T-Minus 6 days and counting for the largest Climate March in history! And we’ll be there!!!
If you’re looking for information about the March and Charlotte Bus #2, click below. Hope to see you in NYC!
T-Minus 6 days and counting for the largest Climate March in history! And we’ll be there!!!
If you’re looking for information about the March and Charlotte Bus #2, click below. Hope to see you in NYC!
September 11, 2014
The Environmental Protection Agency recently found that we’ve been doing it wrong for years; our air is not as clean or as safe as we once supposed. The agency’s smog pollution policy assessment, released in late August, found that current “safe” levels of smog pollution are actually not strong enough to protect our communities, our kids, or the air we breathe.
Doris Toles could tell you that.The Baltimore resident struggles with serious respiratory issues which are only made worse by the poor air quality in the city.
“I had my first asthma attack when I was two. I’m now living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD),” says Doris. “A person gets COPD like I have after years of asthma attacks permanently weaken the lungs, and there is no cure.”
Doctors told Doris that her asthma is triggered by pollution in the air where she lives. “I have to be very careful and keep my inhaler close at hand on days when smog levels are high.”
When smog is inhaled, the harm it does has been likened to getting a sunburn on your lungs. Thankfully, we’ve got a chance to put things right. This December, the EPA will propose new smog pollution protections that can get America’s air quality back on track.
“Safe” smog pollution levels were first lowered in 2008 from 88 parts per billion (ppb) to 75 ppb, but it turns out those protections were not enough to ensure clean, safe air for children and vulnerable populations living near the sources of this pollution. New recommendations from scientists since the 2008 protections have found that we need to ratchet them down to 60 ppb, in order to guard against dangerous air. The recent smog pollution policy assessment echoed this sentiment, recommending that the levels be reduced to a range of 60 to 70 ppb.
While we applaud the EPA’s assessment for acknowledging the need to strengthen the current safeguards, it’s important to note that the devil is in the details, which is why we need your help. Thousands of lives hang in the balance between 60 ppb and 70 ppb, and are pushing hard for the EPA to propose 60 ppb protections in December.
At Sierra Club, we have strongly advocated for a 60 ppb standard for years because the science is clear that it will better protect families from smog pollution from power plants and tailpipe emissions. Smog pollution can trigger respiratory problems like asthma attacks and cardiovascular problems. Over time, continued exposure can even lead to premature death.
Doris has lost friends and family to severe asthma attacks. For her and many others, it’s a matter of life and death. “Cleaning up this pollution helps people like me stay alive,” she says.
A 60 ppb standard would safeguard families, especially young children and the elderly, from these health hazards and save roughly $100 billion in health care costs. The EPA also estimates that cutting back to safer levels of smog pollution (60 ppb) would prevent 12,000 premature deaths, 21,000 hospitalizations and the stop the loss of 2.5 million work and school days each year. In view of this, the smog pollution policy assessment is an important step toward holding polluters accountable and lifting this huge burden off our communities.
In the months ahead, we work to secure the strongest possible protections for those who need them most. Let EPA know you support strong standards here.
–Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal Campaign Director
In this update:
If you missed the other updates, check them out at Opposition Growing in Virgina Over Atlantic Coast Pipeline (Sept 12, 2014), Update on Duke Energy/Dominion Fracking Gas Pipeline (Sept 10, 2014) and “Fracking boom prompts $5B Dominion gas pipeline” (Sept 7, 2014).
John Downey. Sept 12, 2014
Local newspapers and television stations in western Virginia report that over the past several days, three local government boards have passed resolutions concerning the 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which starts across the state line in Harris County, W.Va. Two opposed the project outright.
WHSV-TV in Harrisonburg reports the seven-member Staunton City Council on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution against the pipeline (see video below). And the News & Advance of Lynchburg reports that a day earlier, a narrowly divided Nelson County Board of Supervisors passed a similar resolution on a 3-2 vote.
Read the full article at http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/blog/energy/2014/09/more-opposition-forms-in-va-over-gas-pipeline-to-n.html.
There was standing room only in the 650-seat auditorium at Nelson Middle School Tuesday night as residents gathered to hear county officials talk to Dominion reps about the company’s proposed natural gas pipeline. Photo: Graelyn Brashear
Duke Energy will be the largest customer on proposed pipeline
Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas want state regulatory approval by Nov. 1 for them to make contracts with the new pipeline.
Sept 9, 2014
Duke Energy’s two Carolina utilities will contract for nearly half of the natural gas to be transported daily on the proposed $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, according to new filings with regulators.
Duke will be the single largest customer on the pipeline, taking gas for use at three plants in eastern North Carolina.
The pipeline is a joint venture of the commercial operations of Duke, Piedmont Natural Gas and Dominion Resources of Virginia as well as AGL Resources of Atlanta. It will be built and operated by Dominion’s commercial subsidiary. Dominion will own 45 percent of the venture, Duke 40 percent, Piedmont 10 percent and AGL 5 percent.
Duke and Piedmont filed requests with the N.C. Utilities Commission and the S.C. Public Service Commission on Monday. They are requesting permission for their Carolinas’ utility operations to make contracts with ACP because the unregulated commercial subsidiaries of Duke and Piedmont will own stakes in the pipeline. Contracts between regulated and unregulated subsidiaries of the two energy companies must be approved by state regulators.
Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress and Piedmont’s utility all ask the commissions to act by Nov. 1. They say any delay could slow applications that must be made for other regulatory approvals. Quick action is necessary, they say, to keep construction on a pace for the pipeline to begin operating Nov. 1, 2018, as proposed.
Those other approvals include a key proceeding with the Federal Energy Regulator Commission, which the companies have said they hope to make a prefiling for later this fall.
It appears the companies want authority to make contracts with ACP before submitting that application, but a spokesman declined to comment further on the reasons action is needed by Nov. 1.
Duke will contract for a maximum of 725 million cubic feet of natural gas from the pipeline daily, more than 48 percent of the pipeline’s capacity. Piedmont will contract for up to 160 million cubic feet per day. PSNC Energy, based in Gastonia, will contract for up to 100 million cubic feet per day.
Dominion and AGL will contract for most of the remainder, though additional customers are being sought for a small amount of capacity that remains on the pipeline.
Why not take 2 actions to get Money Out of Politics and Protect the Arctic from an oil spill? Click below to speak out!
Take Action: Get Big Money Out of Politics
Our government should respond to the voice of the people, not a few super-rich donors. When big polluters and their unlimited SuperPAC money speaks, they drown out the voices of the people who suffer because of dirty air, contaminated water, and a warming, unstable climate. Right now a critical debate is happening in Washington to help restore our democracy and get big money out of politics. Environmental champion Senator Tom Udall introduced a bill that would give Congress and state legislatures the ability to regulate money in politics. Because of our grassroots pressure over past two months, the bill now has 50 cosponsors, but we need them all to vote yes this week.
Take Action: Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge From an Oil Spill
The Obama administration has proposed opening oil and gas drilling in the Beaufort Sea — threatening half of America’s polar bear habitat and the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — home to millions of wild birds and animals. An oil spill in the Beaufort Sea could devastate the coastline of the refuge blanketing it with a thick layer of toxic sludge for decades!
Send the administration a message opposing gas and oil drilling in the Beaufort Sea before the September 12 comment deadline and protect the Arctic!
By Bob Geary
Ariana Nicholson is going. The Carolina Friends School senior says the People’s Climate March in New York City is a chance for young people to speak truth to world leaders—who’ll gather at the United Nations for a climate summit—before it’s too late.
“It’s time our generation had a say in our future,” Nicholson says.
Brian Vaughn is going. The first-year UNC-Chapel Hill student says that curbing climate change “isn’t just nice, it’s life and death” for precarious and marginalized nations on the planet.
Vaughn says he was inspired by Disruption, a new film about the march and why organizers believe it will be the tipping point to positive change, with a turnout of 200,000 people or more.
“I won’t lie to you, I had goose bumps watching it,” Vaughn said.
The tipping point is often a term used to describe the “truly alarming consequences,” as The New York Times editorial board put it, if the average global temperature rises more than the globally agreed-upon limit of 2 degrees Celsius—or 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
March organizers, however, want “tipping point” to mean the number of people needed in the movement to avert disaster. For the United States, that number is 1 percent, they say, and if 3 million Americans demand that our elected leaders take the required actions, we’ll turn things around. They base that figure on how many people were active a half-century ago in the civil rights movement.
I watched Disruption with a social justice group at Western Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. (It’s available free at www.watchdisruption.com.) Karen Bearden came too. She’s a long-time activist and organizer for 350.org, the international climate-change group started five years ago by writer Bill McKibben. No question, she and Joe, her husband, will be in New York.
Bearden and I have disagreed about the movement and whether it was building fast enough to meet the threat. I was skeptical. She never doubted it. Now, I hope she’s right. “We’ve been growing, growing, growing since 2009,” she said excitedly. “We are a movement, and with each step, it gets bigger.”
Im optimistic about the climate-change movement even though it does not factor whatsoever in the 2014 elections. Here’s why:
The science is undeniable. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, established by the United Nations, comprises hundreds of the world’s leading climate scientists and economists. Its reports are virtually unanimous—and dire. The world must reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, the product of fossil fuels burned in power plants, industrial factories and motor vehicles, by 40–70 percent starting within 15 years to avoid pushing global temperatures higher than the 2 degrees Celsius target. Instead of reducing emissions, however, the world continues to generate more—the first decade of the 21st century was our worst ever.
Solutions exist. In the first quarter of 2014, Germany generated 27 percent of its electricity from renewable power sources, mainly solar. The Germans are moving swiftly toward a national goal of 50 percent renewables; on a Sunday in May, they hit a record level of 74 percent. In other words, it can be done.
The solutions will save money. The petroleum and coal industries claim fossil-fuel generation is cheaper than solar, wind and other alternatives. That’s not true if all the costs are calculated. Solar and wind are free once facilities are in place. Compare that with the environmental damage caused by mountaintop removal (coal), fracking (natural gas) and deep-water oil drilling (oil). And as fossil-fuel emissions result in more frequent catastrophic weather—Hurricane Sandy in the U.S., Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last year. The escalating costs are landing on the public, not the industry.
2016 is the year. The U.N. climate summit, which begins Sept. 23, will be followed by a global conference in Paris in 2015 where 190 nations will try to hammer out a climate-change treaty. The U.S., previously obstructionist, will be a constructive force this time for two reasons: 1) President Obama, having achieved health-care reform, will be looking forward to the next big issue; 2) Candidates for president in 2016 will be forced by the climate-change movement and the Paris conference to say what they’ll do to save the planet, if elected.
The good news is, saving the planet will create jobs in the United States and around the world as we shift from life-threatening fossil generation to clean renewable sources.
It will also change politics fundamentally as the petroleum, coal and electric-utility industries cede power to community groups and individuals generating power for themselves using rooftop solar panels, wind turbines, local grids and cars with electric batteries.
Imagine that, we get more jobs, a cleaner planet and cleaner elections. Even in American politics, that’s a hard combination to deny. In fact, it’s a winning platform, Hillary.
This article appeared in print with the headline “Time’s Up.”
Get to the People’s Climate March anyway that you can. 10 buses will be leaving N.C. for NYC! 10 BUSES!
Last reports indicate that seats are available for just 2 buses:
Charlotte Bus #3 with Action NC – http://www.actionnc.org/climate_march?utm_campaign=climate_march&utm_medium=email&utm_source=actionnc. Contact Luis Rodriguez, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more info.
Raleigh/Durham Bus #4 with Greenway Transit – https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1W6YZN7yoiiDvBmhiwjNNjHwn394ajgXhesjlWsBkRqI/viewform?usp=send_form. Contact Marc Dreyfors, email@example.com, or Nicole Russ, firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Why not take the train? Amtrak trains (Sept. 16–24) offer a 10 percent discount fare: Ask for People’s Climate March Convention Fare Code X22T-908.
For updates, check back here or https://www.facebook.com/NCPeoplesClimateMarch
See you in NYC!
This update on the Atlantic Coast pipeline includes:
For additional information, see the previous posts Update on Duke Energy/Dominion Fracking Gas Pipeline (Sept 10, 2014) and “Fracking boom prompts $5B Dominion gas pipeline” (Sept 7, 2014)
Sierra Club Press Release:
The Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club is joining forces with the Friends of Nelson, the Augusta County Alliance and 350.org Central Virginia in opposition to the proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline.
Dominion Resources plans to partner with Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources on the 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline that will stretch from Harrison County, West Virginia to Robeson County, N.C. The pipeline got the blessing of Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe last Tuesday.
The proposed project would be “a game changer” for Virginia industry and homeowners, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said last Tuesday at an announcement in the Capitol. “It will spur economic growth in all parts of the Commonwealth.”
Environmental and citizen-led community organizations in central and western Virginia have expressed strong opposition to the pipeline project. Major issues concerning the pipeline include property rights violations, property devaluation, impacts to tourism and agricultural-based economies of Nelson and Augusta Counties, public safety and environmental damage along the path of the pipeline to include contamination of local water supplies. Dominion alleges the legal right of entry to private property to survey for right-of-way easements as legislated by the General Assembly in 2004. Significant environmental damage could occur as a result of construction of the pipeline in karst topography, over mountainous terrain and through sensitive environmental areas including the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail.
The Augusta County Alliance, formed in July to oppose the pipeline and preserve the rural character of the County, has rallied hundreds of citizens who are united in opposition to the project. “We have been making a very strong case that construction of a huge, 42-inch transmission pipeline through Augusta County will actually harm our rural economic sectors due to the destructive impact on farms, forests and private and public lands, while also creating serious safety concerns, and endangering our water that supplies most of the state,” said Nancy Sorrells, co-chair of the Alliance. Augusta County is slated for 43 miles of the proposed pipeline.
The project has already drawn strong opposition in Nelson County, where about 35 miles of the pipeline would run. Homes and businesses along state Route 151 and 29 sport blue placards that say, “No pipeline.” Thirteen landowners have filed lawsuits against Dominion for violating state law regarding survey of their property. Only twenty-five percent of the affected landowners in Nelson County have agreed to the survey of their property. Opposition has been so strong that surveying in the County has been put on hold several times. “We are very discouraged by the Governor’s support of this pipeline,” said Charlotte Rea, President of Friends of Nelson. “This pipeline will bring no economic gains or permanent jobs to Nelson County but will threaten our water supplies, devalue our property, endanger public safety and deface the landscapes and mountain vistas that are beloved by Nelson County residents and tourists alike and which are the lifeblood of our economy.”
The Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club strongly opposes the proposed Dominion pipeline. “The pipeline would incentivize more fracking across the region, continue to promote the use of fossil fuels and contribute significantly to environmental damage during construction,” said Kirk Bowers, Conservation Chair of the Piedmont Group. “We intend to fight the pipeline. Future generations depend on the outcome of our resolve.”
UVA scientist warns of dire environmental impacts if the proposed natural gas pipeline goes through Highland County
August 25, 2014
At their meeting on August 19th, Highlanders for Responsible Development [HRD] chairman Lewis Freeman said their group had yet to take a formal position on the Dominion Resources Southeast Reliability Project, a natural gas pipeline that would run through parts of West Virginia and Virginia, including Highland County. Rick Webb, a member on the board of directors for HRD, a Highland County resident, and a senior scientist at the University of Virginia, has taken a formal position on the pipeline, one that is firmly in opposition.
Webb sees the pipeline putting the natural resources of the county in peril. Referring to a map of the proposed pipeline, Webb told the large crowd gathered at the Highland center that it would cross a considerable amount of sensitive habitat including sections of the George Washington national forest and Virginia wildlife management areas. Webb showed pictures of a 42” natural gas pipeline under construction in Nebraska, saying a 42 foot wide trench was excavated to allow for construction of the pipeline. Dominion is proposing to use a 42” pipeline in Pocahontas and Highland counties. Webb said the trench needed for construction could be even wider than that used in Nebraska. He said there may be no precedent for construction of such a large pipeline in steep terrain like that found in the Allegheny highlands.
42 inch pipeline under construction in Nebraska – picture courtesy of Rick Webb
The pipeline path would cross eight Highland County mountain ridges at elevations of 3000 to 4200 feet: Tamarack Ridge, Red Oak Knob, Lantz Mountain, Monterey Mountain, Jack Mountain, Doe Hill, Bullpasture Mountain and Shenandoah Mountain. It’s not just the view shed that concerns Webb; he fears the resulting forest fragmentation caused by the construction of the pipeline could have adverse impacts on the flora and fauna of the region, including the loss of dependent species, the introduction of invasive species and the loss of habitat for sensitive species such as the Indiana bat and the Cow Knob salamander.
Webb said the Indiana bat, on the endangered species list, is known to inhabit a number of caves within 50 miles of the pipeline path. Dominion may be required to get an Incidental Take Permit prior to construction. The Cow Knob salamander is protected under a forest service conservation agreement and has been observed in several areas close to the pipeline route. Webb said the pipeline would also cross most of the major streams in the county, many of which also provide native brook trout habitat.
Of special concern to Webb is the Laurel Fork watershed, describing it as one of the most highly valued wild areas in Virginia and the state’s only example of an Alleghenian ecosystem with a multitude of known state rare species.
Karst terrain is another concern according to Webb, saying 50% of the county is underlain by the porous rock formations. A large number of sinkholes have been mapped across the county, some in the vicinity of the pipeline route. Dominion has proposed to monitor springs and wells within 200 feet of the pipeline, but Webb say that’s not sufficient given this kind of terrain.
Webb claims that what sets the proposal apart from other alternatives is that the route would cross 50 miles of national forest land and other areas set aside for conservation, would cross much of the best remaining wild landscape in the state, would affect multiple high quality streams and karst hydrology and could have adverse impacts on protected species. In weighing all that he urges his fellow Highlanders to oppose the pipeline project.
Selected links to information on natural gas pipelines – courtesy of Highlanders for Responsible Development
Interstate natural gas pipeline on my land – what do I need to know? Published by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Dominion Resources link on the Southern Reliability Project
Virginia statute to permit natural gas companies to enter private property
Gas transmission lines Q & A
Natural gas pipelines – a 2011 assessment by the Nature Conservancy, Pennsylvania Chapter of the impact of a new pipeline built in Bradford County, PA
Gas pipeline boom fragmenting Pennsylvania’s forests
A pipeline threatens our family land
Press Statement on Governor McAuliffe’s Announcement on Natural Gas Pipeline
Charlottesville, VA – The following is a statement from Greg Buppert, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center:
We are disappointed that the Governor pledged his support today for a major gas pipeline through Virginia’s forests, particularly in light of the potential impacts on the beloved George Washington National Forest, also known as the GW. Dominion’s proposed pipeline would traverse the Allegheny and Blue Ridge mountains through three counties (Highland, Augusta, and Nelson), as well as the Shenandoah Valley. It crosses prime recreational and biological and recreational areas in the national forest, including much of the best remaining wild landscape in Virginia. It is also proposed through one of Virginia’s most rugged landscapes, crossing numerous ridgelines over 3000 feet and raising serious questions about whether it can be built without significant damage to pristine forests and rivers.
Given these potential impacts, the project has generated a chorus of citizen opposition throughout the state. Dominion has not publically identified a customer in Highland, Nelson, and Augusta counties for the gas carried by the pipeline, and the project threatens the integrity of the region’s public lands and communities with few, if any, apparent long-term economic benefits.
In the past, Governor McAuliffe has voiced strong support for protecting the GW from other industrial development in the form of shale gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing. In light of the expected damaging impacts of the proposed pipeline, we urge the Governor will keep his pledge to the citizens of the Commonwealth to protect the GW, a treasured natural resource that hosts more than a million visitors annually and anchors a vital, agriculture and tourism-based economy for the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding communities.
Proposal for N.C. natural gas pipeline spawns concerns, environmental coalition
September 9, 2014
RICHMOND, Va.- Citing grave concerns, 22 conservation and environmental groups in Virginia and West Virginia are teaming up following the announcement of a proposed $5 billion natural gas pipeline that would end in Robeson County.
Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance members are fearful the path of the 550-mile energy project will trample on some of the most ecologically sensitive areas in the Eastern United States. The coalition has not taken a stand on the pipeline.The project was announced last week by Virginia’s Dominion Resources, Duke Energy and other partners. The pipeline would connect the Southeast with rich supplies of natural gas being produced in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would begin Harrison County, West Virginia, and stretch through Virginia and North Carolina.
In North Carolina, the pipeline would wind through parts of Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson and Cumberland counties before ending in Robeson County. It will run mostly underground and will be designed to transport 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas on a daily basis.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said last week that the proposed line “will bring hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity” to the state.
The project is expected to create nearly 740 jobs annually in North Carolina during the construction phase, according to the Governor’s Office. The economic impact for the state would be $680million, McCrory said.
A total of 52 permanent jobs statewide will be created after construction is complete, the Governor’s Office said.
Before work can begin, state and federal regulators must approve the project. If approved, the pipeline could be in service by late 2018.
Coalition Forms Over Proposed Dominion Pipeline
September 8, 2014
A coalition of 22 organizations from across Virginia and West Virginia has formed the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance in response to the September 2 announcement of the proposed 550-mile natural gas pipeline from Harrison County, WV, to Robeson County, NC. Dubbed the “Atlantic Coast Pipeline” by its proponents, the project is a joint venture of Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources. The companies have not yet applied for a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Contrary to recent suggestions, construction of the project is not a certainty.
The Alliance and its member organizations are gravely concerned about the proposed route of the pipeline, which could disrupt some of the most ecologically sensitive areas in the Eastern United States, including more than 50 miles of public lands in the George Washington and Monongahela national forests. Further, much of the pipeline’s path, particularly in Highland and Augusta Counties in Virginia, would be built over fragile karst topography, a landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks and characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves. The impact on area water supplies of a pipeline built over such unstable geological formations could be significant. It could also present serious safety hazards to the pipeline.
Alliance members are also acutely concerned that the proposed project presents substantial unjustified risks and costs for the rural communities of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge region. These communities will bear the full impact of pipeline development, including the loss of private property, damage to their scenic landscape, and the risk of pollution, with few, if any, of the long-term economic benefits touted by proponents.
Founding members of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance are:
Allegheny Highlands Alliance
Augusta County Alliance
Cooper Conservation Advisors, LLC
Cowpasture River Preservation Association
Friends of Blackwater
Friends of Nelson County
Friends of Shenandoah Mountain
Friends of the Middle River
Greenbrier River Watershed Association
Highlanders for Responsible Development
Jackson River Preservation Association
Shenandoah Group of the Sierra Club
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation
Shenandoah Valley Network
Southern Environmental Law Center
Valley Conservation Council
Virginia Wilderness Committee
West Virginia Environmental Council
West Virginia Highlands Conservancy
West Virginia Rivers Coalition