Monthly Archives: January 2015

Group Plans to Monitor Proposed Pipeline Construction from Above


AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. — After months of rallies and protests against Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, some people in Augusta County plan to watch what goes on underground from above ground.

Time continues to tick as plans for Dominion’s proposed pipeline move forward. Whether the pipeline will be built is still up in the air, however the project is still concerning.

“Sick in the pit of your stomach to think this incredibly beautiful landscape in this part of the world that we are fortunate enough to live in and has been on a certain economical and societal track for 250 years. Gosh! To have that radically altered now to become an extracted economy,” said Michael Godfrey, who has lived in the Valley for over 15 years. He is concerned that the land he grew up on could become dangerous. Continue reading Group Plans to Monitor Proposed Pipeline Construction from Above

Open Records Push for Projects Like Atlantic Coast Pipeline Dies in House

By Alicia Petska, Lynchburg News Advance

RICHMOND – The push to open up records on projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline died in the House of Delegates on Thursday.

House Bill 1696 was killed in committee on a near-unanimous voice vote. The bill, introduced by Del. Dickie Bell, would have made public utilities subject to sunshine laws on projects where the company is allowed to exercise eminent domain.

“Eminent domain is a powerful tool, I’m sure everybody in the room knows that,” Bell, R-Staunton, said during a hearing before the House Commerce and Labor Committee.

“We have an opportunity to make government and public utilities a little more accountable to the people, and I think that’s a good thing.” Continue reading Open Records Push for Projects Like Atlantic Coast Pipeline Dies in House

Meet the Insurgents on the Front Line of America’s Fracking War

By Peter Rugh, VICE

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made headlines at the end of last year when he announced a ban on hydraulic fracking in his state. That was unquestionably a victory for environmentalists, but in neighboring Pennsylvania, however, fracking is still underway. This summer, I visited the northeastern region of the Keystone State to see what the the front lines of America’s shale gas boom looks like.

Far off the radar of Google Maps, I found Craig Stevens mowing the front lawn on his 115-acre property in Susquehanna County. Craig, a former National Rifle Association recruiter, hasn’t had a drink from his faucet in about a year and a half, and for good reason.

“Blood started shooting out of my face,” he told me at his home, licking the sweat off of his gray mustache. “The water started tasting like metal. Slightly at first, then it got stronger. I had spontaneous nosebleeds. Eight of them over two weeks. I couldn’t figure out what it was, but the day I stopped drinking the water is the day the nosebleeds stopped.” Craig had the water tested. “Barium and strontium levels are through the roof,” he said. Continue reading Meet the Insurgents on the Front Line of America’s Fracking War

Geologist Says Feds Made “Incredible Error” Ignoring Huge N.Y. Salt Cavern Roof Collapse

The salt and storage wells of the Watkins Glen brine field lie 2,000 feet below the network of small roads just north of the US Salt plant on Seneca Lake in New York. The Village of Watkins Glen is just outside the picture to the south.

By Peter Mantius, DC Bureau

In the 1960s, a 400,000-ton block of rock fell from the roof of an old salt cavern in the Finger Lakes region of New York — a cavity that new owners now want to reopen and use to store highly pressurized natural gas.

The Midwestern energy company that seeks a federal permit for the storage project has denied knowing the roof failure ever happened. And the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is poised to rule on the company’s permit application, has never publicly acknowledged the event.

But a Houston geologist hired by lawyers for opponents of the project characterized the omission by Arlington Storage Co. and FERC as “an incredible error” that heightens safety concerns about the project next to Seneca Lake, less than three miles from the Village of Watkins Glen, population 1,860. Continue reading Geologist Says Feds Made “Incredible Error” Ignoring Huge N.Y. Salt Cavern Roof Collapse

Groups Say Mexico Disaster Illustrates Gas Danger

Gas Explosion
Opponents of a gas storage project on the west side of Seneca Lake say this explosion at a Mexico City hospital is an illustration of why they are fighting a proposal to store LPG gas in subterranean salt caverns. Photo by LA Times

By Seneca Daily

Groups fighting the storage of propane gas in salt caverns near Seneca Lake sounded an alarm, noting that a gas explosion that severely damaged a hospital in Mexico City on Thursday came from gases identical to those Crestwood Midstream wants to store here.

The explosion in Mexico City was caused when a hose on a gas delivery truck broke and the resulting fumes ignited. A nurse and a baby died in the blast and a second infant died Thursday night, Mexico City authorities said. More than 70 people were injured in the blast that collapsed about three-fourths of the hospital Continue reading Groups Say Mexico Disaster Illustrates Gas Danger

Activist Makes Pipeline Opposition Full-Time Work

By Robbie Harris, WVTF

The Mountain Valley Natural Gas Pipeline that’s being proposed to run through South Western Virginia made a U-Turn when it came to Floyd County. Last fall, the gas companies changed the original route, bypassing the rural county. Company officials have said the protest movement that sprang up in Floyd had nothing to do with their decision, but others believe it made a difference.

One of them is Mara Robbins, who founded the Preserve Floyd Movement last summer to fight the pipeline. Now, she’s been hired by an Environmental group to continue that work throughout the region.

“What happened for me was when the route changed a lot of the members of Preserve Floyd were able to back off and breathe a sigh of relief but as the director of the organization my job amped up.” Continue reading Activist Makes Pipeline Opposition Full-Time Work

Bill to Fast Track Pipeline Approvals Might Affect West Virginia

At a community meeting in Union, W.Va. last November, a hundred citizens voiced their concerns for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline.

By Roxy Todd, West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On January 21, the US. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 161, known as the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act. The resolution directs the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve or deny pipeline projects within 12 months after receiving a complete application.

In West Virginia, there are at least two major pipeline projects in the pre-filing stage with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline will each go through environmental analysis and a public comment period before being approved or denied by the Federal Government. Tamara Young Allen, spokesperson with FERC, says this process normally takes 12-18 months. Continue reading Bill to Fast Track Pipeline Approvals Might Affect West Virginia