Get Familiar with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, It Just Got One Step Closer to Becoming a Reality



“We shall overcome!” These were the words ringing throughout the Buckingham County Administration Building on Thursday night, January 5th. Evelyn, a resident of Buckingham, lead the entire room in prayerful song as part of her public comment to the Buckingham Board of Supervisors.

This was the latest meeting in regards to Dominion Resources’ application for a “special use permit” that would legally open the doorway for them to build a 53,518 horsepower compressor station for their proposed 550-mile, $5 billion, fracked natural gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Earlier meetings had generated so much demand for public comment that several additional meetings had to be scheduled so that everyone could have the opportunity to be heard.

Unfortunately, the Board voted unanimously in favor of granting the application to Dominion, a win for the ACP and a setback for the growing resistance against the pipeline.

Here is a Timeline To Catch You Up To Speed:

May 2014 – The ACP LLC began surveying and route planning.

September 2015 – ACP LLC filed their application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Summer 2017 – Construction scheduled to begin

Late 2019 – Pipeline scheduled to be fully in service

The ACP’s proposed route starts in Harrison, West Virginia and will end in Robeson, North Carolina. The pipeline would pass just south and to the east of Richmond, through Cumberland and Dinwiddie Counties.

The Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline, as it zig-zags across the landscape. Image taken north of the Alaska Range.

Some of the MOST COMMON CONCERNS about the pipeline are:

-Release of methane into atmosphere adding to greenhouse effect

-High likelihood of erosion

-Negatively affecting water quality in many counties

-Risk of fire and explosion

-Investing in long-term fossil fuel infrastructure rather than renewable energy

-Destroying natural beauty and clearing forests

-Health concerns near the compressor stations

-Loud noise around compressor stations

-Current natural gas supply is already greater than the expected future peak demand in the region, therefore new pipelines are not needed 

-Undetected gas leaks can pose threats to human health, wildlife and ecosystems.

-Release of other toxic air pollutants

How You Can Help RIGHT NOW!

On December 30th FERC released their gigantic, three-volume Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the ACP. This is FERC’s presentation of the impacts and harmful effects that the pipeline will have on the environments of the affected communities.

The release of the EIS started a 90-day public comment period that will end on April 6, 2017. This is your opportunity as a Virginia resident or concerned citizen to voice any complaints or opinions specifically related to the EIS.

You can send in your comment to FERC here . You will want to check out this information on how to submit a comment and what is best to include.

While I have not sifted through the EIS yet myself, here is an initial comment about it from Cat McCue, communications director for Appalachian Voices, a regional advocacy organization:

“The EPA has found basically the same problems with FERC’s environmental reports on a bunch of other proposed gas pipelines,” said McCue. “We know the MVP [Mountain Valley Pipeline] report is half-baked. And while we’re all still reading through the ACP report, we don’t see any indications so far that it’s any better.”

Once the comment and revision period is complete, FERC is scheduled to issue their final EIS in June 2017.

The good news is public outrage and input has been effective so far in delaying the project by about a year. So submit a comment and spread the word about this!

As a reminder, Ellwood Thompson’s supports clean, renewable energy sources!

Useful Resources:

 “Stopping the pipeline: what are the options?” – An easy-to-read description of the interstate pipeline process from a community in Massachussetts that has dealt with the same process:

 Friends of Buckingham: An organization of united citizens of Buckingham County that are actively working to protect their county and stop the pipeline. A great source of information.

Friends of Nelson: A 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to opposing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Another great source of information about pipelines and the ACP.

NO ACP: A Richmond-based group of citizens in opposition to Dominion’s “environmentally destructive practices.” A good source for updates, info, and events.

NO ACP Funding Campaign

Chesapeake Climate Action Network: A grassroots, non-profit organization focused on fighting climate change in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. They post info on direct actions, events, news, and other useful information related to the fight to protect our climate.

Map of proposed pipeline route


Nick Lasky

Ellwood Thompson’s Food Advocate

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