Your Help Is Needed! ABRA’s New Initiatives Will Require New Funding.

ABRA’s 2021 activities will involve monitoring the restoration of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route, which is expected to extend into 2022, and helping in the continuing fight against the Mountain Valley Pipeline.  However, the bulk of ABRA’s 2021 work will be with the new Conservation Hub program,

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). 

Your Help Is Needed. Our New Initiatives Will Require Funding.

ABRA’s new program directions will require new sources of funding.  We welcome and encourage contributions to support our continuing work to promote and protect the ecological integrity of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge region.  Tax-exempt donations may be made to ABRA, as follows:

By check: Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance,

ABRA Embarks on Exciting New Directions

In August ABRA launched its new Conservation Hub, a program designed to enhance the capabilities of environmental, conservation and citizen groups to better assess the impacts of projects in the greater Allegheny-Blue Ridge region and to help assure that the overall environmental integrity of the region is maintained.

ABRA Pursues Additional New Initiatives

With the July 5 cancellation of the Atlantic Coat Pipeline (ACP), ABRA is focusing on several other initiatives, in addition to the new Conservation Hub program.

  • ABRA’s work on the ACP will continue over the next year and beyond to assure that there is a responsible and thorough restoration of the land disturbance that occurred along the route,

Proposed Gold Mine Could Threaten Buckingham County, James River

A Canadian mining company, Aston Bay Holdings, has been exploring Buckingham County, VA for the establishment of a large, open-pit gold mining operation.  Though the company began drilling exploratory holes in 2016, plans for the mine did not come to light until quite recently. 

FERC Decisions on ACP Restoration Still Under Review

It has been almost 10 weeks since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) received comments from the public on the request by Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (ACP, LLC) for: 1) a one-year extension of its certificate (which expires October 13,

New Army Corps Permits for MVP Are Challenged in Court

A group of five conservation organizations have petitioned the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the new Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP12) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) that was issued September 25 by the U.S. Corps of Engineers.  The NWP12 permit is required to permit the project to cross streams and rivers. 

Forest Service Releases Draft Supplemental EIS for MVP

The Supervisor of the Jefferson National Forest (JNG), Joby Timm, announced on September 25 the availability of a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).  The action is pursuant to a July 30 Notice of Intent from the Forest Service (see ABRA Update of July 30). 

MVP Seeks Permission to Restart Construction

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (MVP, LLC) has requested the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to authorize construction activities on the MVP to resume. Construction on the pipeline was ceased in August 2018 and again in October 2019 as the result of various legal challenges. 

FERC Is Asked to Conduct New Environmental Analysis for MVP

Eight environmental groups have filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking that it supplement its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project to address significant new circumstances and information bearing on MVP’s environmental impacts.”  The August 27 filing cites several federal permits that the MVP project is missing. 

New Report Details How Big Banks Have Propped up the Shale Industry

new report by Oil Change International and Rainforest Action Network shows how major banks have continued pouring money into fracking companies in recent years despite numerous warnings that the sector was financially unsustainable — on top of the well-documented environmental,

Decisions by FERC on ACP Time Extension Requests Still Pending

It has been two-months since Dominion Energy Transportation, Inc. (DETI), the managing partner of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project, requested of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) an extension of one year to complete abandonment and restoration of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project and a two-year extension to construct and place the now-cancelled Supply Header Project (SHP) into service while DETI evaluates options for the potential use of some or all of it. 

Comments Due Friday, September 11 on MVP Extension Request

Comments on the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s request for a two-year extension of its certificate to construct the pipeline, which is due to expire October 13, are due to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) by 5 pm on Friday, September 11. 

Fish and Wildlife Service Issues New Biological Opinion for MVP

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued September 4 a new Biological Opinion (BiOp) and Incidental Take Statement (ITC) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. An earlier BiOp and ITC had been subject to legal challenges in 2019.  The process of writing a new BiOp and ITC has been proceeding for an extended period. 

Comments Filed Opposing Endangered Species Act Modification

Sixty-Four conservation organizations, including ABRA and several of its members, filed comments on September 3 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service in response to a proposal by the two agencies to define “habitat” in the regulations governing the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

Trump Administration Lists MVP Southgate as a Priority Project

An internal Trump Administration memo of July 15, obtain last week by the Center for Biological Diversity, identifies over 50 infrastructure projects that have been designated priorities to finish in accordance with the President’s Executive Order 13927 to accelerate the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

FERC Now Has a Bare Quorum to Function

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) membership has been reduced to three, the minimum number required for votes to take place.  Commissioner Bernard McNamee’s last day was September 4.  His term ended June 30 but he agreed to stay on for an additional two months. 

MVP Asks FERC for Two More Years to Construct Pipeline

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for an extension of time of “an additional two years, or until October 13, 2022, to complete construction of the Project and place the Project facilities into service.” FERC issued on August 27 an official notice of a comment period for the public to have input on the MVP request,

“Reimagine Appalachia” Seeks a New Economy and Environment for Region

In recent months, a new coalition has been created that seeks to find common ground and build “a 21st century economy that’s good for workers, communities, and the environment” in Appalachia, particularly that part of the broader region that encompasses the Ohio River Valley in West Virginia,

A new ABRA program: The Conservation Hub

The Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA) is pleased to announce an exciting new program: The Conservation Hub.  ABRA’s Conservation Hub program promotes responsible resource management by providing data-focused tools that enhance a project’s transparency, strengthen its accountability to regulatory agencies and facilitate public participation in its evaluation process. 

Natural Gas CEO Admits to Excess Pipeline Capacity from Marcellus Basin

There is excess pipeline capacity for natural gas produced from the Marcellus shale field and
the gap of excess capacity over gas produced is expected to grow, according to Toby Rice, CEO of
EQT Corporation, the largest shale gas producer in the United States and a potential major shipper
of gas for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

MVP Southgate Project Is Denied a Water Certificate by North Carolina DEQ

The Southgate Project, a proposed extension of the Mountain Valley Pipeline into North
Carolina, has been denied a necessary water quality certificate under Section 401 of the Clean
Water Act by the North Carolina Division of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ).

Warner, Kaine Introduce Bill to Improve Pipeline Permitting Process

U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-V) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced legislation on
August 6 to strengthen the public’s ability to evaluate the impacts of natural gas pipelines being
considered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. S. 4502 would make it easier for the
public to offer input and clarify the circumstances under which eminent domain should and
should not be used.