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.

U.S. EPA to Hold Webinar on Environmental Justice

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is conducting a series of training webinars to
build the capacity of state environmental justice practitioners. The first webinar in 2020 on
“Information Systems to Advance Environmental Justice,” to take place on September 10 at 1:00
EDT,

FERC Receives Comments Objecting to ACP & SHP Extension Requests

A denial of Dominion Energy’s request for more time to complete its Supply Header Project (SHP) was a repeated theme among the scores of comments received by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on August 3 and preceding days.  Dominion Energy Transmission,

Webinar on Great American Outdoors Act Scheduled for August 8

U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) has scheduled a special webinar discussion for Saturday, August 8 at 2:15 pm on The Great American Outdoors Act, legislation co-authored by Sen Warner, that addresses the $12 billion maintenance backlog for the National Park Service across the country and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund,

Southgate Project Approval by FERC Appealed

The June 18 decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to grant a certificate to the Southgate Project, which would extend the Mountain Valley Pipeline into North Carolina, has been appealed.  Appalachian Mountain Advocates, joined by Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a rehearing request with FERC on July 20 on behalf of a client group that includes 3 ABRA members. 

ACTION ALERT: Comments Due August 3 on ACP & SHP Time Extension

Comments are due by 5 pm, Monday, August 3 on the  request by Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc. (DETI), submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on July 10, for an extension of time of 1) one-year to address abandonment and restoration issues for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,

New NEPA Regulations Challenged in Court

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) filed a complaint July 29 with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia asking that the new regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), issued July 15 by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ),

Forest Service, Park Service Move Toward Reissuing New MVP Permits

The U.S. Forest Service (NFS) published on July 30 a Notice of Intent to prepare a Supplement Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) “to address the Fourth Circuit Court’s ruling, new information, and changed circumstances such as new Federally listed threatened and endangered species and critical habitat designations.”  The draft SEIS is expected to be available in September,

MVP Completion Percentage is Overstated

The owners of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) have repeatedly proclaimed that over 90% of the project has been completed, no doubt to bolster confidence from their investors and stockholders so that they continue investing.  An examination by ABRA of the data reported by MVP to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reveals that project completion claims are overstated. 

Two New FERC Commissioners Nominated

President Trump has nominated two new Commissioners to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  Mark Christie, chairman of the Virginia State Corporation Commission for the past 16 years, was nominated to fill the seat of departing Commissioner Bernard McNamee,

Book Recommendation: The Next Great Migration

The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move by Sonia Shah (Bloomsbury, 2020) fascinatingly explores why species migrate – humans, animals and plants. Shah, author of the best-selling book Pandemic,

A Pipeline to Nowhere? Why?

Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc. (DETI) filed on July 10 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) a request that it be granted two additional years to finish the Supply Header Project (SHP), a proposed natural gas pipeline in West Virginia (33.6 miles) and Pennsylvania (3.9 miles) that would have connected existing natural gas pipelines in Ohio and Pennsylvania with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Public Comments Urged for ACP Abandonment and Restoration Request

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should not act on the extension request for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to be granted one year to address abandonment and restoration activities along the project’s right-of-way without providing an opportunity for a public comment period of at least 30-days,

Dominion Asks for Time Extension to Abandon ACP, Finish Supply Header

Dominion Energy Transportation, Inc. (DETI) filed a request on July 10 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for an extension of one year to complete abandonment and restoration of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project.  The request follows the joint announcement on July 5 by Dominion Energy and Duke Energy,

Trump Administration Finalizes Rule to “Gut” NEPA

President Trump announced on July 15 the issuance of a final rule to significantly revise the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The changes in NEPA, first proposed by the President in January, would require that Environmental Impact Statements,

New Review Highlights At-Risk Species in ACP’s Path

Risks to certain species in the path of the now-cancelled Atlantic Coast Pipeline were underestimated in the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), according to a recent analysis submitted July 4 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“Renewable Natural Gas” Challenged by New Report

Rhetoric vs. Reality, a new report that challenges the potential for fossil gas alternatives (FGAs), such as biogas and synthetic gas to decarbonize buildings, was issued July 14 by Sierra Club and Earthjustice.  The report notes that energy use within buildings accounts for 40% of carbon emissions globally. 

DING, DONG, THE ACP!

Implosion of the former Dominion Energy headquarters, May 20, 2020

Implosion of the former Dominion Energy headquarters, May 20, 2020

The announcement on Sunday, July 5 by Dominion Energy and Duke Energy that the companies had decided to cancel “the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) due to ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty which threaten the economic viability of the project” was a shock but not a complete surprise. 

ALERT: Comments to FERC on Extension of ACP Certificate Are Due July 2

ABRA members are urged to file comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in response to the request from Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc. that the certificate to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), which is due to expire on October 13,