Natural Gas in Virginia: Dominion’s proposed pipeline and how we can stand together to fight back

Update as of November 13th, 2014:On October 31st, Dominion Resources submitted a pre-filing request to FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee, which asks them to begin the environmental review of the pipeline. Landowners, community members, and activists around the state are continuing to mobilize and fight Dominion’s FERC requests at every step of the process. CCAN has partnered with local groups on the ground to launch a petition to Governor McAuliffe asking him to renounce his support of the pipeline. Our goal is 10,000 signatures–help us reach our goal and stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline by signing here! 

As of November 12th, Dominion gave final notice and threat to sue the 189 landowners along the path of pipeline who have not issued permission for Dominion to survey their land. If you have received a letter from Dominion and need more information, please contact: info@augustacountyalliance.org.

 

As Virginians, we’ve been fortunate enough so far to be free of fracking—the dangerous process of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

But just because we aren’t on top of the Marcellus Shale or Utica Shale basins, doesn’t mean we’re not connected with our neighbors battling fracking wells in their backyards, or that the dangers of our nation’s natural gas boom aren’t already threatening Virginia.

Dominion Resources recently partnered with Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, and AGL proposed a $5 billion, 550-mile pipeline that would cross through Virginia to connect natural gas production in West Virginia to consumption in North Carolina.

Starting in West Virginia, Dominion’s Atlantic-Coast Pipeline (previously known as the Reliability Pipeline) would enter through Highland County, heading into Nelson County and across the Shenandoah Valley on its way to North Carolina. The pipeline would also have an extension connecting to Hampton Roads. The  proposed route would go through the George Washington National Forest and the backyards of Virginian families.

Leaks, explosions, and other accidents are not unlikely for a project of this scale, and hundreds of Nelson County residents raised their safety and environmental concerns last week at Dominion’s first public meeting in Nelson County.

Here’s a close up of the contested route, provided by groups helping to organize local residents to fight back:

The proposed route of Dominion’s Reliability Pipeline, a $2 billion, 450-mile pipeline that would cut through Virginia on its way from West Virginia to North Carolina.

I think a more reliable project wouldn’t include the risk of gas leaks and explosions. A smarter investment would be putting that $2 billion into energy efficiency, wind, and solar energy for our region.

Instead, it’s very clear that Dominion is moving too far, too fast towards natural gas, yet another dangerous fossil fuel — and one comprised mostly of methane, a powerful heat-trapping gas known to leak at high levels during the fracking process.

In fact, Dominion Virginia Power’s Integrated Resource Plan proposes 6-7 new fossil fuel plants in Virginia over the next 15 years, and Dominion Resources (DVP’s parent company) is fighting hard for a $3.8 billion liquefied natural gas export facility in Cove Point, Maryland. It’s clear that this pipeline is one major piece of Dominion’s region-wide push to keep us locked into climate-harming fracked gas for decades to come.

Unless we stop it.

Groups of concerned citizens across the Commonwealth are banding together to resist this pipeline—and to resist all dangerous, new natural gas pipelines and infrastructure that are a threat to our state.

Please check out the following organizations that are coordinating regional resistance to the pipeline and supporting homeowners along the proposed routes. Join their mailing lists for immediate updates on the pipeline routes as they continue to unfold:

Friends of Nelson County

Shenandoah Valley Network

  • Serves Augusta County, Frederick County, Page County, Rockingham County, Shenandoah County, Warren County
  • Working to protect and sustain the rural landscapes, communities, and ecosystems of the Shenandoah Valley by working with strong local citizens’ groups, promoting smart local land use, and effective land protection strategies
  • http://www.svnva.org/

Augusta County Alliance

Highlanders for Responsible Development

  • Highland County, VA
  • Highlanders for Responsible Development is a citizens’ group that promotes stewardship of Highland County’s unspoiled landscape, natural resources and exceptional quality of life. We support policies and activities that are based upon informed community discourse, democratic decision making, prudent land use and sustainable economic development.
  • http://www.protecthighland.org

Visit us back here for more updates as they unfold. CCAN will be keeping all eyes on the pipeline route and the proposal process to make sure we inform supporters with the first opportunity for public comments and other actions we can take statewide to stop the pipeline.

For updates on the pipeline project: http://www.nelsoncounty-va.gov/pipeline-information-and-updates/