A year ago, in the first week of January 2017, ABRA members were deeply involved in analyzing the then just released Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and beginning to develop arguments and strategies to present to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission during the comment period and at hearings on the DEIS. At that same time last year, none of the environmental agencies in the three states through which the ACP was to cross had yet to identify a process by which they would evaluate the potential impact of the project on their respective state’s water quality. And, the U.S. Forest Service was still evaluating the wisdom of permitting the ACP to cross the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests.
Twelve months later, FERC and the Forest Service have approved the ACP, West Virginia has waived its review of water quality, Virginia has given a conditional yes to issuing a water quality permit, North Carolina’s environmental agency continues to study the ACP water quality application.
The project is admittedly closer to receiving all final approvals, but our fight continues vigorously to defeat this unnecessary and environmental damaging project. Legal challenges to some of the aforementioned approvals have already commenced (see here and here). More such challenges are being evaluated. In the meantime, ABRA has taken steps to strengthen the coalition’s overall effort to ultimately prove the economic and environmental folly of the ACP:
- The ABRA Steering Committee, which guides coalition programs and policy implementation, has been expanded to broaden the diversity of interests and expertise represented;
- A Board of Directors has been created to strengthen the overall management of the coalition;
- A new program, to be announced soon, is under development to address the need for greater scrutiny of the ACP as the project gears up for the possible commencement of construction; and
- New opportunities will soon be created to help more people be productively involved in the continuing fight against the ACP.
ABRA’s Steering Committee and Board of Directors thanks all of you for your tremendous efforts in 2017. We look forward to working with you in new ways in 2018.