10 Buses, Hundreds of North and South Carolinians Attend Historic People’s Climate March

Thanks to Becky Bereiter and the TWC news team for seeing us off to New York City and the People’s Climate March as we joined 400,000 folks calling for Climate Action and Climate Justice!! Check back on our website for more national AND rider coverage!

PCM TWC News14 Coverage

Hundreds of North Carolinians Headed to NYC for People’s Climate March

CHARLOTTE — Hundreds of North Carolinians left for New York City Saturday night to take part in what is being called the largest march in history addressing climate change.

More than 100,000 people from around the country are expected at Sunday’s People’s Climate March.

The event comes ahead of next week’s United Nations Climate Summit. World leaders will gather to focus on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen climate resilience.

“I think people are starting to see the severe storms, the flooding, the excess heat, and it’s starting to impact people’s pocketbooks,” said Bill Gupton of the North Carolina Sierra Club. “We have the have the same kind of movement we had with the civil rights movement and the labor movement.”

President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at the summit. He is expected to urge his fellow heads of state to be as ambitious as possible as they negotiate a complicated, global treaty to reduce emissions. The treaty is set to be finalized in 2015.

Demonstrators hope Sunday’s March will help apply public pressure.

“They’re going to see it in the streets and they’re going to realize that this is not just an academic issue,” said Alan Harwick of Greensboro. “This is something that’s affecting real people now, and I think the march will show that.”

Other demonstrations are planned around the world in Delhi, Jakarta, and Rio de Janeiro. The UN Climate Summit is Tuesday.

http://centralnc.twcnews.com/content/news/all_nc_news/712078/hundreds-of-north-carolinians-headed-to-nyc-for-people-s-climate-march/#sthash.VZpY7yO7.dpuf

People’s Climate March – Sept 19 Update

PCM Real Action

Just to confirm, we’ll meet at the Charlotte East Office Community, 5500 Executive Center Drive, Charlotte, NC 28212 (Across from Eastland Mall – Map).  Sign in at 7:30 PM. Bus pulls out at 8:00 PM sharp!

Manhattan Weather Forecast on Sunday – Check Saturday at –  http://www.weather.com/weather/weekend/USKS0358
Low 52/High 80, Sunny, 0% chance of rain!

Our Group. I’m so excited about the group of folks coming on our bus! There will be 55 of us (a full bus) with folks coming from as far away as Cherokee, Chapel Hill, Columbia, and Clemson. Even more impressive are some special environmental activists ages 5, 8, 9, 11 and 14 that will be joining us! Can’t wait to meet them.

Signs, banner, costumes, etc. Can’t wait to see what folks are making. Be wild, be creative, bring noise makers, horns, etc. Feel free to bake some goodies to share or bring some snacks to pass around.

Bus Identification. We’ll be traveling round trip on the same Horizon Coach Lines bus. It will be identified as “Charlotte Bus #2, NC3“.

Arrival in NYC. There will be over 400 buses coming in for the March. Drop off on 86th Street between Columbus Ave and Central Park West. When we arrive I’ll meet the greeter and get instructions before we get off the bus.

Departure from NYC. Our bus, “Charlotte Bus #2, NC3“, will be parked in Area M ­ located on the West side of 11th Ave between W 24th St and W 25th St. You should plan to be at the bus at 5:00 PM and we will depart at 6:00 PM sharp.

Driver tip. The N.C. and S.C. Chapters of the Sierra Club have budgeted for a driver tip. If you would like to add a couple of bucks, we’ll pass the hat on the way back.

Char Bus 2 NC3

I’ll have copies of the instructions, etc for you on the bus.

Call or email me if you have any questions.

Come Tell Charlotte City Council to Protect Our Streams, Lakes, and Rivers

On Monday, September 22, Charlotte City Council has announced a Public Hearing that will, for the most part, determine the future water quality of our area lakes, streams and rivers.

Will you speak out at the Public Hearing on Sept 22nd?

How To Sign Up to Speak at a Council Meeting

Call the City Clerk’s Office at 704-336-2248 and request to speak by giving your name, full address, daytime telephone, and subject. This information is placed on a Speaker’s List for the Mayor to follow during the meeting. During the Council meeting, as your name is called, approach the speaker’s stand and begin. The City Clerk’s timer will ring when your time is up.  See Official Rules below.

Visit the City Clerk’s Office
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 7th Floor
600 East Fourth St.
Charlotte, NC 28202

Web On line Speaker Sign-Up Form

Fax your name, address, daytime phone number and subject to 704-336-7588

City Council meetings are regularly scheduled for Mondays and are held in the Meeting Chamber at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E. Fourth Street. Free parking is available at the Government Center Parking Deck (3rd and Davidson) during City Council meetings.

Arrive by 6:15 PM. Council meeting starts at 6:25 PM.

Re-post from Sustain Charlotte Sept 18, 2014 e-Newsletter

On September 10, the City Council Environment Committee again chose not to recommend low-cost storm drain filters in parking lots on redevelopment sites, despite a compelling presentation from city stormwater staff on their effectiveness in reducing water pollution and their use in other major cities. The filters would reduce the amount of trash, oil, and grease entering our streams. However, they would not trap many of the chemical pollutants in stormwater runoff, nor would they prevent the large pulses of runoff that cause stream erosion.

This means that on October 27, the full City Council will vote on whether or not to extend (for five more years) the option for developers to pay the city a fee rather than comply with our local law that requires on-site control of stormwater runoff to prevent it from polluting and eroding our streams.

We encourage you to attend the public hearing on this policy this coming Monday, September 22, during City Council’s regular 6pm meeting to show public concern over this major threat to our waterways. As stated in Mecklenburg County’s 2012 State of the Environment report, “the discharge of untreated, undetained runoff from impervious surfaces has the greatest negative impact to surface water quality.”  Sustain Charlotte staff will speak at the hearing and we will ask the Council to vote against the five year extension of the payment in lieu of on-site mitigation given its negative impact on the health of our streams. We are seeking local residents to speak in defense of our streams as well.  If you would like to speak at the hearing, please let us know by replying to this email and we will provide you all of the information you need.

To learn more, read Ana McKenzie’s article in this week’s Creative Loafing.

For more information on this issue, see Sept 22: Charlotte Public Hearing – The Future of Area Water Quality, Will Developers Take Control of Our Water Quality?, 81% of Total Mecklenburg Watershed Considered Unfit – Support Strong Stormwater Regulations!, Will Charlotte Continue to Weaken Storm Water Controls? and Charlotte Stormwater Pollution – Harming Our Lakes, Streams and Rivers

People’s Climate March – Charlotte Bus #2 Sept 18 Update

PCM Brune

All systems are go for Saturday!!! It will be a power experience and I’m so glad that you have made the commitment to be a part of it!

First thing, remember that we are expecting A LOT of people so if you want to march with a certain contingent, you have to get there really early! With so many people in one place there will be delays, changes, etc. Remember, be flexible, positive, and have a great time!

In case you missed it, I’ve attached the information packet sent out earlier in the week that has additional details, maps, etc.

THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH CODE OF CONDUCT
Agreed to by the People’s Climate March Host Committee on July 17, 2014.
To encourage the broadest and most diverse involvement possible, to respect our many communities and the important issues we are supporting, to help create a family-friendly mobilization and to help ensure the safety of all participants, we expect everyone taking part in the People’s Climate March on Sept. 21, 2014 to respect the following agreements:

  • We will use no violence (physical or verbal) towards any person.
  • We will not destroy or damage property.
  • We will promote a tone of respect, honesty, transparency, and accountability in our actions.
  • We will not carry anything that can be construed as a weapon, nor possess (or consume) any alcohol or drugs.
  • We will all hold each other accountable to respecting these agreements.

Liability Waivers. All participants on Sierra Club outings are required to sign a standard liability waiver. If you would like to read the liability waiver before you choose to participate in an outing, download a copy at http://charlottesierraclub.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/signinwaiver-with-photo-release.pdf.

Pre-sign in. Thanks to everyone that has completed the rider information! This will make the registration much quicker. If you haven’t done so please go to Charlotte People’s Climate March Bus #2 Rider information .

Manhattan Weather Forecast on Sunday – Check Saturday at –  http://www.weather.com/weather/weekend/USKS0358
Low 54/High 83. Sunny. Chance of rain 10%.

At Home Prep
Make your signs, banner, etc. Make a costume. Be creative!
Practice your musical instrument and noise makers (Yes, they are welcomed)
Make or buy some goodies to share on the bus.
What to bring
Travel light but bring anything you’ll need to make you feel comfortable, safe and ready to march.
Money for meals (Sunday breakfast/lunch/dinner), t-shirts, etc.
Cell phone
For sleeping on the bus – light blanket, small pillow, ear plugs (stored in small bag)
Rain jacket
Pad and pen
Medications
Sunscreen
Bring food – Sunday lunch, snacks, fruit bars, etc.
Water Bottle: Plenty of filtered water on the bus
Signs and banners but NO metal or wood sticks
A sense of humor and compassion
What not to bring
wood, metal or PVC poles
weapons (obviously)
amplified sound systems

Our bus. Horizon Coach Lines of Charlotte is our carrier. It will be the same bus up and back. You can leave things on the bus but Horizon nor the Sierra Club will be responsible for your items. The bus has a bathroom but no WiFi or seat power outlets. NOTE: There will be 3 buses leaving from the same area on Saturday. Be sure to get on the right bus!

Schedule
Meet at 5500 Executive Center Drive at 7:30pm on Saturday the 20th
Depart Charlotte at 8pm!
We will stop outside of NYC for a quick breakfast and allow folks to change and store their gear under the bus.
Arrive in NYC abut 9:00 AM: Drop off on 86th Street between Columbus Ave and Central Park West
The march will line up between 86th and 59th on Central Park West, just north of Columbus Circle. You can enter at Central Park West and 77th St. to join the Sierra Club in the “We Have Solutions” contingent. Greenpeace will be lining up between W 81st St.and W 82nd St. on Central Park West with the Arctic Contingent.
11:30 – 3:30 Participate in the march
3:30 – 5:00 After-march activities
5:00 pm depart march and make way to pick-up location near the bus. Our allotted parking block which will be south and west of 11th Ave. and 34th St. Plan to be at the bus by 5:30 PM. We will be leaving NYC at 6:00 PM.
Arrive in Charlotte at 5500 Executive Center Drive around 6am on Monday, the 22nd

People’s Climate March Lineup
Today’s climate movement is different from the one of decades past, and we want to make sure the People’s Climate March tells the story of today’s climate movement. To make that happen, we’re trying something new and arranging the contingents of the march in a way that helps us thread our many messages together.  There will be six themes by which different contingents can group themselves.  If you would like to join a specific contingent, we urge you to arrive early. Once city blocks fill up, you will be asked to join the march at 86th street. We ask people to be flexible, as this plan is subject to change. The march is going to be great wherever you are!  No matter where you line up, you will have an amazing time!   For details of the entire lineup, see http://peoplesclimate.org/lineup/.

Sierra Club “We Have Solutions” pre-assembly mini-rally
Sierra Club will be hosting a mini-rally for those gathering in the “We Have Solutions” theme before the PCM steps off.  We encourage Sierra Club members, supporters, volunteers and staff to join us on Central Park West at 72nd St between 9:00 – 10:45am to get signs, stickers, buttons and to hear from some exciting speakers around 11:00am (tba).  This will also be a great time to network with fellow activists from other states!  The best way to get to the min-rally will be from 77th St to Central Park West.

Unifying Moment during the PCM
At 12:58pm, the People’s Climate March will halt and have a moment of silence for those that have been affected by the Climate Crisis.  We are asking all participants to set their cell phone to vibrate at 12:58pm to signal the beginning of the moment of silence.  After two minutes of silence, at 1:00pm, the People’s Climate March will SOUND THE ALARM on the Climate Crisis  (aka:  BRING YOUR NOISEMAKERS!!!)  Churchbells will ring throughout the city, while PCM marchers will sound their noisemakers.  Bring your whistle, bring your tamborine, bring something to make a lot of noise to help sound the alarm.

End of March: Peoples Block Party
The end of the march will be a Peoples Climate block party!  This is a chance for everyone to walk around and visit with other themes. Within each gathering area there will be the big art pieces from the theme, the banner for the theme, chairs for those with accessibility needs,  and a lot of people to meet! In addition to the convergence areas, there will also be two stages with music only (no speakers), a marching band performance area, an area of food trucks, the climate ribbon ritual, and an area of port a potties.

Find the most updated information about the day of the march here: peoplesclimate.org/transportation-resources/
Find more logistical information, maps, and routes go here http://peoplesclimate.org/logistics/
There will be Porto-potties and water stations along the march route.

Call or email me if you have questions.

Sept 22: Charlotte Public Hearing – The Future of Area Water Quality

On Monday, September 22, Charlotte City Council has planned a Public Hearing that will, for the most part, determine the future water quality of our area lakes, streams and rivers.

Will you speak out at the Public Hearing on Sept 22nd?

How To Sign Up to Speak at a Council Meeting

Call the City Clerk’s Office at 704-336-2248 and request to speak by giving your name, full address, daytime telephone, and subject. This information is placed on a Speaker’s List for the Mayor to follow during the meeting. During the Council meeting, as your name is called, approach the speaker’s stand and begin. The City Clerk’s timer will ring when your time is up.  See Official Rules below.

Visit the City Clerk’s Office
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 7th Floor
600 East Fourth St.
Charlotte, NC 28202

Web On line Speaker Sign-Up Form

Fax your name, address, daytime phone number and subject to 704-336-7588

For more information on this issue, see Will Developers Take Control of Our Water Quality?, 81% of Total Mecklenburg Watershed Considered Unfit – Support Strong Stormwater Regulations!, Will Charlotte Continue to Weaken Storm Water Controls? and Charlotte Stormwater Pollution – Harming Our Lakes, Streams and Rivers

PCCO HearingPCCO Public Hearing Agenda Sept 22 2014

Will Developers Take Control of Our Water Quality?

Thanks to Anna McKenzie of Creative Loafing for this important report!

On Monday, September 22, Charlotte City Council has planned a Public Hearing that will, for the most part, determine the future water quality of our area lakes, streams and rivers.

For more information, see Will Charlotte Continue to Weaken Storm Water Controls? and Charlotte Stormwater Pollution – Harming Our Lakes, Streams and Rivers

Will you speak out at the Public Hearing on Sept 22nd?

How To Sign Up to Speak at a Council Meeting

Call the City Clerk’s Office at 704-336-2248 and request to speak by giving your name, full address, daytime telephone, and subject. This information is placed on a Speaker’s List for the Mayor to follow during the meeting. During the Council meeting, as your name is called, approach the speaker’s stand and begin. The City Clerk’s timer will ring when your time is up.  See Official Rules below.

Visit the City Clerk’s Office
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 7th Floor
600 East Fourth St.
Charlotte, NC 28202

Web On line Speaker Sign-Up Form

Fax your name, address, daytime phone number and subject to 704-336-7588

For more information on this issue, see 81% of Total Mecklenburg Watershed Considered Unfit – Support Strong Stormwater Regulations!, Will Charlotte Continue to Weaken Storm Water Controls? and Charlotte Stormwater Pollution – Harming Our Lakes, Streams and Rivers

Developers vs. the Environment

Murky Waters Ahead
By Ana McKenzie
Sept 17, 2014

news_feature2-1_30

At the end of October, City Council will vote on a measure that has pitted the interests of the development industry against reducing pollution in Charlotte’s already-degraded streams and creeks, which flow into the Catawba River.

Polluted water from development and redevelopment sites that the ground doesn’t absorb — otherwise known as storm water — runs into Charlotte’s stream and creek network. Often containing oil and heavy metals from car fluid as well as trash, such as plastic bottles, storm water is controlled by an ordinance City Council passed in 2007. Numerous stakeholder groups, including environmental advocates and developers, met in 2004 through 2005 to create the Post-Construction Controls Ordinance, which is intended to mitigate storm water around construction sites. This comes after years of mismanagement: Charlotte’s stream and creek network regularly receives failing grades from regulators, and mismanaged runoff from development and redevelopment is partially why a national river-conservation group dubbed the Catawba, which all local streams and creeks flow into, the most endangered river in the U.S. in 2008.

The PCO, as the ordinance is called, went into effect in 2008. Its requirements vary depending on which of the local 18 watershed districts — think of them as neighborhoods in which water flows — that storm water from sites runs into. For example, developers working near the Western Catawba Watershed District, which drains into Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake and Lake Wylie, are required to install water-treatment systems at the site of the pollution, as opposed to off-site, and maintain a certain distance from streams and creeks.

But developers working around transit stations and in “distressed business districts” — or economically distressed parts of town as determined by Neighborhood and Business Services — are allowed to pay a fee of $60,000 per impervious acre, or artificial surfaces such as pavement, instead of installing storm water controls at their sites. The fee goes toward improving the various watersheds around Charlotte, constructing wetlands and pond rehabilitation, among other projects.

In 2011, after developers complained about too much red tape, City Council voted to temporarily extend the mitigation fee, or “fee-in-lieu,” to every part of Charlotte in order to encourage redevelopment in the midst of the economic recession. The rate structure also changed — $60,000 per the first impervious acre and $90,000 per additional acre — to deter abuse.

Roughly half of the 105 redeveloping sites that have been eligible to use the fee since 2011 have opted for it. The city “considers this evidence that the fee is set at exactly the right amount to encourage on-site control of runoff, but to also provide a cost saving option to developers.”

In April, the city advocated for the fee-in-lieu in a PowerPoint presentation during a City Council Environment Committee meeting. In one of the slides is a sentence from an EPA manual: “Experience has shown that requiring developers to install individual on-site detention and water quality facilities can lead to a regulatory and/or maintenance problem for a local government. Alternative regional solutions may be more efficient and reliable in controlling runoff volumes and pollutant discharges into public stormwater systems and streams.” The city argued that even the EPA was in favor of the fee.

But here’s the next sentence, which wasn’t included in the slide show: “However, on-site systems are typically funded by the developers whereas the general public usually pays for regional systems. An issue of equity arises if general taxpayers or ratepayers have to fund regional solutions to mitigate the impacts of private development projects rather than requiring on-site control.”

The EPA says controlling storm water on a construction site is the best way to manage pollution versus allowing pollution to flow through creeks and be treated later. But on-site controls can be expensive and can create cost uncertainty for developers.

Rick Roti, a corporate lawyer and president of Charlotte Public Tree Fund, participated in the stakeholder groups that drafted the Post-Construction Control Ordinance. When the fee-in-lieu was added, he enlisted the help of then-mayor Anthony Foxx to fight what he and many others considered too much involvement from the development community in the ordinance.

“Even though they [developers] sat on the committee … they immediately started working against adoption of the ordinance and trying to weaken it,” Roti said. “They started calling politicians, working with [city] staff, working to provide information on why it was such a bad idea.” The fee was added. “The development community has more money, more resources, than we do.”

Before it was supposed to sunset in April of this year, City Council directed Storm Water Services to determine whether to extend the fee-in-lieu another five years and present their findings to the Council’s Environment Committee in August.

Staff determined that the fee should be extended but, as a compromise, added that the city could require filters around vehicle-heavy areas, like parking lots, that would capture what they refer to as “secondary pollution,” or non-chemical runoff like trash. Otherwise, the trash ends up in streams and creeks and becomes a very visible problem. (Storm Water Services, which focuses on controlling primary pollution, such as chemicals, says it has no way of determining how much secondary pollution winds up in streams and creeks.)

news_feature3-1_30

At their meeting in August, Environment Committee members David Howard, a Democrat, and Republicans Ed Driggs and Kenny Smith endorsed city staff’s recommendations to extend the fee-in-lieu, which will come to a City Council vote on Oct. 27. Chairman John Autry voted against the extension, and member Claire Fallon was not at the meeting.

As for the filters, arguing it was the first time committee members had ever heard of them, Howard, who works for an affordable-housing developer, asked staff to provide more information on their technology during the next meeting, which occurred Wednesday, Sept. 10.

The Environment Committee, a City Council subcommittee tasked with protecting quality of life as it relates to the environment, could have voted to endorse the filters during the meeting on Wednesday. Instead, Smith and Driggs favored subtracting from the fee-in-lieu the cost of incorporating filters into a construction site. During the discussion, Driggs asked an attending representative of REBIC, a powerful lobbying group in Charlotte that represents the real estate and development industry, for his opinion. “We prefer to have a clean extension of the mitigation fee but we can live with the recommendation [to implement filters].”

During his presentation Daryl Hammock, assistant division manager at Storm Water Services, said the city could live without them. “Primary pollutants are what we’re held to account for. If we want to do it [the filters] as a solution, that’s great. If we don’t want to do it at all, that’s great too.” The general consensus is that the filters are dead in the water.

Hammock, who is tasked with restoring Charlotte’s creeks and streams, said after the meeting that the fee-in-lieu is a sound way to balance development and redevelopment in Charlotte with protecting the environment. “It’s better environmentally, under current economics, for the developers to pay a fee than it is for them to control on site,” he said. “For some developers, cost doesn’t matter much. For some developments, cost is everything.”

He offered a hypothetical example of someone redeveloping a restaurant in a shopping mall in a part of town with fewer such projects, like east Charlotte. “You need to make sure costs are held as low as possible.”

Businesses that have taken advantage of the fee-in-lieu include retailer Cato during a facility expansion, a bank, a 307-unit residential apartment building and various gas stations and auto malls.

news_feature1-1_30

After the late August meeting in which the Environment Committee endorsed extending the fee-in-lieu without the filters, the Catawba Riverkeeper, Sustain Charlotte, the Sierra Club and Charlotte Tree Fund penned a letter to City Council strongly urging against the full body’s approval of the extension.

“The vast majority of damage to our waterways is caused by runoff from impervious areas,” the letter said. “Our population growth has resulted in exponential growth in impervious cover and runoff that has turned many of our local streams into muddy, contaminant-laden ditches.

“The PCO’s fee-in-lieu provision was meant to be a temporary measure to encourage redevelopment during the economic downturn. Why do we need to extend it further? Development is booming again in Charlotte, and with increased traffic in areas now seeing redevelopment, now is the time to ensure that sites implement post-construction storm water measures that will rehabilitate our waterways.”

This story has been corrected. Pollution from streams and creeks flows into the Catawba River, not Mountain Island Lake, which is Charlotte’s drinking-water source.

http://clclt.com/charlotte/developers-vs-the-environment/Content?oid=3534215

 

Duke Energy/Dominion/Piedmont Natural Gas Pipeline – Keystone XL of the East?

New coverage of the Duke Energy/Dominion/Piedmont Natural Gas Pipeline debate. In this update:

  • Shale Gas Impacts in North Carolina
  • Get Ready for Keystone Pipeline 2?
  • Plans for natural gas pipeline worry some in Nash County
  • Dominion pipeline event brings out hundreds of Augusta County residents
  • Augusta residents learn how to fight the pipeline
  • Dominion discusses aspects of pipeline project with Nelson residents

If you missed the other updates, check them out at They’re Building A Pipeline Song – Help Protect the Wilderness (Sept 15), Duke Energy/Dominion/Piedmont Natural Gas Pipeline – Communities Voice Opposition (Sept 15), Duke Energy/Dominion Pipeline – N.C. Public Meetings, VA/WV Local Government and Community Reactions (Sept 13),  Opposition Growing in Virginia Over Atlantic Coast Pipeline (Sept 12), Update on Duke Energy/Dominion Fracking Gas Pipeline (Sept 10) and  “Fracking boom prompts $5B Dominion gas pipeline” (Sept 7).

Shale Gas Impacts in North Carolina
Thanks to Frack Free NC for this map (click to enlarge).  A picture is worth a thousand words…
shale_gas_impacts_map1

Get Ready for Keystone Pipeline 2?
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposal has the potential to become the Keystone XL of the East.
A. Barton Hinkle | September 15, 2014

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline fits that bill. Nevertheless Glen Besa, who heads the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, responded to the pipeline announcement by saying he felt as though he’d been “punched in the gut.” Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action network, said McAuliffe had made a “huge mistake.” The Southern Environmental Law Center said it was “disappointed.”

On the other hand, the fact that Dominion always meets opposition does not mean its opponents are always wrong. And one of their biggest concerns also carries a lot of weight: the potential for the company to ride roughshod over small landowners through eminent domain.

As a regulated utility, Dominion inhabits a weird gray area between private enterprise and public agency. Members of the public don’t elect its officers, and its employees are private citizens. Yet thanks to state and federal law, Dominion surveyors can enter private property without permission. What’s more, in cases where landowners decline an easement, the company can seize the property it wants. That raises several worries.

Take the right-of-way. Will Dominion use herbicides to keep it clear? If so, that could ruin a farmer’s chance of being certified organic. A property owner who wanted to put a driveway across the right-of-way might have to get Dominion’s permission—if she can. And if Dominion needed to check the pipeline, its employees could cut across her property, again without her permission.

The utilities want to spend as little as possible. That might lead to cases such as the one a few years ago in Wythe County. Duke Energy offered $60,000 for some property belonging to Harold Hart and Larry Ball. They declined, the case went to court—and the jury said they actually deserved $1.8 million. Sometimes it pays to stand firm.

Then there’s the question of “quick take”—a process by which the utility takes immediate possession of the property it wants, and settles up later. This keeps a project from being held up while the courts go through the regular eminent-domain process, which is more time-consuming. But it also puts the landowner at a disadvantage.
Read the full report at: http://reason.com/archives/2014/09/15/get-ready-for-keystone-pipeline-2

Plans for natural gas pipeline worry some in Nash County
WRAL Sept 15, 2014

Nash County Pipeline

In addition to Nash, seven other North Carolina counties – Cumberland, Halifax, Johnston, Northampton, Robeson, Sampson and Wilson – would be affected by the project.

Some Red Oak residents worry that the proposed pipeline could reduce property values, threaten water supplies and pose environmental risks.

John Huffman, who owns a 20-acre plot of land in the community, is among those who are concerned.

“The issue you worry about is breaches,” he said Monday. “These things blow up.”

But Red Oak Commissioner Lavelle Langley says it could cost his town $1 million to tap into the pipeline, and he questions how it will benefit the community.

“It doesn’t help us a bit. It’s not going to bring us any jobs – not in this county,” Langley said. “I wouldn’t think (it would) because there’s going to be outside contractors putting it in.”

Gas is being relied upon to generate more of the nation’s electricity in recent years because new domestic supplies have lowered its price and because natural gas burns cleaner than coal.

It does, however, have environmental drawbacks. Experts say that when gas leaks or is otherwise released directly into the atmosphere it heats the planet much faster than carbon dioxide. Fracking, the drilling technique that has led to increased U.S. supplies, has raised concerns about water use, water contamination and other issues.
Read the full report at: http://www.wral.com/plans-for-natural-gas-pipeline-worry-some-in-nash-county/13985101/#DbZFJovyHkS3Y4vg.99


Dominion pipeline event brings out hundreds of Augusta County residents

AFP editor Chris Graham
Sept 15, 2014

Augusta Pipeline 2

Critics have pointed to concerns over infringement on landowners’ rights along the proposed pipeline path and environmental impacts on western Virginia, with the George Washington National Forest in Augusta County a particular point of focus.

Bobby Whitescarver, the former USDA district conservationist in the Shenandoah Valley, and now the principal in Natural Resources Management LLC, an environmental consultancy, raised another concern, with the karst topography in western Virginia, and the abundance of underground caves and sinkholes in the region.

“It’s like building on swiss cheese on top of a surface of sand. Putting rigid steel pipe on terrain that could subside is a recipe for environmental disaster,” said Whitescarver, who writes and edits an environmental blog at GettingMoreontheGround.com.

Whitescarver said that according to the maps of the proposed pipeline path made available to this point by Dominion, “they’re going to put this through at least 30 known sinkholes, and we’re just talking about the known sinkholes.”

“And in my years as district conservationist here, we saw new sinkholes open up occasionally. I’ve personally seen new sinkholes open up that could literally swallow an 18-wheeler,” Whitescarver said.

Dominion could submit formal plans to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission related to the pipeline as early as this fall, according to Neville. If that were to be the case, final approval could come in the second or third quarter of 2016, with construction to begin at that point on schedule to conclude in 2018.

At least one critic hopes the process leads to the pipeline never seeing anything resembling a green light from the federal government.

“My hope is that it doesn’t get built. That’s my first priority,” Whitescarver said. “Just think about what would happen if we put $4 billion into solar power instead of putting it into fossil fuels. We’re just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

Referencing the claims made by the governor and other project boosters regarding the economic benefit of Virginia, Whitescarver pointed out that the pipeline is not likely “to benefit Augusta County in any way.”

“It’s not going to benefit the landowners who are impacted by this pipeline. It’s not going to impact our tax base,” Whitescarver said. “They’re trying to ram this down our unsuspecting throats so they can export it and make more money. It’s Robin Hood in reverse. The rich taking from the poor and giving more to themselves. This is corporate greed at its worst.”
Read the full report at: http://augustafreepress.com/dominion-pipeline-event-brings-hundreds-augusta-county-residents/

Augusta residents learn how to fight the pipeline
September 7, 2014 7:00 am
BY BOB STUAR

Augusta Pipeline
Saturday’s meeting at the Augusta County Government Center was a tutorial for county residents on how to fight and ultimately prevail against the construction of Dominion Resources’ proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

For two hours, a cadre of legal and conservation experts and concerned residents of Augusta County marched to the platform to tell a crowd of more than 150 how to fight back against the encroachment of their land.

Speakers told the crowd how they can write and lobby the permitting agency for the pipeline — the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The crowd was also given tips on legal steps they could take to protect their land, and the possible damage to their land values and the environment if the pipeline is built.

Southern Environmental Law Center senior attorney Greg Buppert said the permitting agency desperately needs public input. “I think FERC needs to hear from you and how the pipeline will harm you and your property and will harm all the things that are special about Augusta County,” he said. “If FERC doesn’t hear from you the balance is already tipped in favor of Dominion.”

The crowd received further encouragement to contact FERC from Bobby Whitescarver, the retired Augusta County conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a Swoope farmer.

“What Dominion is trying to ram down our throats, our forests and farms will fragment our forests forever,” said Whitescarver. He said beyond this battle, legal and constitutional reform is necessary. Whitescarver urged those in the path of the pipeline to obtain conservation easements for their property, saying the easements would provide another hurdle to the pipeline.

Taylor Cole, a Deerfield resident and chairman of the Augusta County Planning Commission, said his research has shown him that the potential of pipelines present “no upside for us and potentially a lot of downside.”

Cole said the one-time payment to property owners by Dominion will not come close to matching the “costs that go on for decades and decades.” He said the pipeline would affect property values and could affect mortgages.

“Dominion can be defeated. Writing FERC is vitally important,” Geary said. He offered information about a Norfolk law firm that fights eminent domain cases, and told the crowd that the firm doesn’t bill for services unless a suit is won.

Nancy Sorrells, a former Augusta County supervisor and co-chair of the Augusta County Alliance, said Dominion’s path for the project goes through a part of the Shenandoah Valley that has been vulnerable to major flooding, erosion and mudslides. “Dominion could not have made a worse decision,” said Sorrells of the projected pipeline path.

Buppert said the timeline for the seeking of the federal approval would start in 2015, when Dominion officially seeks a permit from FERC. He said the agency will then seek public comments regarding the project’s environmental impact and said final consideration of the permit would come in 2016.

“The process hasn’t started for Dominion, but that doesn’t mean you can’t write to FERC,” Buppert said.
Read the full report at: http://www.dailyprogress.com/newsvirginian/augusta-residents-learn-how-to-fight-the-pipeline/article_fbbba534-35f8-11e4-b4ed-0017a43b2370.html


Dominion discusses aspects of pipeline project with Nelson residents

Nate Delesline III
Sept 16, 2014

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would begin in West Virginia, run through Virginia and end in North Carolina. During construction, officials said a 125-foot right-of-way would be required. Once construction is completed, a 75-foot right-of-way would be required to maintain the pipeline, which would be between three and five feet below ground, depending on the topography of the area and intended use of the land above.

As night fell and the crowd inside the meeting room grew, a handful of protestors holding anti-pipeline signs next to U.S. 29 drew occasional horn blasts from passing motorists. Back inside, Nelson County resident Roy White paused after studying one of the large maps.

“I wish I felt I could trust large corporations and government, but where I am in my life now, I’ve learned — painfully — that you can’t always trust them,” White said.

Nelson Supervisor Connie Brennan said Tuesday night that she’s concerned some of the community’s poorer residents might not have the time or energy to speak up to get their concerns on the record. The Nelson board recently passed a resolution opposing the project.

“I think it is a big burden on our community,” Brennan said. According to a recent project economic analysis, Brennan said projected annual state tax revenue after 2019 is $233,027.

“If the state is only going to get $233,000, what do you think little Nelson County is going to get?” said Brennan, who added that residents have expressed concerns about quality of life and safety.

“We think property values will diminish, and we already know of some Realtors who have contracts pulled out when people found out the pipeline was coming near the properties,” said Brennan, who has lived in Nelson County since 1974 and is in her fourth term as a supervisor.

Marc Chanin, who lives off Route 635 in the Glass Hollow area of the county, said he’s very concerned and frustrated that the pipeline’s path might run near or through protected national park lands such as the Blue Ridge Parkway.

“They should find an area that’s not going to hurt our environment the way this is. I believe there are already other pipelines that are already in existence where they can put this pipeline in conjunction with the other ones if they already have right-of-way,” Chanin said.
Read the full report at: http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/dominion-discusses-aspects-of-pipeline-project-with-nelson-residents/article_75f45574-3e02-11e4-85aa-001a4bcf6878.html