A request was filed March 22 on behalf of ABRA with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to investigate potential violations by Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) of the Commission’s Certificate and Virginia’s water quality certification. Aerial photographs taken earlier in March by ABRA’s Compliance Surveillance Initiative showed what appears to be substantial construction work in an area of Augusta County, near the site from which ACP proposes to bore through the Blue Ridge Mountains. The photographs show new and improved roads, new bridges, and what appear to be equipment parking and staging areas. Last week’s ABRA Update reported on the incident report.
The activities do not appear to have been authorized under any of the limited Notices to Proceed FERC has issued for the ACP, which allow at this time only tree cutting by non-mechanized means. The ABRA request explains that these actions will impact water quality and that, since the State of Virginia has not approved for the ACP erosion and sediment control and stormwater plans, the project’s water quality certification is not effective. Therefore, possible land disturbance, changes to stormwater flows and other effects must not be allowed. The submittal to FERC also notes that ACP’s weekly status reports have not provided notice of any of these activities and that environmental compliance reports indicate these sites have not been inspected.
The filing asks FERC to report on its investigative proceedings and findings to public and that it not invoke regulatory provisions to keep this information from citizens.