Opposition to the Duke Energy/Dominion/Piedmont Natural Gas Pipeline is growing…
“We Don’t Want Your Pipeline” By Robin and Linda Williams
Protest Song about proposed Dominion Gas Pipeline coming through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.
Robin and Linda Williams (copyright 2014)
Video from Richard Adams
From Robin and Linda’s newsletter of Oct 5:
We’re involved in some local opposition to a proposed natural gas pipeline that wants to come through our county and run on down to North Carolina. There are some local issues involved: property rights, Eminent Domain, fragile karst geology and water contamination, and the fact that they want to come through the George Washington National Forest. But, after studying the arguments pro and con, and realizing that each side likes to use scare tactics and smoke screens, we’ve come to believe that the central issue is Climate Change and that it’s a real and immediate problem. Everyone has their own opinion on this issue and ours is that Dominion Power is wrong in wanting to spend five and a half billion dollars on carbon based energy when that money, with the future in mind, could be used more wisely on renewable alternatives. So we’re acting locally in opposing this pipeline. And we’ll try and not “screed” you on any more of our missives.
Robin and Linda, thanks for speaking out and singing out on this issue!
October 3, 2014 3:00 pm
Augusta County musicians Robin and Linda Williams have penned a new protest song aimed at the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
The Williams are among the local property owners vocally opposed to the proposal to build a 550-mile natural gas line to North Carolina by way of Virginia.
This week, five Nelson County residents filed suit contesting Dominion Resource’s authority to conduct land surveys on their property for the project.
Dominion — lead company behind the pipeline proposal — said it’s been following the law and will continue to do so.
At one point, the clip references 2008’s fiery rupture of a Williams gas company pipeline in Appomattox County. That explosion injured five people and destroyed two homes.
“The sinkholes, explosions and gas line leaks, you hear it on the news almost every week,” Robin Williams sings while strumming a guitar. “Dominion says, don’t worry. But it ain’t wise to be flirting with disaster with their pipeline.”
Dominion, on its project website, said gas pipelines nationwide have a strong safety record.
“Pipelines are the safest way to transport energy,” it wrote in a FAQ link. “Dominion is dedicated to building, monitoring and maintaining the ACP safely.”
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposal is still under development and will require regulatory approval. Dominion hopes to start prefiling an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission later this year.
Thanks to long time Sierra Club member Nancy Bryant for this great message!
Memories of the “Great March”
Nancy C. Bryant
On Saturday, 8pm, September 20, our charter bus, along with nine other buses from NC, took off for New York City for the People’s Climate March the next day. The 55 people on our bus were to join what we had hoped would be 250,000 others, but which would become 400,000 at the final tally.
Now, why would 400,000 people come from all over the US and Norway and Canada, and who knows how many other counties, to march for one day? People of all ages, all colors, cultures and backgrounds. People singing, playing instruments, chanting, shouting, carrying signs and posters and waving flags and flying birds and giant parachutes, people walking, in strollers, in wheelchairs, on floats, on bikes, on scooters, on roller skates, dancing, prancing……..
I’ll tell you why. Because they care about what is happening to this, our fragile planet earth. They care about the future of their children and grandchildren and all living things on this earth. They care about the climate that is now changing so rapidly that we see it in front of our eyes, if we look about and pay attention to the climate. Just ask the farmers who were there. Just ask our local farmers. They want fossil fuels to continue being replaced with renewal energy sources, not 10 years from now, not 50 years from now, but now. They want the fracking to stop. They want our climate to get back into balance instead of heating up.
At first, my stepson, Jeep Bryant, and I marched with the contingent of people of faith and scientists, but later we joined the indigenous peoples of the world. There were people from labor, families, students, elders, environmental justice, community groups, neighborhood groups, the City Council of NYC, the head of the UN, movie and pop culture advocates – every possible group of people concerned about the issues.
The people who marched were marching with hope and exhilaration, knowing that millions more of us would also march for our fragile earth and the future for generations to come if they could. Deb from Anson, James from Montgomery and Harry from Richmond, my busmates, join me in saying that it was a highlight of our lives to be marching on Sunday, sharing the hope of a better world.
And now for some scenes from the People’s Climate Change March.
Enjoy the memories. Rekindle the passion. Take some action on the Climate Cris today and everyday…
And for a special treat, listen to the “Voices of the the Peoples Climate March” by Brian Kasher
The audio stream includes over forty (40) mini-interviews; street music from: the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band, Rocket McFlyy, the Raging Grannies and more; chants, Central Park crickets, police helicopters, and general crowd ambiance. Two-hundred fifty three (253) sounds clips were recorded during the March.
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…
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
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
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
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
Great article. And in other news…
The People’s Climate March has gone global!
A weekend to bend the course of history
In September, heads of state are going to New York City for a historic summit on climate change. With our future on the line, we will take a weekend and use it to bend the course of history.
In New York City there will be an unprecedented climate mobilisation – in size, beauty, and impact. This moment will not be just about New York or the United States. Heads of state from around the world will be there, as will the attention of global media.
Our demand is for Action, Not Words: take the action necessary to create a world with an economy that works for people and the planet – now. In short, we want a world safe from the ravages of climate change.
We know that no single meeting or summit will “solve climate change” and in many ways this moment will not even really be about the summit. We want this moment to be about us – the people who are standing up in our communities, to organise, to build power, to confront the power of fossil fuels, and to shift power to a just, safe, peaceful world.
To do that, we need to act – together.
Join the Global Weekend of Action
People’s Climate March = Marching for the Future
Bill McKibben, Eddie Bautista, LaTonya Crisp-Sauray | September 14, 2014
On Sunday, Sept. 21, a huge crowd will march through the middle of Manhattan. It will almost certainly be the largest rally about climate change in human history, and one of the largest political protests in many years in New York. More than 1,000 groups are coordinating the march—environmental justice groups, faith groups, labor groups—which means there’s no one policy ask. Instead, it’s designed to serve as a loud and pointed reminder to our leaders, gathering that week at the United Nations to discuss global warming, that the next great movement of the planet’s citizens centers on our survival and their pathetic inaction.
As a few of the march’s organizers, though, we can give some sense of why we, at least, are marching, words we think represent many of those who will gather at Columbus Circle for the walk through midtown Manhattan.
We’re tired of winning the argument and losing the fight. And so we march. Poster by James Jean
We march because the world has left the Holocene behind: scientists tell us that we’ve already raised the planet’s temperature almost one degree Celsius, and are on track for four or five by century’s end. We march because Hurricane Sandy filled the New York City subway system with salt water, reminding us that even one of the most powerful cities in the world is already vulnerable to slowly rising ocean levels.
We march because we know that climate change affects everyone, but its impacts are not equally felt: those who have contributed the least to causing the crisis are hit hardest, here and around the world. Communities on the frontlines of global warming are already paying a heavy price, in some cases losing the very land on which they live. This isn’t just about polar bears any more.
But since polar bears can’t march, we march for them, too, and for the rest of creation now poised on the verge of what biologists say will be the planet’s sixth great extinction event, one unequalled since the last time a huge asteroid struck the Earth 66 million years ago.
And we march for generations yet to come, our children, grandchildren and their children, whose lives will be systematically impoverished and degraded. It’s the first time one century has wrecked the prospects of the millennia to come, and it makes us mad enough to march.
We march with hope, too. We see a few great examples around the world of how quickly we could make the transition to renewable energy. We know that if there were days this summer when Germany generated nearly 75 percent of its power from renewable sources of energy, the rest of us could, too—especially in poorer nations around the equator that desperately need more energy. And we know that labor-intensive renewables would provide far more jobs than capital-intensive coal, gas and oil.
And we march with some frustration: why haven’t our societies responded to 25 years of dire warnings from scientists? We’re not naïve; we know that the fossil fuel industry is the 1 percent of the 1 percent. But sometimes we think we shouldn’t have to march. If our system worked the way it should, the world would long ago have taken the obvious actions economists and policy gurus have recommended—from taxing carbon to reflect the damage it causes to funding a massive World War II-scale transition to clean energy.
Marching is not all, or even most, of what we do. We advocate; we work to install solar panels; we push for sustainable transit. We know, though, that history shows marching is usually required, that reason rarely prevails on its own. (And we know that sometimes even marching isn’t enough; we’ve been to jail and we’ll likely be back.)
We’re tired of winning the argument and losing the fight. And so we march. We march for the beaches and the barrios. We march for summers when the cool breeze still comes down in the evening. We march because Exxon spends $100 million every day looking for more hydrocarbons, even though scientists tell us we already have far more in our reserves than we can safely burn. We march for those too weak from dengue fever and malaria to make the journey. We march because California has lost 63 trillion gallons of groundwater to the fierce drought that won’t end, and because the glaciers at the roof of Asia are disappearing. We march because researchers told the world in April that the West Antarctic ice sheet has begun to melt “irrevocably”; Greenland’s ice shield may soon follow suit; and the waters from those, as rising seas, will sooner or later drown the world’s coastlines and many of its great cities.
We don’t march because there’s any guarantee it will work. If you were a betting person, perhaps you’d say we have only modest hope of beating the financial might of the oil and gas barons and the governments in their thrall. It’s obviously too late to stop global warming entirely, but not too late to slow it down—and it’s not too late, either, to simply pay witness to what we’re losing, a world of great beauty and complexity and stability that has nurtured humanity for thousands of years.
There’s a world to march for—and a future, too. The only real question is why anyone wouldn’t march.
Eddie Bautista is executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. LaTonya Crisp-Sauray is the recording secretary for the Transport Workers Union Local 100. Bill McKibben is the founder of 350.org and a TomDispatch regular.
“If you care about the drinking water where you live, you owe it to yourself to join Global Frackdown. The EPA may have taken its eye off the ball, but many good people around the world are refusing to stand by while the oil and gas industries recklessly threaten our drinking water. Global Frackdown Day is a good opportunity to find out who’s fighting that good fight in your own community and learn more about what’s at stake.”
“Fracking” has become synonymous with the ways in which the oil and gas industry:
- Fragments forests and mars landscapes with new roads, new well sites and new pipelines and other infrastructure
- Produces huge amounts of toxic and even radioactive waste, the disposal of which causes earthquakes and risks drinking water resources
- Causes thousands of accidents, leaks and spills each year that threaten public health and safety and risk rivers, streams and shallow aquifers
- Pumps hazardous pollutants into the air, at the expense of local communities, families and farms
- Turns homes into explosive hazards by contaminating water wells with methane and other harmful gases
- Consumes millions of gallons of water for each fracked well, competing with farmers for local water supplies
- Puts vital aquifers at risk for generations by creating new pathways through which contaminants – including the chemicals injected, radioactive brines and methane and other hydrocarbon gases – can flow over long periods of time
- Threatens the climate on which we all depend by dumping carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, and by locking in future climate pollution with each new infrastructure project
- Delays the remaking of local and regional energy systems around proven clean solutions, using high-paid lobbyists, political campaign war chests and public relations flacks to stifle progress and prolong our dependence on oil and gas
- Enjoys enormous profits padded by billions of dollars a year in needless subsidies, at all of our expense.
The fight against fracking is the fight for an altogether different vision for the future of energy. It is the fight for democratic and localized energy systems, built on the efficient use of abundant and renewable energy resources.
Check out the links below to learn more about why you should join the Global Frackdown and help keep unconventional oil and gas safely underground.
- Ban Fracking Now!
- The Case for a Ban on Gas Fracking
- Exposing the Oil and Gas Industry’s False Jobs Promise for Shale Gas Development: How Methodological Flaws Grossly Exaggerate Jobs Projections
- False Promises and Hidden Costs: The Illusion of Economic Benefits from Fracking
- Fracking: The New Global Water Crisis
- U.S. Energy Insecurity: Why Fracking for Oil and Natural Gas Is a False Solution
- WASTE: The Soft & Dirty Underbelly of Fracking
- Fracking by the Numbers
Information from: http://www.globalfrackdown.org/research/