Southern Environmental Law Center Senior Attorney Greg Buppert testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on Wednesday on the failure of the proposed National Energy Security Corridors Act to account for the significant impacts that natural gas pipelines crossing federal lands would have on the surrounding local communities and private property. The proposed legislation would allow pipelines to be sited through federal lands without providing the general public an opportunity to weigh in. Continue reading Congress Considers Fast-Tracking Gas Pipelines Through Federal Lands→
College students from across Virginia are teaming up to start their own protest to Dominion Resources’ Atlantic Coast Pipeline.The students will participate in a 10-day resistance ride along the proposed route for the natural gas pipeline. The 30 riders are part of a group called the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring issued an official advisory opinion on May 5 holding that Virginia localities have the right to prohibit hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) as part of their power to regulate land use within their boundaries. The letter reverses a two-year-old opinion by former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Herring’s opinion cites §15.2-2280 of the Virginia Code, which grants broad zoning powers to localities. These include the power to “regulate, restrict, permit, prohibit, and determine” land uses, such as “the excavation or mining of soil or other natural resources.” Thus, writes Herring, “I conclude that the General Assembly has authorized localities to pass zoning ordinances prohibiting fracking. The plain language of the stature also authorizes localities to regulate fracking in instances where it is permitted.” Continue reading In Reversal, Virginia AG Says Localities May Ban Fracking→
A forum on climate change held last Wednesday in Richmond was supposed to be about moving to clean energy, but it sometimes seemed to be more of a platform for Governor Terry McAuliffe to tout plans for more natural gas and nuclear energy in the Commonwealth. It wasn’t that he neglected energy efficiency, wind and solar—he had plenty of good things to say about these, and even a few initiatives to boast of. It was just that they paled against the backdrop of massive new natural gas and nuclear projects, to which he seems even more firmly committed.
If nothing else, a ruling Tuesday by a judge in Suffolk Circuit Court delays Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s campaign to gain access to about 50 acres of private property in the city without the owner’s permission to survey for a possible route for a portion of the interstate natural gas pipeline.
Judge Carl Eason found that Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s notice to Davis Boulevard LLC, a residential developer, of the pipeline company’s intent to survey the property without permission was flawed because the notification came from Dominion Transmission Inc. — one of the partners for the proposed pipeline — and not Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Jim Norvelle, a spokesman for Dominion and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, said the ruling is largely a technical matter and will not impact the project schedule. New letters will be sent from Atlantic Coast Pipeline, he said.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Environmental Impact Study scoping meeting was held Wednesday night in Nelson before a standing-room-only crowd in the 600-seat auditorium at Nelson County High School. FERC had “invited” several state police officers to maintain order. We welcomed them and told them we promised to behave. Continue reading Rubber Stamper FERC, Dominion Shills Come to Nelson County→
That’s how long it took Dominion Virginia Power to abandon its pledge of transparency for a law that eliminated state regulation of its base electricity rates until 2020.
Republican and Democratic supporters of SB1349, sponsored by Virginia Beach’s Sen. Frank Wagner, touted the measure as a way to lock in current base rates and protect Dominion’s customers from paying more because of federal environmental regulations.