Update on Duke Energy/Dominion Fracking Gas Pipeline

Include in this update:

  • “Dominion pipeline would have devastating consequences” from Shenandoah Group, Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club
  • Sierra Club Virgina Chapter reaction to the announcement
  • Information that the WV Sierra Club Chapter has provided to their members
  • Information from Dominion website (to be taken with a couple grains of salt), including sate and county pipeline maps

 

Below are some reactions from the Virgina and West Virgina Sierra Club Chapters about the proposed Duke Energy/Dominion Pipeline.

You should also check out the public information about the pipeline from the Dominion website (see below).

If you missed our first post and/or want more information see “Fracking boom prompts $5B Dominion gas pipeline”

Dominion pipeline would have devastating consequences
June 9, 2014

Although Dominion Virginia Power has kept details about the “Southeast Reliability Project,” a natural gas pipeline that would cross Highland and Augusta counties en route to North Carolina, vague, it is clear the construction and maintenance of such large-scale pipeline would have devastating consequences.

Among the many reasons the Sierra Club in Virginia opposes the project are:

The pipeline will cross nearly 50 miles of hardwood forests of the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests, threatening wildlife, water quality, and recreation. If the pipeline is built, gas producers will argue that drilling wells in the GWNF makes sense given the proximity of a pipeline. New wells and fracking will endanger the unique qualities of this magnificent Appalachian forest and further threaten clean water resources in the mid-Atlantic region.

The pipeline would cross and blight the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail, two of Virginia’s great natural attractions. It will cross a portion of the McDowell Battlefield and other historically significant sites in the Commonwealth.

The pipeline would not be totally underground. There would be cuts and disturbance of the natural environment. Warning signs, valves, crossings, service roads, and compressor stations would scar the landscape.

In Highland and Augusta counties, the pipeline would cross dozens of streams and rivers including the Bullpasture, the Cowpasture, and the headwaters of the Middle and South rivers. In Virginia, the trunkline and laterals would cross an astonishing 448 waterways. Every cut promises increased erosion, sediment and potential pollution.

Our farmlands, forests, and conservation easements will be marked forever. Passing through the karst limestone of western Virginia, the pipeline may fall victim to sink holes or natural caves that could cause leaks or a catastrophic failure.

More reliance on natural gas will increase greenhouse gas pollution from Virginia power plants. It appears Dominion expects to export much of this gas thereby increasing greenhouse gas emissions abroad.

We are adamantly opposed to Dominion’s proposed pipeline because it threatens our environment, the region’s natural and cultural history, and our way of life that cannot be mitigated by slight changes to the route.

TOM LONG

Mount Solon

The writer is pipeline issues chair of Shenandoah Group, Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club.

http://www.newsleader.com/story/opinion/readers/2014/06/09/dominion-pipeline-devastating-consequences/10240141/

 

Sierra Club Virgina Chapter reaction to the announcement

Glen Besa, Virginia director of the Sierra Club: “It is most disheartening that the very first major energy announcement coming from the McAuliffe administration is in support of Dominion’s natural gas pipeline to facilitate expanded fracking. There are far more opportunities to create jobs and address climate change in Virginia through investments in energy efficiency, solar power and offshore wind.”
and
The Sierra Club warned the pipeline could open the door to fracking: “It is most disheartening that the very first major energy announcement coming from the McAuliffe Administration is in support of Dominion’s natural gas pipeline to facilitate expanded fracking,” said Glen Besa, Virginia Director of the Sierra Club.

Information that the WV Sierra Club Chapter has provided to their members

WV Chapter Know Your RightsWV Newsletter 2014 4 jul-aug Surveyors

Additional information from Dominion website (to be taken with a couple grains of salt):

Landowner Participation

Dominion has notified landowners along a 400-foot wide study corridor. Preliminary survey work and route planning have been under way since May and could be completed by year-end.

Dominion is progressing toward a final recommended route, thanks to the nearly 70 percent of affected landowners who have given us permission to survey.

Crews are surveying and obtaining information from affected landowners along the way to determine the best route with least impacts to the environment, historic and cultural resources.

Proposed Routes

View proposed route maps below:

Complete Route | West Virginia | Virginia | North Carolina

North Carolina Counties

Cumberland
Halifax
Johnston
Nash
Northampton
Robeson
Sampson
Wilson

Outreach and Schedule

Dominion began meetings in early August and has additional meetings with county boards of commissioners and supervisors of the affected counties in all three states to provide a project update.

Open houses along the route are scheduled for the weeks of Sept. 15 and Sept. 22 to provide government officials, landowners and the general public opportunities to view the latest maps, talk with Dominion representatives and ask questions. (> View a list of open houses.)

Additional open houses and other meetings will be held throughout the process, allowing all parties the chance to better understand the project.

Resources and FAQs

https://www.dom.com/business/gas-transmission/atlantic-coast-pipeline/index.jsp

Time for the fracking industry to come clean

Sierra Club - Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Friends,

Tell EPA that the oil and gas industry must disclose the chemicals used in fracking.

Send your letter.

Send your letter

Some recipes are worth sharing, especially when the natural gas industry’s secret fracking chemical cocktail jeopardizes the health of communities across the country.

The EPA has the chance to hold the oil and gas industry accountable by doing two big things — requiring companies to disclose the chemicals used in fracking and requiring studies into how these chemicals impact public health. Since the oil and gas industry is fighting any effort to regulate fracking, it is critical that the EPA hears loud and clear that we have a right to know what chemicals are pumped into fracked wells.

Send your letter today. Tell the EPA that the oil and gas industry must disclose all chemicals used in the fracking process.

Knowing which chemicals are poisoning our air and water is a crucial step to reining in this dangerous industry. Complete disclosure gives activists like you, medical professionals and researchers the power to understand the full scope of health impacts from fracking and potentially trace the pollution back to the polluter.

Tell EPA to hold the oil and gas industry accountable and put the interests of our communities and public health first. With your help, we can send 20,000 letters by Tuesday.

Thanks for all that you do,

Deb Nardone
Director, Dirty Fuels Initiative
Sierra Club

P.S. Six letters are even better than one. Please share this with five of your friends and family.

Share this action on Facebook Share this action on Twitter

“Fracking boom prompts $5B Dominion gas pipeline”

See below for the following stories and information:

  • Fracking boom prompts $5B Dominion gas pipeline
  • Map of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline
  • Dominion Site website pipeline information link
  • Duke Energy website pipeline information link
  • NC News Coverage
    • 5 Public meetings – Sept 22,23,25
    • NC News Coverage
    • Second major gas pipeline to enter NC
    • Dominion Resources will build 550-mile natural gas pipeline into NC
    • McCrory praises eastern NC natural gas pipeline
    • McCrory: Proposed Gas Pipeline To Bring Economic Benefits To Region
  • VA News Coverage
    • Dominion Gas Pipeline:  Bad news and a call to action!
    • McAuliffe boosts gas pipeline but environmental groups dissent
    • Controversial natural gas pipeline through Virginia draws governor’s backing, fracking opponents’ ire
    • New Natural Gas Pipeline Would Run Through The George Washington National Forest
    • VA Sierra Club Newsletter Summer 2014

 

This lead story sums up what we’re facing. Below you’ll find a pipeline map, information from the Dominion and Duke Energy websites, links to recent news articles, and dates and times for the 5 public meetings to be held in eastern North Carolina this month. Stay tuned, more information to follow.


Fracking boom prompts $5B Dominion gas pipeline

Spurred by the nation’s fracking boom, Dominion proposed Tuesday its largest natural gas pipeline — a nearly $5 billion project to move vast supplies produced in the mid-Atlantic to the Southeast.
“This will be one of the largest pipelines to take advantage of the abundant supply of natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania,” says Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle.
Santa (Donald Santa, president and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, an industry group) says he doesn’t expect the pipeline to engender the same controversy that has held up approval of the northern leg of the Keystone pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Canada to the upper Midwest.
“It’s a different situation,” he says, noting the Dominion-led project does not cross a national border so it does not need an environmental review and permit from the U.S. State Department. He says FERC has a good track record of authorizing gas pipelines, and there’s public demand for natural gas deliveries.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/09/02/fracking-5b-dominion-gas-pipeline/14962483/

Atlantic Coast Pipeline

atlantic-coast-pipeline-map

Dominion Site
https://www.dom.com/business/gas-transmission/atlantic-coast-pipeline/index.jsp

Duke Site
Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas select Dominion to build
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will meet those objectives by roughly paralleling
the underscored the national need for more natural gas pipelines

[PDF] Barclays Capital CEO Energy-Power Conference September
Page 5. Atlantic Coast Pipeline to benefit customers and regional economies –
On Sept. and operate the Atlantic Coast Pipeline – Project Overview:

NC News

Public meetings

Additional details about Atlantic Coast Pipeline can be found at https://www.dom.com/business/gas-transmission/atlantic-coast-pipeline/index.jsp. The company also will hold a series of town-hall style informational meetings with North Carolina residents who live near the proposed pipeline route. The meetings start at 5 p.m. for landowners in the study corridor and at 6:30 for the general public.

Sept. 22

• UNC Pembroke, COMTech Regional Center, Pembroke

• Rose Hill Plantation, Nashville

Sept. 23

• Holiday Inn Fayetteville I-95 South, Fayetteville

• The Centre at Halifax Community College, Weldon

Sept. 25

•  Johnston County Agricultural Center, Smithfield

Second major gas pipeline to enter NC
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/09/02/5144589/dominion-to-build-and-operate.html

Dominion Resources will build 550-mile natural gas pipeline into NC
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/09/02/4115878_duke-energy-and-partners-to-build.html

McCrory praises eastern NC natural gas pipeline
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/09/02/4116988/mccrory-praises-eastern-nc-natural.html

McCrory: Proposed Gas Pipeline To Bring Economic Benefits To Region
http://www.wilmingtonbiz.com/more_news/2014/09/02/mccrory_proposed_gas_pipeline_to_bring_economic_benefits_to_region/12263

VA News
Dominion Gas Pipeline:  Bad news and a call to action!
http://www.friendsofshenandoahmountain.org/news

McAuliffe boosts gas pipeline but environmental groups dissent
http://fairfaxnews.com/2014/09/mcauliffe-boosts-gas-pipeline-environmental-groups-dissent/

Controversial natural gas pipeline through Virginia draws governor’s backing, fracking opponents’ ire
http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/09/controversial-natural-gas-pipeline-through-virginia-draws-governor-s-backing-fracking-opponents-ire-.html

New Natural Gas Pipeline Would Run Through The George Washington National Forest
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/09/02/3478041/atlantic-coast-pipeline/

VA Sierra Club Newsletter Summer 2014

VA Pipeline

The Boss Calls Us To “Get Out On The Street” in NYC

New York City!

New York City!

New York City!

Click below, turn up the volume, get psyched, and then Sign Up Now to join a quarter million folks as we March for Climate Change!

LIVE-in-NYC-crop_13418-x8-46_1

When I’m out in the street, girl
Well, I never feel alone
When I’m out in the street, girl
In the crowd I feel at home
The black and whites they cruise by
And they watch us from the corner of their eye

But there ain’t no doubt, girl, down here
We ain’t gonna take what they’re handing out
When I’m out in the street
I walk the way I wanna walk
When I’m out in the street
I talk the way I wanna talk
Baby, out in the street I don’t feel sad or blue
Baby, out in the street I’ll be waiting for you

When your grandchildren ask you, “What did you do in the 2014 Climate Crisis?” You’ll be able to smile and say, “I was there. I was out in the street…..

Sign Up Now!

New York City!

Review: Major environmental and coal ash bills from the 2014 short session

Thanks to the NC Conservation Network for this excellent summary of the major environmental and coal ash bills from the 2014 short session!

NC Conservation Network Legislative Update

Short Session Wrap

After a very long three months, the NC General Assembly wrapped up the 2014 Short Session in August. The legislature adjourned sine die, meaning that it will not be returning in November to work on Medicaid legislation as it had earlier planned.

The short session was marked by three significant pieces of environmental legislation: fracking, regulatory reform and coal ash.

SL 2014-4 (S786 Energy Modernization Act)

This year’s fracking legislation was most notable for breaking the legislature’s 2012 promise to review the final rules developed by the Mining and Energy Commission before lifting the state’s fracking moratorium. Instead, the Energy Modernization Act will automatically allow DENR and the MEC to begin issuing permits beginning on the 61st calendar day following the date that all rules become effective.

The Energy Modernization Act also:

  • Weakens protections for groundwater wells by reducing the area of presumptive liability for contamination
  • Preempts local ordinances that prohibit oil and gas exploration, development and production activities
  • Reduces the amount of time available to the legislature to review the package of fracking rules developed by the MEC
  • Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to improperly disclose trade secret information related to hydraulic fracturing fluids

S734 (Regulatory Reform Act of 2014)

Following an annual trend, this session saw the passage of yet another regulatory overhaul with key environmental provisions. The final version of the Regulatory Reform Act represented only a portion of the provisions that were introduced at the beginning of the session, but the provisions that remain will result in significant environmental rollbacks.

Most notably, the Regulatory Reform Act:

  • Prohibits the Coastal Resources Commission from establishing or maintaining inlet hazard areas with certain characteristics
  • Weakens regulatory protections for isolated wetlands
  • Exempts development activities on certain properties from coastal stormwater rules
  • Provides that a CAMA permit contested by a third party will not be automatically suspended pending the contested case
  • Automatically subjects all state regulations stronger than federal minimum standards to legislative review

Provisions that were present in earlier iterations of regulatory reform legislation but were not included in the Regulatory Reform Act include:

  • Restrictions on third party challenges to air quality permits
  • Special privilege and immunity provisions for entities that conduct self audits and voluntarily disclose environmental violations
  • A requirement that DENR remove all ambient air monitors not required by federal law

S729 (Coal Ash Management Act of 2014)

After a significant period of debate and internal negotiations, the legislature passed a final coal ash bill on the last day of the short session. Governor McCrory has voiced concerns over the constitutionality of the Coal Ash Management Commission, a key piece of the legislation, but he is expected to sign the bill into law shortly.

The Coal Ash Management Act creates a complex framework that addresses existing coal ash sites on a tiered priority scale. Several key provisions include:

  • A prohibition on local ordinances that regulate or have the effect of regulating coal ash
  • Language aimed at undermining a recent court ruling requiring Duke Energy to immediately eliminate the source of groundwater contamination at its coal ash facilities
  • The establishment a new Coal Ash Management Commission to be located within the Department of Public Safety
  • Closure standards for low, intermediate and high risk impoundments, with the impoundments at the Sutton, Asheville, Dan River and Riverbend facilities automatically categorized as high risk
  • Deadlines for phasing out the wet handling of coal ash
  • Requirements for structural fill projects over a specified size
  • Regulation of coal ash as a solid waste
  • Dam safety requirements
  • The creation of 30 positions within DENR and the Department of Public Safety for coal ash management
  • The establishment of a new regulatory fee to pay for the costs of DENR oversight and the Coal Ash Management Commission

In addition to the legislation described above, several additional environmental bills made their way to the Governor’s desk this session.
SL 2014-95 (S883 – Mitigation Buffer Rule/Wastewater Treatment)

  • Disapproves recently adopted riparian buffer rules and instead directs the EMC to adopt rules resulting from a limited stakeholder process

SL 2014-103 (H366 – NC Farm Act of 2014)

  • Provides that complaints of violations against agricultural operations will be confidential until DENR determines that a violation has occurred
  • Restricts the local regulation of fertilizer
  • Classifies trespassing in an agricultural facility as a first degree trespass punishable as a Class A1 misdemeanor or Class H felony
  • Exempts drainage districts from riparian buffer rules

A full summary of the bills that passed during the 2014 short session is available here. Next year’s long session will begin with a clean slate of bills and likely a number of new legislators following the November elections.

The Legislative Update will return in January for the 2015 long session – enjoy the break!

Coal Ash

This year’s lengthy coal ash debate began shortly after the Dan River spill in February, which by Duke Energy’s estimates released up to 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River. Following the spill, the Environmental Review Commission began to study the issue, and the General Assembly ran through several versions of potential coal ash legislation. Governor McCrory joined the fray by releasing his own proposal, and several bills were introduced by both the House and the Senate:

H1226 (Coal Ash Management Act of 2014)

Primary sponsors: Representatives Harrison, Fisher, Glazier and Luebke
H1228 (Governor’s Coal Ash Action Plan)

Primary sponsors: Representatives McGrady, Samuelson and Hager

S856 (Coal Ash Management Act of 2014)

Primary sponsor: Senator Woodard

S729 (Coal Ash Management Act of 2014)

Primary sponsors: Senators Apodaca and Berger

Ultimately, S729 moved forward and passed out of the Senate in June. In July, the House passed a version of the bill that while very similar to the Senate version, added several significant new elements:

  • A variance procedure that would allow for extended closure deadlines
  • Language aimed at undermining a recent court ruling requiring Duke Energy to immediately eliminate the source of groundwater contamination at its coal ash facilities
  • Placement of the Coal Ash Management Commission within DENR

The Senate failed to concur with the House version of the bill due in large part to the addition of the variance provision and the relocation of the Coal Ash Management Commission, and a conference committee was appointed and tasked with coming to an agreement over the final version of the bill. The conference committee was comprised of: Senators Berger, Apodaca and Wade; and Representatives McGrady, Hager, Samuelson and Glazier. Representative Moffitt was also added to the conference committee during final negotiations.

After fewer than two weeks of negotiations, the conference committee was unable to come to an agreement and negotiations reportedly broke down over standards for low risk impoundments. At first it was announced that the legislature would take a hiatus on coal ash and possibly return to the issue in November. Instead, the conference committee returned to its negotiations in mid-August and quickly produced a conference report that had the support of all conferees.

The final conference report bridged some of the conflict between the House and Senate by placing limitations on the variance provision and adding language that would only allow DENR to approve capping in place for a low risk impoundment if the closure plan includes “design measures to prevent, upon the plan’s full implementation, post-closure exceedances of groundwater quality standards beyond the compliance boundary.” It also placed the Coal Ash Management Commission within the Department of Public Safety, satisfying the Senate’s concerns over its placement within DENR.

Fewer than 24 hours after releasing the conference report, both the House and Senate voted to approve it, sending it to the Governor’s desk and adjourning sine die to end the short session.

The final vote on the House floor received a considerable amount of debate, with a number of House Democrats voicing their concerns over various pieces of the bill. The majority of the debate focused on the bill’s failure to ensure that ratepayers would not be responsible for covering the costs of Duke Energy’s cleanup.

Representatives Alexander, Harrison, Martin, Insko, Luebke and Baskerville spoke against the bill, articulating concerns related to cleanup costs, ongoing groundwater contamination and the attempted undermining of a Superior Court ruling mandating immediate cleanup. Representative Harrison summarized her thoughts by thanking the conferees for their hard work, but stating that she wished the bill was stronger, particularly with respect to cleanup costs and the undermining of the Superior Court ruling.

Meanwhile, Representatives McGrady, Queen and Catlin spoke in favor of the bill as an important first step in managing coal ash. Following the debate, the conference report was approved by the House with a vote of 84-13.

The same evening, the Senate approved the conference report with very little discussion and a vote of 38-2. Senators Foushee and Van Duyn voted against the conference report, joining 13 of their colleagues in the House.

Governor McCrory has not yet signed the Coal Ash Management Act into law, but is expected to do so despite his concerns over the constitutionality of appointments to the Coal Ash Management Commission.

The final version of the bill is detailed in the 2014 summary of legislation here.

Calling All Charlotte Clergy, Lay Leaders, and Congregants – Speak Out on Climate Change Sept 9th

“We have a moral obligation to future generations to leave our land, water and wildlife better than we found it.”

~ Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior

from Dealing with Climate Change: A Moral Obligation

We need your voice on September 9th at Myers Park Baptist Church for a Citizen’s Climate Hearing on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan is a historic measure calling for strong carbon pollution reductions to combat the worst effects of climate disruption. Now in the public comment period, the EPA needs to hear from concerned citizens that want strong protections from carbon pollution. This is a critical moment for North Carolinians to make sure our voice is heard. Citizens from across NC will gather at Myers Park Baptist Church to give oral testimony, which will be recorded and submitted as official comments to the EPA. Join us as we call on the EPA to take swift and strong action on climate for North Carolina.

What can you do?

As a Charlotte clergy – Plan to attend and speak! Ask other clergy to join you. Post the flyer and/or an announcement on your website and on your calendar. Include an announcement in your e-updates. Mention the hearing at your Sabbath service this coming weekend and encourage your congregants to join you. Spread the word!

As a Lay Leader – Plan to attend and speak! Ask other lay leaders to join you. Make sure that there are hearing announcements on your website, calendar, etc.  Spread the word through your networks of friends and on social media.

As a Charlotte Congregant – Plan to attend and speak! Ask other congregants to join you.  Spread the word through your networks of friends and on social media. Commit to bringing 3 friends with you.

Charlotte Interfaith Call for Action on Climate Change

Free Solar Tours Preceding the Hearing – 5:00 and 5:30 PM

Citizen’s Climate Hearing
September 9th
Myers Park Baptist Church
Heaton Hall
1900 Queens Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207
6:00-8:00 PM

 
Format
• Please limit oral comments to 3 minutes (typically 400 – 450 words)
• Please bring a copy of prepared comments for the court reporter (optional)
• Written comments may be of any length and submitted without public speaking

For more information, contact Renee Reese sierraclub.centpiedpublicity@gmail.com.

See also our Facebook Charlotte Citizens’ Climate Hearinghttps://www.facebook.com/events/845313815488006/

Interfaith Citizens Hearing 3Charlotte Interfaith Call for Action on Climate Change

6 Buses from North Carolina to Sept 21 People’s Climate March – Sign Up Today!

PCM Crowd

There are now 6 BUSES FROM NORTH CAROLINA being organized for the people’s Climate March in NYC!!!!!!! 3 from the Triangle area and 1 each from Asheville, Boone and Charlotte. Seats are filling up fast so reserve a seat today!

AshevilleBus Captains Debby Genz dgenz@skyrunner.net and Mary Olson maryo@nirs.org

Boone – Contact Bus Captain Dave Harman dh.harman@hotmail.com

Charlotte – Register at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/charlotte-bus-to-nyc-peoples-climate-march-tickets-12748748851 or contact Bus Captains Hanna Mitchell hanna.mitchell@greenpeace.org and Bill Gupton at wmgupton@aol.com

Triangle Area – 2 buses being coordinated by Bus Captain Caroline Hansley caroline.hansley@greenpeace.org. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/triangle-bus-to-nyc-peoples-climate-march-tickets-12748714749

Triangle Area – 1 bus being coordinated by Greenway Transit/The Forest Foundation Bus. Sign up at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1W6YZN7yoiiDvBmhiwjNNjHwn394ajgXhesjlWsBkRqI/viewform?usp=send_form .

Reserve your seat today! Prices vary by location.