Conservation groups voice concerns over MVP water permits

Six conservation groups have written the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) requesting a meeting with the agency concerning forthcoming water certification requests from Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (MVP, LLC) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project.  The February 12 letter to DEQ Director David Paylor noted that MVP,

Pipeline bills progress in the Virginia General Assembly

Two measures designed to improve state oversight of natural gas pipelines have now passed the Virginia Senate and are headed for floor consideration in the House of Delegates.

  • SB1265, sponsored by Sen. Deeds, authorizes the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to conduct inspections of land-disturbing activities related to construction of any natural gas transmission pipeline equal to or greater than 24 inches inside diameter.

2020 Census Expected to Significantly Impact Congressional Representation

Results of the 2020 U.S. Census are expected to be released by or before April 30, according to a recent statement by the acting director of the Census Bureau.  The Census results will become the basis of the once-a-decade reapportionment of the 435 seats in the U.S.

ABRA members file comments with FERC about ACP restoration issues

Fifteen conservation groups, including 9 ABRA members, filed comments on February 9, with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to raise concerns over the plan recently submitted to the agency by Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (Atlantic) on how the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) route would be restored.

Coalition seeks to educate investment community about funding MVP

The DivestMVP coalition is seeking new members in its effort to educate the banking and investing community about the threat the Mountain Valley Pipeline poses to communities, waters, lands and climate as well as the losing economics of this project that’s $3 Billion over budget and 3 years behind schedule. 

Leading credit rating firm voices concerns about the MVP

Fitch Ratings, one of the leading firms that provides credit ratings, commentary and economic research, has voiced doubts about the viability of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.  In a January 28 issue of its Fitch Wire, the firm stated:

President Joe Biden’s executive order that revoked Keystone XL’s Presidential Permit may be an indicator of his administration’s aversion to long-distance projects in US midstream energy,

Legislation on gold mining progresses in Virginia General Assembly

A bill that would direct state agencies to evaluate the environmental threats posed by gold mining in Virginia was approved February 5 by the Virginia House of Delegates.  The vote was 55 in favor, 45 against.  HB 2213, a measure spearheaded by ABRA member Friends of Buckingham,

Duke IRPs overstate likely future demand growth

Forecasts used by Duke Energy that predict steadily rising demand for electricity in the Carolinas ignore the company’s sales history in the past 15 years, which have been essentially flat, and should be challenged by state regulators, according to a new study by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

Dominion Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan Deemed Insufficient

Dominion Energy’s proposed integrated resource plan, filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) on May 1, 2020, has been rejected as insufficient.  The plan was to have included information related to the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) enacted by the General Assembly in 2020. 

President Biden appoints new FERC Chair

President Biden has named Richard Glick to serve as Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  The action was announced on the morning of the President’s first full-day in office, January 21.  Glick, a Democrat, has been a FERC Commissioner since 2017 and has supported positions advocated by ABRA and its member organizations.

Biden orders review of Trump actions on methane regulation

The rollback of the Obama-era rule designed to reduce climate-warming methane emissions that former President Trump ordered in 2020 is a candidate for revocation under an Executive Order issued January 20 by President Biden.  The President’s “Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis” directs the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to “consider suspending,

White House orders freeze on issuance and implementation of new rules

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain issued January 20 a memorandum to the heads of all federal executive departments and agencies directing that new pending rules be held up until the President’s appointees or designees “have the opportunity to review them.”     The January 20 memorandum directs that rules that have been sent to the Office of the Federal Register not be published. 

New Environment Secretary chosen in West Virginia

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (R) announced January 20 the appointment of Harold Ward as Secretary of the Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.  He replaces Austin Caperton, who resigned in December.  Ward has most recently been Deputy Secretary of Operations for the Department,

ACP Route Restoration Plan Filed with FERC Leaves Unanswered Questions

A long-awaited restoration plan for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) to address land and forests that were disrupted by the project before it was cancelled in July was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on January 4.  The filing was in response to a formal request by FERC on October 27.

Deliberations on Proposed Gold Mine in Buckingham County Continue

A proposed gold mining operation in Buckingham County, VA, first reported in the October 8 issue of ABRA Update, will be the subject of continued deliberation next week.  The Buckingham County Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission will conduct a joint hearing on Monday,

VA DEQ Denies Water Quality Certification for MVP Under Army Corps Plan

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has denied water quality certification under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permit 12 Permit program (NWP12) for any natural gas pipeline “greater than 36 inches inside diameter.”  The judgment was part of a December 21 letter from DEQ to the Army Corps’ Norfolk District Office that was released January 4. 

ABRA End of the Year Report for 2020

WE WON!

Those two words best summarize the 2020 accomplishments of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance.  Our coalition’s 6+ year effort to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was an achievement for which the dozens of member organizations and thousands of volunteers working within the ABRA umbrella can proudly claim credit. 

Talk About Being Out of Touch with the News!

The November 19 “Presidents Update” blog by the President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber Commerce, Bryan Stephens, celebrates the “recent common-sense ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States” in permitting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross underneath the Appalachian Trail. 

ACP Restoration Plans Still Somewhere on the Drawing Board

The restoration plans for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, requested on October 27 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and due by December 26, are still – as of this writing – somewhere in the works.  Plans for what to do about the unfinished Supply Header Project,

Giving Tuesday May Be Over, But Contributions to ABRA Are Still Timely

The new year is weeks away and ABRA is ready to meet the challenges of 2021:

  • We are poised to review the soon-to-be-released restoration plans for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route and to monitor closely the implementation of those plans to assure they are completed satisfactorily.

Fourth Circuit Explains and Reaffirms Stay of MVP’s Army Corps Permit

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 1 issued its opinion on the stay of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP12) it had granted in early November for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).  The challenge to NWP12 permits issued in September by the Huntington and Norfolk Districts of the Corps had been brought by a coalition of environmental groups,

Congressional Subcommittee Queries FERC on Landowner Issues

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (part of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform) has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to address several issues involving conflicts between landowners and natural gas pipeline companies. 

U.S. Senate Confirms Two New FERC Commissioners

The U.S. Senate on November 30 confirmed the two nominees for outstanding vacancies on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  The two new commissioners are:

  • Mark Christie, Republican, who has been a longtime member and most recently Chairman of the Virginia State Corporation Commission
  • Allision Clements,

ABRA, SELC Honored by Rockbridge Area Conservation Council

ABRA and Southern Environmental Law Center were each honored for their role in fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) at the November 8 Board of Directors meeting of the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council (RACC).

SELC received the Relentless Warriors Award in recognition for its “dedicated pursuit of justice and tireless work,

New Study Highlights How Big Banks Support the Unneeded MVP

A new study from Oil Change International (OCI) reveals that several major U.S. banks have substantially increased their investment in the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

“New Money Behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline,” released by on November 12,

U.S. Senate Committee Approves New FERC Commissioners

Two nominees for vacancies on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) were approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.  The two nominees, Mark Christie and Allison Clements, had been nominated by President Trump in July.

Mr.

FERC Formally Requests ACP Restoration Plans

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Tuesday, October 27 asked Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc. (DETI), managing partner for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Supply Header Project (SHP), to provide it “a plan for disposition of ACP and SHP,

MVP Further Delayed and Costs Soar; Challenge to BiOp Filed

Completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) will be delayed until the second half of 2021, according to Equitrans Midstream Corp., the lead partner of the project.  The project is now expected to cost nearly $6 billion, a more than 50% increase in the project’s projected cost when construction began in 2018. 

ABRA’s Conservation Hub Launches Ambitious Forest Service Project

ABRA’s new Conservation Hub program, which was featured in the lead article in the October 23 ABRA Update, is embarking on a major project that will be the first of its kind in the nation. 

Guidance Issued to Federal Agencies on NEPA Compliance

The Director of the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued on November 2 a memorandum to the heads of all departments and agencies of the Federal Government providing guidance on how to implement a new rule that was adopted in July that revises procedures of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).