By Elizabeth E. Payne
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its draft environmental impact statement for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Dec. 30, 2016. This proposed $5 billion pipeline would carry fracked gas along a 600-mile route from well sites in West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina.
The pipeline is proposed by energy giants Dominion Resources and Duke Energy, among others.
Current fracked gas infrastructure will meet electricity needs through 2030, according to an independent study by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. The study concluded that additional pipelines are not needed.
Environmental experts and advocacy groups, including Appalachian Voices, the publisher of this paper, have challenged the federal review because it did not consider the need for the pipeline or its full environmental and economic impact.
The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, a citizen advocacy group fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, has reported that most of the proposed route in West Virginia passes through terrains prone to landslides. These risks have largely been ignored by FERC, according to the coalition.
Yet in Virginia, the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors voted on Jan. 5 to approve a compressor station in the county despite vocal opposition from area residents. The industrial station would be built along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in order to keep the gas moving inside the pipeline at sufficient pressure.
Many residents have voiced concern about the noise and health problems that may arise if the station is constructed. More than 150 citizens attended the board’s meeting in mid-December 2016, and the Jan. 5 meeting was also filled with opponents of the station.
“Shame on every one of you,” Annie Parr — a native of Buckingham, Va., is quoted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch as saying to the Board of Supervisors after the vote.
The public comment period for the federal draft environmental impact study will be open until April 6, 2017. For information on public hearing dates and to take action, visit appvoices.org/fight-acp.