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FERC COMMISSIONER LAFLEUR'S PARTIAL COMMENTS FOLLOWING HER "NO" VOTE ON THE ACP AND MVP:

Deciding whether a project is in the public interest requires a careful balancing of the need for the project and its environmental impacts. In the case of the ACP and MVP projects, my balancing determination was heavily influenced by similarities in their respective routes, impact, and timing.

ACP and MVP are proposed to be built in the same region with certain segments located in close geographic proximity. Collectively, they represent approximately 900 miles of new gas pipeline infrastructure through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, and will deliver 3.44 Bcf/d of natural gas to the Southeast. The record demonstrates that these two large projects will have similar, and significant, environmental impacts on the region.

Both the ACP and MVP cross hundreds of miles of karst terrain, thousands of waterbodies, and many agricultural, residential, and commercial areas. Furthermore, the projects traverse many important cultural, historic, and natural resources, including the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Both projects appear to be receiving gas from the same location, and both deliver gas that can reach some common destination markets. Moreover, these projects are being developed under similar development schedules, as further evidenced by the Commission acting on them concurrently today.

Given these similarities and overlapping issues, I believe it is appropriate to balance the collective environmental impacts of these projects on the Appalachian region against the economic need for the projects.

In so doing, I am not persuaded that both of these projects as proposed are in the public interest.

I am particularly troubled by the approval of these projects because I believe that the records demonstrate that there may be alternative approaches that could provide significant environmental advantages over their construction as proposed. As part of its alternatives analysis, Commission staff requested that ACP evaluate an MVP Merged Systems Alternative that would serve the capacity of both projects. This alternative would largely follow the MVP route to deliver the capacity of both ACP and MVP in a single large diameter pipeline. Commission staff identifies significant environmental advantages of utilizing this alternative. For example, the MVP Merged Systems Alternative would be 173 miles shorter than the cumulative mileage of both projects individually. This alternative would also increase collocation with existing utility rights-of-way, avoid the Monongahela National Forest and the George Washington National Forest, reduce the number of crossings of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway, and reduce the amount of construction in karst topography. Commission staff eliminated this alternative from further consideration because it failed to meet the project’s objectives, in particular that it would “result in a significant delay to the delivery of the 3.44 Bcf/d of natural gas to the proposed customers of both ACP and MVP”5 due to the significant time for the planning and design that would be necessary to develop a revised project proposal.
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Recent News

FOW Letter to FERC — May 25, 2017

July 17, 2017 - Friends of Wintergreen wrote a letter to FERC to inform the federal agency that ACP did not provide specific responses to issues raised by the Wintergreen community, or provided vague, open-ended, non-committal “responses.”   These perfunctory answers failed to address or acknowledge the unique circumstances of the Wintergreen area.

FOW filing to FERC — March 24, 2017

April 3, 2017 - On March 24, 2017, Friends of Wintergreen submitted a 432-page filing with FERC pointing out the deficiencies in the DEIS issued on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.   A summary is here.  The full filing with attachments is here (and is large.)

Pipeline on Steep Slopes Is Too Risky

March 15, 2017 - Friends of Wintergreen released two new geology studies that show the land around Wintergreen is too steep and prone to erosion to support a 42-inch natural gas pipeline.

FOW to FERC: We Want The Same As the USFS

November 22, 2016 - Friends of Wintergreen filed with FERC today asking that Wintergreen and Nelson County land be treated with the same due diligence and duty of care as the USFS demands of its land.   Dominion needs to do more analysis and detailed plans.

Pipeline A Drag On Wintergreen Property Values

November 19, 2016 - Friends of Wintergreen announced that the prospect of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) on Wintergreen land and in front of the only entrance and exit to the mountain resort has already depressed property values by 10% or more.   This is in contrast to Dominion’s 2015 claim to county officials across the Commonwealth that “there is no consistent information suggesting the presence of a natural gas pipeline easement would decrease property values.”  Real estate values elsewhere in the Commonwealth have increased by an estimated 2-5+%.
 

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5 Comments

Jane Twitmyer

Regarding the lawsuit against eminent domain now in process from other pipeline opponents atother pipelines …
Dominion’s primary rationale to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is their projected demand for electricity. Their projection runs in the face of national numbers. This year natural gas is on track to see the largest drop in its share of U.S. electric generation in over a decade and data shows retail sales of electricity have been essentially flat from 2002 into 2017. In June the EIA estimated a total U.S. electricity sales growth of 0.7% through 2040.

This projected downward trend in the future demand of electricity generation means that the US, now the largest producer of natural gas, will actually be exporting more gas. That should change the calculation for building the pipelines. Does exported gas meet criteria that would allow a pipeline company to make use of eminent domain to secure the land? Does gas designed for export meet any definition of ‘community benefit’

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Sara Howlett

Any other geological components of importance in the areas involved, such as any underground rivers or springs? My concern is the disruption of any of these( as well as the fault) with the blasting that will be done. Too much at risk here.

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Tuss Macpherson

Are you aware there is a fault line that runs thru this area called The Rockfish Valley Fault Line? Wouldn’t this be considered “unstable” for the construction of a pipeline?

I am a Wtg. resident.

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Charles P Duvall MD

Just a belated thought: why not substantially remove the WG entrance up hill from where it forks off of the main road. It would then be out of the way and could be designed as a distraction, to be pretty welcoming and special.

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