Comments by APNG Co-Chair Charlotte L. Rea at Nelson County Scoping Meeting on March 18, 2015 regarding Docket Number: PF15-6

Federal regulations (18 CFR Section 380.15(d))1 require pipeline builders to consider the use, widening or extension of existing rights-of-way for building natural gas pipelines.  These regulations also say that pipeline routes should avoid historic sites, national landmarks and parks, wetlands, recreational and wildlife areas, forested areas and steep slopes, if at all possible. 

Yet, despite our briefings to FERC, on-site visit, and communications with Dominion, Dominion continues to propose multiple routes through Nelson County filled with these sensitive areas. There is no route through Nelson that does not put private property owners or the County’s economy and water supplies at risk.  

A US Department of Energy study, (“Natural Gas Infrastructure Implications of Increased Demand from the Electric Power Sector”)2, published last month found the need for additional natural gas infrastructure will decline for the next fifteen years and that better use of existing natural gas infrastructure would reduce the need for new pipelines.

 A recent US Energy Information Agency report3 showed that demand for natural gas is declining in every sector except export and industrial use—neither of which can be considered as being for public convenience and necessity. Nelson County has no need for the natural gas and will have no access to it.

All of the route options through Nelson are strictly on new private greenspace or sensitive public lands. There is no private landowner who will be made whole if their property is confiscated through eminent domain since the landowners will have to pay out of pocket to prove the value of their loss. 

In light of the FERC guidance and the DOE report cited above and the unacceptable impacts to Nelson County this pipeline would cause if routed through the County, request FERC require the ACP LLC to:

a. Provide a route for the pipeline which uses existing pipeline infrastructure and existing utility rights of way to the maximum extent possible thus minimizing the use of private property and eminent domain.

b. Show for every wetland impacted by the ACP what measures were taken to avoid the wetland and why a route could not be found to avoid it.

c. Provide a detailed demand analysis proving the domestic residential and commercial need for a pipeline of this size and the geographic location of the customer base.  Just citing contracts with other natural gas utilities or midstream companies who can later use the gas for export or industrial use is not acceptable.  It just makes a mockery of the National Environmental Policy Actenvironmental review process and violates the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.

d. Certify that none of the natural gas transmitted by the ACP will be used for export by the ACP LLC or other natural gas utilities or midstream companies serving as its customers, partners or subcontractors.

e. Prepare a plan showing how private property owners whose land is confiscated through the use of eminent domain will be made whole—i.e. will not incur any financial loss as a result of the confiscation of their property.  

 

Reference sites:

1https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/18/380.15)

2http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/02/f19/DOE%20Report%20Natural%20Gas%20Infrastructure%20V_02-02.pdf

3http://marketrealist.com/2015/03/natural-gasconsumption-eia-predicts/

Submitted by:

Charlotte L. Rea

Afton, VA 22920

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anti-Pipeline Group Readies to Post 1k Signs in Nelson, Augusta

Members of All Pain No Gain, a group fighting against Dominion Resource's proposed natural gas pipeline, are rallying together to distribute signs in the community.

APNG received a delivery of about 1,000 anti-pipeline signs Thursday afternoon. The group plans to begin distributing those signs along Route 29 and 151 in Augusta and Nelson Counties Friday morning.

"We want people to be aware of what's here, and start thinking about the impact on their life. And is this the right place for what Dominion wants to do here," said James Klemic with APNG.

Leaders of the anti-pipeline movement are especially motivated to spread their message in light of what they say was a disappointing meeting Wednesday night in Nelson Co with representatives with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

"If it had not been a stacked situation, you would have expected a normal distribution. Would have been a little bit more peppered," said Joyce Burton with APNG.

Read more here.

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Our government and Dominion doesn’t seem to understand. THIS IS MY LAND.

"Thank you. My name is Andrew Gantt. I own some 800 acres of land near Wingina, in the Southern part of Nelson County. I have a ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, spent my professional career as an international economist working with the International Monetary Fund. I have visited 77 countries in Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia, and Latin America during my lifetime, given advice on economic policy to perhaps two thirds of these. These countries include dictatorships, communist and socialist countries, and a very few true democracies.

In a vast majority of countries we find situations where some combination of government and non-government interests expropriates land from unwilling citizens. Usually, the reasons are bogus—those in power simply want money or profits they derive from stealing land.

Unfortunately, that is the present case in Nelson County. Dominion wants our land, whether we wish to part with it or not.  They have greased the wheels to accomplish this by paying off politicians. Our present governor has received at least $150,000 from Dominion, other politicians lesser amounts. This is not altruistic giving. Dominion expects a quid quo pro for this gift. In its essence, it’s a bribe. In return, Dominion has gotten the ability to write laws that benefit it in the energy area. These laws are rubber stamped by the Va legislature, then passed onto our happy governor for his signature. Given these bought mandates, Dominion comes to me and says in essence, “We’re coming on your land. But tell us your “sensitive” places and we’ll try to avoid them.”  

Somehow, our government and Dominion doesn’t seem to understand. THIS IS MY LAND. My family has owned this land continuously  since 1738. We have cared for it: run it as a conservation easement. We have managed to hold onto it through family wealth and poverty. The farm trees produce oxygen enough for 6400 people. We run it as a nature preserve: our sightings include even a cougar. There is little or no national justification for Dominion’s planned expropriation. We are awash in a sea of energy. The pipeline is not necessary. And, perhaps more importantly, there are many alternative routes which do not destroy new land. One such is the old canal bed originally called the Richmond and Kanawha Canal which follows the route that Dominion is contemplating from Covington to Richmond. This canal was built by my ancestor Joseph Carrington Cabell. There are power lines. There are median strips in interstates. There are many alternatives to my estimated 4000 households who will be disrupted by Dominion on its present route.

 I DO NOT WANT DOMINION ON MY PLACE. So far, I have spent some $20,000 in my efforts to say “No.” I should be able to say “No”. But, as Churchill famously said when England was in extremis faced with its own expropriater—Germany.

“We shall go on until the end…..We shall defend our [land] whatever the cost may be….We shall fight in the fields and streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” Dominion knows that I am willing to do whatever it takes to defend my land."

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No Pipeliners Radio Spot

Via Monticello Media 

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Campaign aimed at altering Va. route of natural gas pipeline

Opponents of the proposed Virginia route of a 550-mile natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina have launched a campaign to enlist more allies in their fight.

The “All Pain, No Gain Campaign” delivered that message Sunday in paid media spots in central and western Virginia markets.

The campaign contends that everyone in Virginia and even Washington, D.C., has a stake in the ultimate path of the 42-inch Atlantic Coast Pipeline because it would carve up private property and scenic vistas and threaten water supplies.

The campaign wants the pipeline shifted to existing rights of way.

Dominion Resources is partnering with other utilities to build the $5 billion pipeline, which would cross the Blue Ridge Mountains to deliver gas from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to the Southeast.

Read more here

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Alter Va. route of natural-gas pipeline is goal of campaign

Opponents of the proposed Virginia route of a 550-mile natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina have launched a campaign to enlist more allies in their fight.

The “All Pain, No Gain Campaign” delivered that message Sunday in paid media spots in central and western Virginia markets.

The campaign contends that everyone in Virginia and even Washington, D.C., has a stake in the ultimate path of the 42-inch Atlantic Coast Pipeline because it would carve up private property and scenic vistas and threaten water supplies.

The campaign wants the pipeline shifted to existing rights of way.

Dominion Resources is partnering with other utilities to build the $5 billion pipeline, which would cross the Blue Ridge Mountains to deliver gas from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to the Southeast.

Read more here.

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Roanoke Times editorial on Mountain Valley Pipeline

Sometimes, the view from a distance clarifies priorities that are best understood from the view up close.

At ground level, the running controversy over a proposed natural gas pipeline through western Virginia looks simply like a heated dispute over property rights by landowners who,

understandably, don’t want their patch of paradise disturbed for a reason not of their choosing.

This is not unfamiliar territory in the region, though in this case the dispute has broader significance than most.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline would run underground across the mountains of West Virginia into Virginia and through Giles, Craig, Montgomery, Roanoke and Franklin counties into Pittsylvania County. In short, through a beautiful and ecologically significant slice of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Thus the passionate resistance of landowners and environmental activists has met what might be the unstoppable force of a fossil fuel industry that is deemed an essential factor in the nation’s continued economic prosperity.

The satellite view puts the regional conflict in the far larger context of national energy policy and the global threat of climate change.

At last week’s Forum on Natural Gas Pipelines in Roanoke, the overarching issue was framed neatly by Joe Lovett, executive director of Appalachian Mountain Advocates: It is a race between renewables and fossil fuels.

Read more here

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Alternative pipeline routes create new heartaches in Nelson County

The pavement turns to dirt where Wheeler’s Cove Road begins in Elma. It winds upward along a rushing creek through mountain hollows in eastern Nelson County, a few miles as the crow flies from the native roots of “The Waltons” television series.

Electricity and telephone service came because the families who have lived here for generations petitioned for it, but now they face an intrusion of modern life they say they do not want or need as Dominion Transmission Inc. plots a path for a 42-inch, high-pressure pipeline to carry natural gas from the shale fields of West Virginia to the Virginia and North Carolina coasts.

“We had to fight to get the good stuff up here,” said Wisteria Johnson, whose family has lived here for 120 years of written history and many more of oral tradition. “The bad stuff is coming in without any invitation.”

“It doesn’t give anything to the people it’s going through,” she said. “The electricity gave us light. The phone gave us communication. The pipeline doesn’t give us anything except heartbreak.”

Read more here

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Augusta and Nelson Co. Residents Release Ad Countering Pipeline

A new campaign is hitting the airwaves promoting a message that Dominion's natural gas pipeline will bring all pain and no gain to Augusta and Nelson counties.

An ad for the campaign states, "This pipeline route threatens our environment and the beauty of our mountains. Our property rights will be taken away. The potential for catastrophic explosions puts our communities at risk."

Organizers are pumping $1 million into the All Pain, No Gain Campaign to fight Dominion and demand the energy company find a different route for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The goal of the All Pain, No Gain campaign is to bring together people across Virginia to make sure their state and federal lawmakers are involved in the fight.

Leaders of the campaign say the natural gas pipeline would threaten the natural resources of central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, especially when it comes to water quality.

Read more here

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SORRELLS and REA: Dominion’s Pipeline Proposal is All Pain, No Gain for Virginia

For Virginians who would live and work in its path, Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is a 42-inch, high-pressure natural gas behemoth that will threaten our safety, our property rights and our livelihood for generations to come. Every route Dominion is currently proposing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) poses new and unnecessary risks throughout the commonwealth. Landowners’ rights are ignored; precious water, environmental and historic resources threatened; public safety compromised; and farms and properties devalued.

Dominion says it is committed to safety, communities, ethics and the environment. This is an obvious distortion of the facts and downplaying of the undeniable risks of the ACP. On the ground, the corporation is so big and relies so heavily on subcontractors that it can’t make good on these promises. Dominion has never before constructed, operated or maintained a pipeline the size of the ACP, increasing the likelihood of leaks or deadly explosions. The proposed route travels across steep and densely forested mountains and land prone to sinkholes, erosion and flooding, which could result in water contamination, landslides, or pipeline breach. In addition, emergency responders — including many volunteers who sometimes are not at the station — are inadequately trained to handle a gas leak or pipeline fire, so countless lives could be at risk.

Well over 90 percent of the proposed route slices through private property; the rest is on public lands. Currently 100 percent of the route is in the wrong place. The All Pain, No Gain Campaign, organized by concerned Virginians, is launching a call to action to urge lawmakers to tell Dominion “No!” in regard to the proposed routes and potentially damaging construction plans.

Read more here

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