• Meet Rick Webb, ABRA’s New Executive Director

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    In the June 2nd, 2022 issue of ABRA Update we reported the difficult news that Lew Freeman was stepping down after serving as Executive Director of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance since 2014.

    Allen Johnson, Chair of the ABRA Board of Directors,

  • Northern long-eared bat should be declared endangered

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    Twenty-four conservation groups, including ABRA, have voiced strong support to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for the agency to finalize designating the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species.  The groups’ May 23 letter to FWS, sent on their behalf by the Southern Environmental Law Center,

  • An Adieu from Lew Freeman

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    I announced two months ago that I would be stepping down as Executive Director of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance in June.  Today is my last day.

    I’ve had the privilege of helping co-found ABRA in 2014 and serving as its first Chair until assuming the role as staff head. 

  • A message from Allen Johnson, Chair, ABRA Board of Directors

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    As Chair of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors, we commend and thank Lew Freeman for his extraordinary and competent leadership. Lew developed, coordinated, and empowered diverse peoples and organizations into the collective ABRA force that was significantly instrumental in defeating the colossal Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.

  • Opportunity to comment on commercial gold mining in Virginia

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    As previously reported, the Canadian exploration company, Aston Bay, has been performing exploratory drilling for gold across central Virginia, and advertizing their finds internationally. As one of the most environmentally destructive activities undertaken by humans, modern industrial-scale gold mining saddles host communities,

  • MVP asks 4th Circuit to assign new judges to its cases

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    Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (MVP, LLC) has requested that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals randomly assign judges to hear future cases involving appeals over permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.  In a May 16 petition filed with the Fourth Circuit,

  • New webinar series on pipelines launches June 1

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    The Virginia League of Conservation Voters launches Wednesday June 1 at 7 pm a series of webinars on resisting methane buildout in the state.  The first webinar will explore the energy and utility forces driving pipeline construction in Virginia and what can be done to protect the Commonwealth and climate.

  • Virginia Governor Younkin announces appointments to Air Board

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    Governor Younkin announced on May 13 the following appointments to the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board:

    • James Patrick Guy II of Saxe, General Counsel, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative
    • Jay Holloway of Richmond, Managing Partner, Climate Law &
  • MVP admits to more delays, cost overruns

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    Equitrans Midstream Corporation (ETRN), the largest owner (48%) and operator of the still uncompleted Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), announced on May 3 that the pipeline is not expected to be in operation until the “second half of 2023 at a total project cost of approximately $6.6 billion.”  The delay is the result of several federal permits being invalidated by court decisions resulting from legal challenges by conservation groups. 

  • Applications for ABRA director position still being accepted

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    Applications for a new director to manage the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance are still being accepted. Persons interested in the position or those with recommendations of persons that might be considered are urged to contact ABRA Chair Allen Johnson at

  • Opposition voiced to invoking Defense Production Act for MVP

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    Twenty-four conservation groups, including ABRA, joined by 17 Virginia state legislators, wrote U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warne on April 22 to express strong opposition to a March 10 recommendation by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin that the Biden Administration invoke the Defense Production Act to complete the Mountain Valley Pipeline. 

  • FERC approves change in stream crossings for MVP

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    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has granted a request from the Mountain Valley Pipeline to change its crossing method for some 180 bodies of water and wetlands.  FERC’s April 8 Order allows the project to bore under the bodies of water and wetlands instead of the open-cut method that the project’s original certificate approved.

  • Job posting for new ABRA director position now available

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    A job description for a new director to manage the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance is now available on the ABRA website.  Lewis Freeman, the current Executive Director for ABRA and a co-founder of the organization, announced on March 31 his plans to retire from the position in June.

  • 2020 Census data shows population decreases in mountain areas

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    Detailed results of the 2020 U.S. Census reveal population shifts that could have longer-term impacts on politics and public policy.  Overall, Virginia’s population grew from 2010 to 2020 by nearly 7.9%, to 8.6 million. In the mountainous areas of Virginia,

  • Questions on MVP’s environmental impact continue in the courts

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    Challenges to the environmental impacts of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) have continued in the past week in two federal court proceedings.

    On April 1, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals refused an appeal by the pipeline’s owners to reconsider before the full Court the January 25 decision by a three-judge panel to strike down the Biological Opinion issued for the MVP by the U.S.

  • The Fight Against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: A Chronicle

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    ABRA released on March 29 a paper documenting the most significant developments of the more than six- year opposition effort to the Atlantic Cost Pipeline (ACP). The Fight Against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: A Chronicle provides details of 400 individual developments of the ACP fight,

  • FERC approves restoration plan for ACP

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    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved at its March 24 meeting a restoration plan for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and for the associated Supply Header Project (SHP). The restoration of the ACP route will be the responsibility of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,

  • ABRA to publish a chronicle of the 6-year fight against the ACP

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    ABRA will publish this month a paper that chronicles the effort to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) from being constructed.

    The Fight Against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: A Chronicle describes in detail significant developments associated with the opposition effort against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,

  • 4th Circuit declines to rehear on Forest Service decision on MVP

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    An appeal by Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the decision of a three-judge panel to vacate the Forest Service permit for the project was rejected by Court on March 25.  This leaves the MVP the option,

  • Shenandoah Mountain Scenic Area a step closer to reality

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    Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner introduced on March 23 the Shenandoah Mountain Act of 2022, which would designate more than 92,000 acres of the George Washington National Forest as the Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area (SMCSA).  If enacted,

  • Decisions on ACP restoration plan expected soon

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    The long-anticipated decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on the route restoration of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is expected be forthcoming this month.  FERC announced in November that a final decision on a restoration plan for the project would be made by March 17,

  • Permit problems continue to mount for Mountain Valley Pipeline

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    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created another delay for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) when it announced in a February 9 letter that it would not finalize action on a permit for the project to cross rivers,

  • Off-road vehicles pose threat to public lands

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    A new project added this week to ABRA’s Conservation Hub highlights the growing threat off-road-vehicles (ORVs) pose to the environmental integrity of public lands.  Sponsored by the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, the project includes an interactive online map to help educate the public and legislators regarding the impacts on West Virginia’s public lands. 

  • FERC is asked to issue stop-work order for MVP

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    In the wake of two decisions by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacating three permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was asked on February 7 to issue a stop-work order “halting all construction activity” that has been authorized by FERC for the MVP. 

  • Concerns raised over hydrogen hub proposal for Appalachia

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    A coalition of energy, petrochemical and steel companies announced on February 3 the formation of an alliance to develop a low-carbon and hydrogen industrial hub in the Appalachian region, specifically in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  The group plans to build out an infrastructure for “blue” hydrogen production,

  • Fourth Circuit Vacates Two Key MVP Permits

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    The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated – for the second time – the approvals granted by the U.S. Forest Service (NFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) to cross 3.5 miles of the Jefferson National Forest. 

  • Augusta County citizen opposition kills proposed waste pit

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    Strong citizen opposition to a proposed waste pit in Augusta County, has killed the project. The Houff Corporation had proposed in November to construct a 3-million-gallon open pit to store industrial food waste imported from outside the county, to be located near Churchville,

  • New members join ABRA’s Board of Directors

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    Three new members have been elected to ABRA’s Board of Directors: Ben Luckett, Appalachian Mountain Advocates; David Sligh, Wild Virginia; and Judy Rodd, Friends of Blackwater.

    Continuing on the ABRA Board are Kate Boyle of Appalachian Advocates (Vice Chair),

  • National Forest Integrity Project Launched by ABRA

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    ABRA has unveiled the first phase of its National Forest Integrity Project (NFIP).  The project, part of ABRA’s Conservation Hub, is a monitoring program created to track proposed and ongoing projects in the three National Forests that are located within the Central Appalachian Highlands (Monongahela in West Virginia and George Washington and Jefferson in Virginia).

  • Appeals on MVP water certification filed with Fourth Circuit

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    The December decisions by Virginia and West Virginia to grant water certificates to the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) have been appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Appalachian Mountain Advocates (Appalmad) filed with the Fourth Circuit on behalf of Sierra Club and five other conservation groups a petition for review of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s December 30 approval of a permit for the MVP under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.  

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