Stop Fracked Gas Pipeline In VA, WV & NC!

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC): Docket # CP15-554

Actionalert_actionnetwork_banner

The proposed 600-mile fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is on its way to being built – unless we all work together to stop this unnecessary and economically and environmentally devastating project. Under the new federal administration, this pipeline will be expedited and built as quickly as possible – despite overwhelming local opposition. We need to act now and submit comments by April 6th.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is responsible for authorizing the construction, operation, and maintenance of interstate natural gas transmission pipeline facilities. As part of its decision-making process, FERC prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), issued in December, to assess the potential environmental impacts that could result from the construction and operation of the ACP. It is available at https://www.ferc.gov/industries/gas/enviro/eis/2016/12-30-16-DEIS.asp.

Not surprisingly, given FERC’s history of rubberstamping pipeline projects, it concluded that any impacts on the environment could be mitigated so that “the majority of project effects would be reduced to less-than-significant levels.”

In order for the ACP to be built across national forest lands, the US Forest Service must issue a Special Use Permit and amend both national forest management plans for the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests to

  • create a permanent new utility corridor through core forested areas, headwater streams and recreational areas, and
  • relax established standards that protect soil, water, old growth, and recreational resources.

Now is the time for people to comment on the grossly inadequate and incomplete DEIS. The burden is on FERC to fully investigate the environmental risks and costs associated with the ACP, including all new and supplemental information. FERC has not done this.

The public can submit comments on the DEIS (Docket # CP15-554) to FERC by April 6th, including comments on the request to the Forest Service for a special use permit.

There are several ways you can comment:

1. You can sign this petition and we will submit it to FERC.

2. You can file comments electronically using the eComment feature on the FERC’s website (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project. (Docket # CP15-554)

3. You can file longer comments with attachments electronically by using the eFiling feature on FERC’s website (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. New eFiling users must first registrer by clicking on “eRegister.” If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing” as the filing type. (Docket # CP15-554)

4. You can file a paper copy of your comments (Docket # CP15-554) by mailing them to the following address:

Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

888 First Street NE, Room 1A

Washington, DC 20426

In your comments, important points to include:

1. The ACP is not needed to assure needed future energy supplies. Numerous studies have concluded there is sufficient capacity in existing pipelines. Furthermore, building new pipelines are unnecessary in the longer term because renewables (wind and solar) are the predominate source of new generating capacity being built in the nation.

2. The ACP would not bring jobs and economic benefits to affected communities. The people hired to construct the pipeline would not be local to VA, WV or NC, but would be contracted skilled workers from outside the area. The permanent positions created would be miniscule compared to the jobs permanently lost due to businesses that would be disrupted, particularly in the tourism industry. Further, depressed property value and reduced demand for affected real estate would adversely affect localities.

3. The ACP would devastate the environment of one of the nation’s important ecosystems. It would:

  • Threaten the integrity and safety of water supplies in the immediately affected communities and other communities that are dependent upon water originating in the Allegheny-Blue Ridge region;
  • Endanger the structural character and seriously increase the possibility of long-term erosion in the steep mountain terrain through which the routes would pass;
  • Present serious safety risks because of the proven instability of the karst topography that these proposed routes would traverse, as well as the danger of pipeline failures;
  • Harm the habitat of many protected and unique species of plants and animals;
  • Compromise the intended uses of public lands, particularly the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests; and
  • Degrade the usefulness of affected agriculture and forest resources.

4. The ACP will deprive people of their property rights by using eminent domain for private gain.

5. The U.S. Forest Service should not approve the special use permit nor amend the national forest Land and Resource Management Plans for the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests. Amendment of the forest plans to establish a new utility corridor would exempt the project from several Forest Service standards:

  • Large scale excavation on high-hazard areas without detailed plans for prevention of erosion, alteration of runoff, and landslides;
  • Damage to water supplies and high-quality headwater streams, including native brook trout streams;
  • Fragmentation of high-integrity core forests that are home to many rare and sensitive species, causing loss of habitat that cannot be mitigated;
  • Crossing the Appalachian Trail corridor using a high-risk and environmentally damaging plan;
  • Degradation of scenic and recreational values in our national forests.

6. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is incomplete and fails to meet commonsense safety guidelines and the minimum legal requirements of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). FERC should reject the Atlantic Coast Pipeline application.

Thank you for taking action to stop this unnecessary and economically and environmentally devastating fracked gas pipeline project. Please submit comments by April 6th. Do it today by signing this petition!

=====

Resources & Background

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (APC) is a natural gas pipeline project that has been proposed by Dominion Resources, Duke Energy and their partner companies. The proposed 600-mile fracked gas would cross 21 miles of the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests. If built, it would be the largest pipeline of its kind to cross Virginia and West Virginia, and the first pipeline of this scale to be constructed across steep, forested mountain terrain. It would be 42 inches in diameter, requiring excavation of an 8 to 12-foot-deep trench and a 125-foot-wide construction corridor. It would traverse steep mountain slopes and fragile karst topography, presenting a potential hazard to regional water supplies but without benefit to the communities and citizens it would affect.

Summary of DEIS: http://www.abralliance.org/deis-what-is-it-whats-in-it-what-you-can-do/

More info on impact to national forests.

Story map on impact to national forests

To: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC): Docket # CP15-554
From: [Your Name]

FERC's conclusion that any impacts on the environment of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline could be mitigated so that “the majority of project effects would be reduced to less-than-significant levels” is not supported by the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is grossly inadequate and incomplete. The burden is on FERC to fully investigate the environmental risks and costs associated with the ACP, including all new and supplemental information. FERC has not done this.

1. The ACP is not needed to assure needed future energy supplies. Numerous studies have concluded there is sufficient capacity in existing pipelines. Furthermore, building new pipelines are unnecessary in the longer term because renewables (wind and solar) are the predominate source of new generating capacity being built in the nation.

2. The ACP would not bring jobs and economic benefits to affected communities. The people hired to construct the pipeline would not be local to VA, WV or NC, but would be contracted skilled workers from outside the area. The permanent positions created would be miniscule compared to the jobs permanently lost due to businesses that would be disrupted, particularly in the tourism industry. Further, depressed property value and reduced demand for affected real estate would adversely affect localities.

3. The ACP would devastate the environment of one of the nation’s important ecosystems. It would:

* Threaten the integrity and safety of water supplies in the immediately affected communities and other communities that are dependent upon water originating in the Allegheny-Blue Ridge region;
* Endanger the structural character and seriously increase the possibility of long-term erosion in the steep mountain terrain through which the routes would pass;
* Present serious safety risks because of the proven instability of the karst topography that these proposed routes would traverse, as well as the danger of pipeline failures;
* Harm the habitat of many protected and unique species of plants and animals;
Compromise the intended uses of public lands, particularly the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests; and
* Degrade the usefulness of affected agriculture and forest resources.

4. The ACP will deprive people of their property rights by using eminent domain for private gain.

5. The U.S. Forest Service should not approve the special use permit nor amend the national forest Land and Resource Management Plans for the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests. Amendment of the forest plans to establish a new utility corridor would exempt the project from several Forest Service standards:

* Large scale excavation on high-hazard areas without detailed plans for prevention of erosion, alteration of runoff, and landslides;
* Damage to water supplies and high-quality headwater streams, including native brook trout streams;
* Fragmentation of high-integrity core forests that are home to many rare and sensitive species, causing loss of habitat that cannot be mitigated;
* Crossing the Appalachian Trail corridor using a high-risk and environmentally damaging plan;
* Degradation of scenic and recreational values in our national forests.

6. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is incomplete and fails to meet commonsense safety guidelines and the minimum legal requirements of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). FERC should reject the Atlantic Coast Pipeline application.