Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Status, Prospects, and Actions
What’s the status of the FERC Review?
FERC is scheduled to release the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on July 21, 2017. The FEIS will apply to the entire project, including permits to cross the Monongahela and George Washington National Forest.
All comments on the Draft EIS are part of the official record and can be used in future legal challenges if they are unresolved in the Final EIS. Issues to be challenged may include abuse of eminent domain for private profit, damage to waterbodies, impacts on endangered species, climate change, economic damage, environmental justice, and cultural resources. Since FERC issued the draft EIS, Dominion has submitted thousands of pages of additional information that was not available for public review and comment in the DEIS process.
The U.S. Forest Service will have a 45-day “objection” period followed by a 45-day “resolution” period. Objections can be filed on points relevant to the National Forests raised during the DEIS comment period or on new information not available when the DEIS was published. Litigation may then follow.
FERC currently has 2 (of 5) commissioners, so they don’t have the quorum necessary to approve any pipeline projects. The administration has nominated 2 replacements who will undergo Senate review.
How can the ACP be significantly delayed and/or stopped?
- FERC can deny a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for the ACP.
- Dominion can withdraw its application with FERC.
- The U.S. Forest Service can deny the issuance of a special use permit to construct the ACP on National Forest Lands.
- A pending lawsuit on the legality of the issuance by the Buckingham Board of Supervisors of a permit to construct the Buckingham County compressor station could derail the entire project.
- The State of Virginia can deny a water quality permit for the ACP. The Virginia Governor can direct the VA Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to strengthen its review, rather than deferring to the U.S. Corps of Engineers for a broad-scale, less rigorous review.
- The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) can deny the issuance of easements across properties with VOF conservation easements.
- Litigation, combined with an injunction for procedural violations by many groups including FERC, USFS, Dominion or Duke Energy, and VA or WVA or NC Departments of Environmental Quality could temporarily or permanently stop the ACP.
What can I do today to help fight the ACP?
- Keep the issue alive by writing letters to the editor. Sample Comments
- CALL Ralph Northam’s office and urge him to tell the governor to direct the DEQ to undertake a full review of the impacts the ACP might have on all streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands, and to require that the ACP would meet all state water quality standards.
- CALL Senators Kaine and Warner and your representative and request that they push FERC to create a Revised EIS with a new public review and comment period.
- If you have money in banks funding the ACP (ex. Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, Bank of America), consider divesting and state that you are pulling your money because you oppose the ACP.
- If you hold Dominion stocks, follow the lead of Exxon stockholders and push for company executives to explain how their investment plan responds constructively to global climate change. Ask why Dominion has so little invested or planned for renewables.
- Landowners can refuse to sign any easement agreements and continue to deny access for survey of their properties.
- Join the Wild Virginia e-mail list and keep in touch.
- Support our work by donating to Wild Virginia!