Reinstatement of Army Corps’ NWP 12 Authority Denied by Appeals Court

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied on May 28  a request of the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the owner of the Keystone XL Pipeline to reinstate the Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP12) authority of the Corps.  A federal district court in Montana had ruled on April 15 that the Corps had violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in issuing the current NWP12 and revoked the Corps’ authority to issue any new permits for pipeline projects to cross streams and rivers. 

Six Years and Counting . . .

It was six-years ago this week that Dominion Energy began contacting local officials in Virginia and West Virginia to advise them of the company’s plans to build a natural gas pipeline through their communities.  Initially called the Southeast Reliability Project,

Additional Public Hearing Scheduled for Header Improvement Project

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) announced May 27 that additional public testimony on Virginia Natural Gas’s proposed Header Improvement Project (HIP) will be received on June 8 at a virtual hearing, webcast by the SCC. The deadline for filing written comments is also extended to June 8,

ARTivism Virginia Holding Concerts and Workshops on Thursdays

ARTivism Virginia, an initiative to connect artists and activists in Virginia in the fight for environmental justice, is conducting a series of online concerts and workshops on Thursday through the end of June.

The Sun Sing in Place concert Series,

Appeals Court Urged to Keep Freeze on Army Corps’ NWP 12 for Pipelines

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has been urged to uphold a Federal District Court in Montana’s ruling prohibiting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP12) program from issuing new permits for oil and natural gas pipelines.

Trump Calls for Reducing Regulations to Aide Economic Recovery

President Trump issued an Executive Order on May 19 to reduce regulatory requirements to support businesses in recovering from the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19.  The Order states that:

Agencies should address this economic emergency by rescinding,

Comment Period Extended for Header Improvement Project

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) has extended the comment period for the proposed Header Improvement Project (HIP), a proposal by Virginia Natural Gas for a pipeline expansion to serve a new power plant in Charles City, VA.  The SCC held a May 12 webcasts hearing and has indicated an additional hearing will be scheduled,

The Future of LNG Exports Increasingly Looks Shaky

A recently released analysis of the future financial prospects for liquified natural gas (LNG) strongly suggests that markets are imploding.  The LNG issue becomes relevant for those concerned about efforts to build new, unneeded natural gas pipelines because of excessive natural gas supplies and reduced domestic demand.

New Study: Solar and Wind Puts Existing Coal, Gas at Risk

Solar photovoltaic (PV) and onshore wind are now the cheapest sources of new energy generation sources for at least two-thirds of the global population., according to a new analysis by BloombergNEF (BNEF).    The BNEF analysis “shows that the global benchmark levelized cost of electricity,

ACP Construction Yard in Goshen Approved by County Planning Commission

The Rockbridge County, VA Planning Commission approved on May 13 a site plan for a proposed construction storage yard for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) in Goshen, VA.  The 4-0 vote (with one abstention) came despite 95 of the 99 written comments received by the Commission expressing opposition to the yard plan. 

ACP Responds to Buckingham Compressor Station Court Decision

Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC  (ACP, LLC) has finally submitted a response to the January 7 decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate the Buckingham compressor station.  ACP, LLC made recently two supplemental information submissions to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ),

Army Corps Appeals Court Decision Vacating NWP12 Program

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers filed on May 13 an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of the Montana U.S. District Court of the decision that vacated the authority of the Corps to issue new stream crossing permits under the Corps’ Nationwide 12 program. 

FERC Rejects State AGs Plea for Project Moratorium During COVID-19 Crisis

A May 7 request by attorneys general of 10 states and the District of Columbia for a moratorium on approvals of all new and pending natural gas pipelines, LNG facilities and related fossil-fuel infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 pandemic has been summarily rejected by the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). 

New EPA Navigable Waters Rule Challenged in Court

A group of conservation organizations on April 29 filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina, Charleston District, challenging the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which was published as a final rule on April 21. 

Appeals Court Hears Arguments Challenging FERC’s “Tolling Order” Policy

The long practice of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to delay making decisions on appeals of its rulings – so-called “tolling orders” – was challenged in oral arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, April 27. 

Court Denies Request for A Stay of Keystone XL Decision Affecting NWP 12

Chief Judge Brian Morris for the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana  said on April 28 that he would not issue an administrative stay to his  April 15 order blocking the Army Corps’ Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP12) program,

Concerns Expressed About Proposed ACP Yard in Goshen, VA

A proposed construction storage yard has drawn expressions of deep concern from a coalition of Rockbridge County citizens plus ABRA, Augusta County Alliance and the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, both of whom are ABRA members. The proposed yard site is proximate to wetlands and streams on the edge of Goshen that empty into the Calfpasture River and then the scenic Maury River.

Natural Gas Is A Bridge to Nowhere for Investors, According to New Study

A new study concludes that “the proliferation of natural gas infrastructure contributes to distinct risks that threaten shareholder value, including investor portfolio risk, company-level physical risk, regulatory and technological transition risk, and reputational risk.”

Natural Gas: A Bridge to Climate Breakdown,

Court Ruling on Army Corps Permit for Keystone XL Will Impact ACP

A federal district judge in Montana on April 15 ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the law when it approved National Permit 12 (NWP12) to permit the Keystone XL Pipeline to cross streams and rivers under the Corps’ jurisdiction. 

Gov. Northam Signs Utility Consumer Bill, Shale Industry Balks

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed into law April 6 a new law that would protect ratepayers from being charge for the cost of unneeded infrastructure, such as natural gas pipelines, based upon a determination by the State Corporation Commission. HB 167,

Pandemic Continues to Impact Fossil Fuel and Other Energy Markets

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the national and international economy has been particularly sharp on energy markets.  The economic slowdown has meant less demand for all forms of energy, exacerbating an already over-supplied oil and gas market, driving prices to near record lows. 

ACP Survey Claims Are Contested as Outdated

Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC’s has contended to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that bat surveys it conducted in 2015 should be considered “current.”  This contention was challenged in an April 2 letter to FERC by the Southern Environmental Law Center. 

Energy Efficiency Industry Is Fastest Growing Employer in Energy Sector

Jobs associated with energy efficiency now number 2.38 million, making it the second largest employer segment in the overall energy industry and the fastest growing segment of the industry.   This is one of the findings of a the newly released 2020 U.S.

WV Biological Assessment Rule Virtual Public Hearing Scheduled for April 20

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will conduct a virtual public hearing on April 20, from 6 to 8 pm, on its proposed biological assessment rule that defines how the agency uses the presence of aquatic life to determine whether a stream is meeting the state’s water quality standards,

ABRA Unveils New Pipeline Mapping Systems

Two new online mapping systems have been created by ABRA to assist allies who are fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and other pipeline projects in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and in North Carolina.  Both systems are based on geographic information system (GIS) technology,

Clarification Sought from Virginia DEQ on Storage Yard Requirements

ABRA has asked the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for clarification in how the agency reviews land-disturbing activities associated with a pipeline project, such as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), but which are removed from the actual route of the project,

Webinar Planned for April 9 on COVID-19 and the Gas Power Industry

A webinar co-hosted by Reuters Events and Petrochemical Update will be held Thursday, April 9 at 10 am (EDT) to explore the impact the short and long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the gas power industry. 

SELC Urges FERC To Uphold Tree Clearing Requirements for ACP

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been urged to reject any request the agency might receive from Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC to bypass tree clearing restrictions under provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).  In a March 27 letter,

VA. WV Announce Environmental Enforcement Policies During Pandemic

The recently announced U.S. EPA policy on enforcement discretion during the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to issue clarifying guidance.

The DEQ statement,

New Report Highlights Threat of Pipeline Construction to Water Quality

A new report on turbidity in streams and rivers underscores how increased sediment loads will adversely affect aquatic life as well as drinking water quality.

Numeric Turbidity Water Quality Standards: A Tool to Protect Aquatic Life was released this week by the West Virginia Rivers Coalition and Trout Unlimited.