Virginia

Pipelines

RSVP for the rally to "Protect Our Homes, Protect Our River" November 19, 2pm at Harbor Park, Norfolk - and invite your friends and neighbors!  A map for the rally location is here.

We believe that the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is unnecessary and will cause serious, lasting and expensive harm to America's public health, economy, and environment.  It seems shortsighted to build pipelines designed to carry fossil fuels, with a cost that customers will bear for over 40 years, when it is likely that 10 years from now those fossil fuels will no longer be used or wanted.  This is akin to buying typewriters as computers were developed, or buying Blockbuster stock as Netflix took off.

There are two pipeline connectors of interest in Hampton Roads.

  • The Southside Connector is a gas pipeline that is proposed to go through Chesapeake (map) and Norfolk (map), which would be able to utilize Atlantic Coast Pipeline gas, if and when the ACP is constructed.
  • The City of Norfolk is considering granting easements on property it owns in Suffolk for the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Why Mother Out Front opposes new natural gas pipelines, locally or intra-state:

  • The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has not received the required certifications to move forward with construction.
    • One of the certifications that the pipeline is lacking, and which should be critical to the Norfolk City Council’s decision to grant them an easement, is certification under section 401 of the Clean Water Act.  Under the Clean Water Act, Virginia has the power to grant or deny water quality certification for the pipelines.
    • The City of Norfolk should not grant easements to build the pipeline on land that supports our drinking water reservoirs and water system infrastructure without legal certifications that water quality will be protected. Those certifications have not yet been granted.
    • The City should not rely simply on the word of pipeline developers and list of terms approved by the developers as their assurance that water quality will be protected.
  • The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a climate disaster and flies in the face of Norfolk’s efforts to be resilient and reduce carbon emissions.
    • The city shouldn’t facilitate this project by granting easements and arguably should be fighting it, or at least speaking out against it.
    • The annual greenhouse gas emissions from the fracked gas associated with the pipeline’s operation is equivalent to 6 of the largest coal plants in Virginia.
    • This pipeline, if built will lock us in to fossil fuels for another 30 years and will contribute to sea level rise which is already a big problem in cities like Norfolk. 
  • There is a large supply of gas in the Marcellus fracking fields, so the fossil fuel industry wants to create demand, whether or not it is needed.  There has been no notice or proof that this pipeline is necessary
  • The process seems to indicate basic dis-respect for African-American, low-income and rural people (which may not be “intentional,” but is part of the structure).  This is environmental racism.
    • Regarding the ACP, rural land is being taken by eminent domain from people who have lived on their land for generations. Their water comes from wells, and construction of the pipeline would threaten their water source for the foreseeable future.
    • The compressor station required to pump the gas through the proposed ACP would be located next to two historic African-American churches founded by freed people and still active communities in Buckingham County. The compressor station would release toxic health-harming gases and health-harming noise pollution 24/7.
    • Regarding the Southside Distribution Connector Project, the nine-mile line will be built perilously close to many predominantly African-American neighborhoods, senior citizen apartment complexes and houses of worship. Home owners in these neighborhoods know that their property values will decline as their properties will sit within potential blast zones.
  • Pipelines can cause harm to life and property
    • Many harmful accidents have been documented
    • Pipelines can be ruptured or leak and cause evacuations
    • Harbor Park, where the Southside pipeline would pass, is a brownfield, with buried pollutants such as creosote; this construction could stir up many of those buried pollutants
    • Customers have already had trees on their property cut down without warning to make way for this pipeline
    • New pipelines pose a danger to neighborhoods; residents have not been notified of the risks to their families and households
    • The Southside pipeline will run under the Elizabeth River, posing a risk to that waterway
    • The land for the Suffolk easement for the ACP includes the Pine Lake and Western Branch Reservoirs, both of which provide drinking water to residents
    • "Natural" gas is mostly methane, which is a greenhouse gas that traps 84 times more heat than CO2 -- this presents a huge risk in terms of increasing climate change
  • The lifetime effect of natural gas of climate change is just as high as coal.
  • The world is fast progressing to renewables.  In 10 years, fossil fuel infrastructures will be antiquated.  Why should we spend money on them now?
  • If the ACP is ultimately denied, these pipelines would have no function.
  • Which makes one circle back to the fact that the fossil fuel industry created this demand……do we want to let them endanger lives, devalue and damage properties, perpetuate social harms, and as rate payers, pay for it??? 
  • Residents are already protesting the Southside connector line, see:

Rally of Chesapeake Georgetown residents,
Chesapeake neighborhood responses,
Change.org petition.

How can I take action?

  1. Call or email the Governor of Virginia and tell him you oppose the Southside Connector pipeline and Suffolk ACP spur because they are not needed.
  2. Call your state representatives and let them know you do not want the Southside Connector pipeline in your neighborhood -- or built at all!
  3. Sign the petition at Change.org.
  4. If you live in one of the neighborhoods impacted by this pipeline, please attend your civic league meetings and bring this up for discussion.
  5. Post this for discussion on your Nextdoor neighborhood site -- and start a Nextdoor group in your neighborhood if there isn't one yet.
  6. Put up a pipeline protest sign in your neighborhood -- request one from Mothers Out Front at info.va@mothersoutfront.org.
  7. Attend the rally to "Protect Our Homes, Protect Our River" November 19, 2pm at Harbor Park, Norfolk (note change in date).  A map for the rally location is here.
  8. Email city council about the vote on the Southside Connector Nov 21 or come to Norfolk Nov 21 city council meeting.
  9. Attend and/or speak at the December 19 city council meeting where they will vote on the ACP spur that goes under our reservoirs, or call or email city council, see sample email here.

Background

One fundamental issue is that the ACP and MVP pipelines are not necessary -- existing pipelines are adequate to serve customers for the projected future.  See this Synapse report showing that existing pipelines are adequate to meet future needs.

Why anyone would want to build an unwanted pipeline?  Follow the money.

The affected states are starting to realize that these pipelines are not in their best interests:

See Southern Environmental Law Center's excellent and moving story on the ACP and MVP.  
        SELC strong page on risks.
        CCAN blog on the fight against the pipelines.

Sierra Club presented very strong comments to the FERC as to why the pipelines should not be allowed.

SELC presented very strong comments to the NC Water Resources Board as to why the ACP should not be allowed.

EDF testimony to the Senate Energy Committee.

Letter on why there is no reasonable assurance that ACP will meet water quality standards, from SELC, Chesapeake Bay Foundation. and Appalachian Mtn Advocates to the water control board on 401 water certification issue.

Cost of ACP could be over $2B to Virginia customers; Dominion will make a profit of 14% of $5B cost.

A great article on pipelines and McAulliffe in Huffington Post.

Great summary of the ACP by Augusta County Alliance.

Studies on why this disproportionately affects the black community

Jobs:
Many proponents of the pipelines state that it will bring many permanent jobs to Virginia.  But there any many studies showing that investing that money in renewable energy would bring many more jobs:

From other pipelines:

Remarks by a Dominion Energy executive underscore that there’s not enough demand for new gas-fired power plants in Virginia or North Carolina to justify the project:

"For us, that underscores this issue that we’ve been focusing on: that there’s not demand for new gas-fired power plants in Virginia or North Carolina that will justify the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” said Greg Buppert, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center in Charlottesville, which has fought the project. “That sounds like companies looking for a market for their products because the market they’ve been banking on isn’t materializing."

Minutes of Chesapeake Indian River Town Meeting discussing Southside Connector and ACP.

Virginia Governor implements Clean Power Plan which will regulate emissions from power plants, and could include cap-and-trade for emissions.

CHeck out the Norfolk City Council meeting on November 14th where citizens spoke on the easements for the ACP connector.  

The Southside connector pipeline path runs through Berkley, under the Elizabeth River, and past Harbor Park and Thurgood Marshall Elementary school (excavation has yet not started there).

PipelineView1.jpg PipelineView2.jpgThurgoodMarshall.jpg

The Norfolk/Suffolk easements for the ACP are on land that city staff have described as being “there to support the water system” and includes the Pine Lake and Western Branch Reservoirs, both of which provide drinking water to residents. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would cross more than 1,000 bodies of water in Virginia, slash through special places like national forests, the Appalachian Trail, and family farms across the Commonwealth.

Information for affected residents or property owners

When Atlantic Coast Pipeline seeks to take an easement on your property, it is typically a much more complicated process than you may expect.  There can be unpleasant surprises and intrusions on your property for years to come.  It is very wise to get legal advice before you sign anything.

 Mark Short is an eminent domain attorney at Kaufman & Canoles in Norfolk, and the Chair of the firm’s Eminent Domain Practice Group.  Mark has substantial experience in dealing with pipeline cases .  He can give legal advice, assist with review of documents, assist with negotiation, and assist in providing protections for you and your property.  His firm’s fee arrangement is typically based on a contingency arrangement, with no fee for an initial consultation.

 Mark Short's contact and website information:

Phone: 757-873-6351
E-mail: mashort@kaufcan.com
http://www.kaufmanandcanoles.com/practices/eminent-domain

Also see this excellent summary of eminent domain by Friends of Nelson.

Renewable Energy Information

Virginia could create 50,000 jobs by committing to 10% solar in 5 years

Renewable Energy Has Arrived -- GreenLink report to SELC.

Extensive links on how easy it would be for America to achieve numbers like 50% renewable by 2030 and 100% renewable by 2050.

What cities can do: an example for Norfolk VA

What individuals can do

Recommended Reading

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, http://www.drawdown.org, ranking and description of the top 100 methods for cutting carbon emissions world-wide

Guide to Political Revolution by Bernie Sanders

A few excerpts:
"For every dollar invested in renewable energy in the last 15 years, fossil fuels have received $80 in subsidies."
"American taxpayers are subsidizing the most profitable industry in history, whose products are literally killing us, to the tune of more than $20.5 billion every year."

Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet, by Carl Pope and Michael Bloomberg

Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know, by Joseph Romm

Plan B 4.0 -- a comprehensive look at worldwide energy use and ways to become more sustainable.  http://www.earth-policy.org/images/uploads/book_files/pb4book.pdf

Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand, by Haydn Washington & John Cook

Recommended Viewing

Toby Seba's video on the disruptive nature of the transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles, and how both the energy and transportation sectors could be radiacally transformed in the next 10-15 years.  An hour long but worth the time.

Paul Hawken describing the work in the book Drawdown; Paul starts at 11:28 in if you want to start there.

A short posted local video with a summary of the Southside Connector.

Success Stories

This kind of pushback on utilities can work:

 Please share this site on social media, and leave your comments on the pipelines


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.