding negotiated with Gov. Roy Cooper includes conditions that haven’t been satisfied. Court challenges against pipeline construction filed by environmental groups threaten to prolong the wait. ‘At this time, no funds have been paid to the state,’ Duke Energy spokeswoman Tammie McGee told Carolina Journal by email. The first installment was due July 24. ‘We remain committed to fulfilling our obligations under the mitigation agreement,’ McGee said, once the terms are met. McGee said the agreement among Cooper and pipeline partners called for half of the $57.8 million to be paid to the state when construction authority was granted for the entire pipeline, and construction was not tied up by a court order or ‘a reasonable risk’ of being halted by court order. ‘The remainder will be provided when the project is placed into commercial service,’ McGee said.”

10-8-18 Public News Service. Pipelines Stop and Go as Court Rules Permits Issued In Haste. “Construction on two huge gas pipelines through West Virginia and Virginia has repeatedly stopped and restarted, as the 4th federal circuit court stalls permits. Last week the court vacated a Clean Water Act permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The court had also stopped Atlantic Coast Pipeline work on national forest land. Agencies and the companies are pressing for the permits to be reissued. Charlottesville, Virginia, attorney David Sligh is working with some of the conservation groups that have challenged the permits. He said they are pleased to see the court step in to stop permits that critics say should never have been issued. ‘But a lot of damage is going on out there on the ground,’ Sligh said. ‘And the more of that that happens, the more leverage there will be for the companies to say, “Hey, you can’t really stop us. It’s too far along now.”‘”

10-7-18 News Virginian. Opinion: The rich have entitlements most of us don’t. “Leona Helmsley was quoted as saying ‘only little people pay taxes.’ Which is more an attitude than a statement of literal fact. But we get what she means. The rich have a certain sense of entitlement. I don’t think this is news but rather a restatement of today’s Golden Rule, ‘Those with the gold, rule.’ Virginia has its own version of Leona Helmsley: Dominion Energy. They surely and smugly must believe, ‘laws are only for the little people.’ They have used substantial amounts of money for influencing how laws are, and are not, applied to them. …. One place Dominion is stymied a bit is Augusta County. They haven’t yet given Redskin Tickets, golf outings or large dollar donations to members of the BZA, so they are bound by the same rules as the rest of us. Finding themselves now at the mercy of five of the ‘little people’ is discomforting. In seeking approval of a pipe storage and distribution center, they have tried bullying (this is going to happen whether you like it or not), they have tried dissembling (FERC gave us approval to leave toxic waste on site) and misstatements of motive (we want to do what is best for Augusta County). They have now failed twice to get approval. When the wheels aren’t greased the process slows as people take time to think things through. We expect Dominion to keep poking to have their way but for now the dam holds.”

10-6-18 13NewsNow.com. Pipeline protesters hold vigil at Suffolk home facing eminent domain. “People gathered to have a vigil on a Suffolk couple’s land where the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is projected to go. Paulette and Clay Johnson bought this land nearly 12 years ago, and now they say they’re losing it to eminent domain. ‘Eminent domain, which is the taking of a private owner’s property. This is our dream, this is a dream for us. We planted these trees just to have a forest next to us,’ said Paulette Johnson. The Johnsons held a vigil for the land they might lose, and community members came out to walk the paths and admire the trees. ‘We planted about 3,000 lob lobby pine trees and 500 cedar trees that we put around the perimeter, we estimate if it’s 100 feet wide by 600 feet long — that’s 600 trees that will be taken out,’ said Clay Johnson. The Johnsons got Joseph Sherman, a lawyer to look at the eminent domain situation in their case. ‘The United States Constitution gives private property owners two guarantees: that their private property won’t be taken unless it’s a private use and two that you will get paid just compensation,’ said Joseph Sherman.”

10-5-18 Roanoke Times. Stream-crossing permit suspended for Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has suspended a permit allowing the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross more than 500 streams and wetlands in Southwest Virginia. The action comes three days after a similar permit for West Virginia water crossings was vacated by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Uncertainty about the process prompted the corps to pull the Virginia permit to ‘await clarity on this issue,’ William Walker, chief of the regulatory branch of the corps’ Norfolk division, wrote in a letter Friday to Mountain Valley officials. ‘Effective immediately, you must stop all activities being done in reliance upon the authorization under the NWP,’ the letter stated, referring to a Nationwide Permit 12 authorization that was issued to Mountain Valley in January.”

10-5-18 Daily Progress. Nelson family invites public to camp along Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s path. “‘And then, we have the pipeline,’ [Richard Averitt] said. In the spring of 2015, their proposed resort property suddenly was bisected by the new route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 42-inch-wide natural gas pipeline that Dominion Energy and its partners propose to build from West Virginia to southeastern Virginia and North Carolina. What’s more, the pipeline would run through Averitt’s sister’s land, 300 feet from her home and directly across from his own, with a 125-foot-wide construction right-of-way facing his front door. ‘And I don’t have any choice,’ Averitt, now 48, said in an interview at the Shockoe Bottom office of Digital ReLab, his technology business based in Afton. The Averitts have chosen to fight the $6.5 billion project and its use of eminent domain to condemn property in the pipeline’s path. They’ve also decided to open the proposed resort property to people to camp for free the next three weekends — beginning on Friday — to learn about the pipeline, as well as the landscape they say it will forever change. ‘The goal is really simple — education,’ he said. The camp, sponsored with theAveritts by Friends of Nelson and the Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice, will feature presentations by pipeline opponents….”

10-5-18 Virginia Mercury. Northam’s new ‘Conservation Cabinet’ aims to coordinate environmental protection across state agencies but probably won’t tackle pipelines. “Gov. Ralph Northam announced the creation of a ‘Governor’s Conservation Cabinet’ Thursday intended to better protect the state’s natural resources and improve environmental quality. But there’s one thing that the group likely won’t deal with: the two major pipeline projects that have become the most contentious environmental issues in Virginia. ‘I think that we have a process in place already to deal with the pipeline(s),’ Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler said in an interview. He’ll chair the new cabinet. ‘I don’t foresee that being a topic of conversation, but if folks bring it up, they bring it up.’ The cabinet hasn’t met yet so it’s not clear what the exact scope of its work will be, Strickler said. The group does plan to meet before the end of the year.”

10-4-18 Roanoke Times. Blue Ridge Caucus: Del. Chris Hurst honored for pipeline opposition efforts. “The Virginia League of Conservation Voters has honored Del. Chris Hurst, D-Blacksburg, for his efforts at combating the two major natural gas pipelines being built in Virginia. The group presented Hurst with the 2018 Legislative Leadership Award in Newport on Wednesday. Days into the session as a freshman delegate, Hurst, along with other lawmakers from the Roanoke and New River valleys, introduced a suite of bills addressing the pipelines.”

10-4-18 NBC29. Drones monitor pipeline construction and may hint at what is to come. “Anti-pipeline activists in Nelson County believe that pipeline construction in West Virginia has a lot to reveal. With photos and videos taken from the sky, activists claim they have seen structures that do not comply with erosion and sediment control requirements and sites where construction proceeded without a valid certificate. Ben Cunningham, a resident of Afton, operated his drone to capture those sightings along the path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. He is a part of the Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative, or CSI. ‘Our mission is to hold our regulators and these ACP builders’ feet to the fire when they say that no harm will come to us through the construction of this project,’ Cunningham said.”

10-4-18 Energy News Network. Second North Carolina community passes anti-pipeline measure. “The town council in Stoneville, North Carolina, passed a resolution against the proposed extension of the Mountain Valley Pipeline on Tuesday, becoming the second local government in the state to oppose the interstate natural gas project. The closely divided vote came after public testimony and the delivery of about 65 signatures from residents of this 1,000-person hamlet, a tobacco town turned tourist destination just south of the Virginia border. ‘We have some very educated citizens who’ve done a lot of research and have spoken before this board about the possible, potential negative effects of this pipeline,’ said council member Jerry Smith, who introduced the resolution. ‘I think we should listen to our citizens.’”

10-4-18 ProPublica. Another Court Ruling Against a West Virginia Pipeline, Then Another Effort to Change the Rules. “Time and again, opponents have tried to delay a natural gas pipeline that would stretch from Northern West Virginia to Southern Virginia, using lawsuits to stall permit approvals or construction. And time and again, state and federal regulators have stepped in to remove such hurdles, even if it has meant rewriting their own rules. Now, the process looks to be repeating itself. On Tuesday [October 2, 2018], a federal appeals court blocked a key permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 300-mile natural gas project that’s known as MVP. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wrongly approved a permit that allowed MVP to temporarily dam four of West Virginia’s rivers so the pipeline can be buried beneath the streambeds. But rather than pausing or rethinking the project, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has already been rewriting the state construction standards for pipeline river crossings that prompted the appeals court to block the plan. Once that happens, MVP will apply for a new Clean Water Act permit, which it expects to secure in early 2019, said Natalie Cox, a spokeswoman for the pipeline’s developers.”

10-4-18 News Leader. Augusta County zoning board tables Dominion Pipeline storage yard, yet again. “The Augusta County Board of Zoning tabled the potential Dominion Pipeline storage yard yet again during its Thursday meeting. Only three members of the five member board were present during the meeting, which allowed applicants to have their requests tabled. …. This is the fifth time and second location Dominion Energy has proposed a special use permit for a staging yard to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”

10-3-18 S&P Global. MVP hopes for new permit in early 2019, after 4th Circuit action strikes W.Va. authorization. “After a federal appeals court struck a general permit for West Virginia water crossings for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the project developer said it expects to secure a new permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers early in 2019. An order Tuesday by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals struck the general permit for stream and water crossings that was in place for 160 miles of pipeline in West Virginia. ‘[T]he MVP team is evaluating options to understand its ability to continue with construction activities that do not include stream and wetland crossings along this portion of the route,’ MVP said in a statement. The approximately 300-mile pipeline is seen as a key conduit between Appalachian supplies and downstream markets, including LNG exports. Environmentalists who prevailed in the case were quick to argue work must stop on the full route. ‘Because the MVP certificate from [FERC] specifies that all necessary permits must be in place before the project can proceed anywhere, MVP must also halt work along its entire route,’ Sierra Club said in a statement late Tuesday.

10-2-18 Gazette-Mail. 4th Circuit Court vacates Mountain Valley Pipeline permit. “A federal appeals court on Tuesday vacated a key Clean Water Act permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, saying regulators lacked legal authority to ‘substitute’ one kind of construction standard for another that was more friendly to the natural gas pipeline project. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a three-page, unanimous and unsigned order four days after hearing oral arguments in a case brought by the Sierra Club, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition and other citizen organizations over federal approval of the 300-mile-long pipeline from Wetzel County, West Virginia, into Pittsylvania County, Virginia. The order offered few details on the court’s reasoning and said its ruling would ‘be more fully explained in a forthcoming opinion.’ The court did say that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “lacked authority” to substitute one type of requirement for construction of pipeline river crossings for an existing standard that environmental groups had argued in court could not be used by Mountain Valley Pipeline.”

10-1-18 The Connection. Letter to the Editor: Local Issue For Ratepayers. “Until recently I was like many Northern Virginians who are unaware of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and its detrimental effects on our state. This 600-mile pipeline will carry “fracked gas” from West Virginia to North Carolina, passing through our Blue Ridge Mountains — some of the most breathtakingly beautiful and oldest growth forest, despoiling it and its fish and wildlife habitats. Dominion Power has been treating this as a ‘local issue’ affecting only those jurisdictions it runs through. Yet we, the Dominion ratepayers are going to pay the bill for this monstrosity of last century energy technology and the irreplaceable loss of beauty in our state.”

10-1-18 WVNews. Dominion Energy’s lesser known Supply Head project will compliment Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Thanks to an ongoing Supply Header project by Dominion Energy, 37.5 miles of natural gas pipeline will soon connect Marcellus and Utica Shale supplies in West Virginia and Pennsylvania to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The project, which has been under construction since May, will see the pipe run through Harrison, Doddridge, Tyler, Wetzel and Marshall counties, and will give the Atlantic Coast Pipeline access to more natural gas than ever before, according to Dominion Resources State Policy Manager Robert Orndorff. ‘This gives the Atlantic Coast Pipeline access to supplies in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia through the pipeline system, which actually starts at the Hastings Extraction plant in Wetzel County,’ Orndorff said. According to the Supply Header project overview, the project will put down 3.9 miles of 30-inch pipeline in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, while the remaining 33.6 miles of piping will be built in West Virginia.”