Laws exist to protect our land and streams

Amid litigation, US National Park Service plans to rethink permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

From an Article by Maya Weber, S&P Global Platts News Service, 1/18/19

Washington — The Trump administration is seeking to pull back and rethink the US National Park Service permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, in further fallout from adverse US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit rulings for the project.

The action is another sign of how litigation over permits is complicating the path forward for the 1.5 Bcf/d, 600-mile project, meant to move Appalachian gas to Mid-Atlantic markets. Construction is on hold, at least until March, while the court reviews separate Fish and Wildlife Service authorizations.

The NPS permit involves authorization for the pipeline to pass under the Blue Ridge Parkway. After the 4th Circuit vacated the initial permit in August, finding NPS failed to explain how the right-of-way did not conflict with the purpose of the scenic parkway, the agency reissued the permit in September.

In an unopposed motion Thursday in litigation challenging the new permit, the Department of Justice asked to have the NPS permit voluntarily remanded to the agency. Among other things, environmental groups challenging the permit argue justification is lacking for a categorical exclusion to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that NPS used to support the decision.

“On remand, the Park Service will vacate the permits and further consider whether issuance of a right-of-way permit for the pipeline to cross an adjacent segment of the parkway is appropriate,” the DOJ filing said. “That reconsideration will include discussions with other land management agencies within the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture regarding the government’s authority to issue a pipeline permit across the adjacent George Washington National Forest land and, if such authority exists, the appropriate agency or agencies to evaluate [Atlantic Coast Pipeline's] application for a crossing of that land and the parkway land.”

DOJ also noted that the permit rested in part on the US Forest Service right-of-way, which has since been struck by the court, to cross 680 feet of the George Washington National Forest.

And in light of petitioners’ arguments about NEPA and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) it said it needs to rethink its findings about the impact of the NPS right-of-way on environmental and cultural resources of the parkway.

Groups Cite Lack of Environmental Impact Statement

Environmental groups had argued in their opening brief (Sierra Club v. Department of Interior, 18-2095) that NPS failed to take a hard look at environmental impacts when it issued the new permit and granted a categorical exclusion from NEPA for the project’s parkway crossing and failed to adopt the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s environmental impact statement or conduct its own EIS.

They noted that the categorical exclusion that NPS cited was for installation of underground utilities in previously disturbed areas having stable soils, or in an existing utility right-of-way. “No document in the record justifying the [categorical exclusion] identifies this right-of-way as a ‘previously disturbed area’ or ‘existing utility right-of-way,’” argued the brief filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The groups also argued that in violation of the NHPA, NPS failed to evaluate the impacts on the viewshed of the scenic parkway and skipped mandatory public involvement.

Actions from the USFS, NPS, Bureau of Land Management, FWS and US Army Corps of Engineers have stumbled in the 4th Circuit, which has stayed or vacated a variety of permits for Atlantic Coast Pipeline or the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) maintains the hurdles reflect rushed agency decisions, and that the National Park Service (NPS) action stands out for its suddenness.

Public and private lands must be protected from arbitrary corporate decisions

Project backers consented to the request for voluntary remand. “Per their filing, NPS has not confessed error but intends to fully evaluate the petitioners’ claims to determine if any adjustments need to be made to the permit,” said Karl Neddenien, a spokesman for Dominion Energy. “If the court grants the motion, we are confident that the NPS will promptly reconsider the facts and reissue the permit.”


Carbon Dividend looks like the better choice for everyone

Economists have bipartisan agreement on how to combat climate change

From the Climate Leadership Council, Wall Street Journal, January 17, 2019

Global climate change is a serious problem calling for immediate national action. Guided by sound economic principles, we are united in the following policy recommendations.

I. A carbon tax offers the most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions at the scale and speed that is necessary. By correcting a well-known market failure, a carbon tax will send a powerful price signal that harnesses the invisible hand of the marketplace to steer economic actors towards a low-carbon future.

II. A carbon tax should increase every year until emissions reductions goals are met and be revenue neutral to avoid debates over the size of government. A consistently rising carbon price will encourage technological innovation and large-scale infrastructure development. It will also accelerate the diffusion of carbon-efficient goods and services.

III. A sufficiently robust and gradually rising carbon tax will replace the need for various carbon regulations that are less efficient. Substituting a price signal for cumbersome regulations will promote economic growth and provide the regulatory certainty companies need for long- term investment in clean-energy alternatives.

IV. To prevent carbon leakage and to protect U.S. competitiveness, a border carbon adjustment system should be established. This system would enhance the competitiveness of American firms that are more energy-efficient than their global competitors. It would also create an incentive for other nations to adopt similar carbon pricing.

V. To maximize the fairness and political viability of a rising carbon tax, all the revenue should be returned directly to U.S. citizens through equal lump-sum rebates. The majority of American families, including the most vulnerable, will benefit financially by receiving more in “carbon dividends” than they pay in increased energy prices.

>>> George Akerlof, Robert Aumann, Angus Deaton, Peter Diamond, Robert Engle, Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen, Oliver Hart, Bengt Holmström, Daniel Kahneman, Finn Kydland, Robert Lucas, Eric Maskin, Daniel McFadden, Robert Merton, Roger Myerson, Edmund Phelps, Alvin Roth, Thomas Sargent, Myron Scholes, Amartya Sen, William Sharpe, Robert Shiller, Christopher Sims, Robert Solow, Michael Spence and Richard Thaler are recipients of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
>>> Paul Volcker is a former Federal Reserve chairman.
>>> Martin Baily, Michael Boskin, Martin Feldstein, Jason Furman, Austan Goolsbee, Glenn Hubbard, Alan Krueger, Edward Lazear, N. Gregory Mankiw, Christina Romer, Harvey Rosen and Laura Tyson are former chairmen of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers.
>>> Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and Janet Yellen have chaired both the Fed and the Council of Economic Advisers.
>>> George Shultz and Lawrence Summers are former Treasury secretaries.

>>> More information is available from the Climate Leadership Council:


‘This is not controversial’: Bipartisan group of economists calls for carbon tax – The Washington Post, January 16, 2019


Commentary: Carbon dividend is best investment in Earth’s future, Austin Statesman, December 26, 2018

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Comments Needed on Updated Stream Crossing Rules for ACP, MVP, etc.

January 20, 2019

West Virginia Opens Comment Period for Changes to Stream Crossing Rules From the Appalachian Blue Ridge Alliance, Update 213, January 17, 2019 Modifications to the West Virginia regulations covering stream crossings for pipelines and similar projects have been proposed by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. The modifications address the issue of the state’s existing [...]

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Monitoring of ACP & MVP Activities Continue in WV & VA

January 19, 2019

Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) Halted by Federal District Court . From the Greenbrier River Watershed Association, 120 W. Washington St. Suite #4, Lewisburg, WV 24901 . . Gazette Editorial. Who Are The Real Rogues?| Charleston Gazette ONLINE RESOURCES: UPDATE | Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition CSI VOLUNTEER OPTIONS | [...]

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WV Supreme Court Hears Marcellus Drilling Nuisance Case(s)

January 18, 2019

WV Justices hear appeal arguments in Marcellus shale case From Staff Report, Parkersburg News & Sentinel, January 16, 2019 PARKERSBURG — The West Virginia Supreme Court Tuesday heard arguments in an appeal of a lower court decision by residents who claimed Marcellus shale drilling has denied them the enjoyment of their property. Deborah G. Andrews, [...]

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EARTH GUARDIANS Seek to Protect Human Health in Colorado, etc.

January 17, 2019

Colorado’s Top Court Sides Against Youth in Major Anti-Fracking Case From an Article by Lorraine Chow,, January 15, 2019 PHOTO: Emma Bray (19) of Denver, a plaintiff on the youth-led climate lawsuit, Martinez v. COGCC. Colorado’s oil and gas industry breathed a sigh of relief on Monday after the state’s highest court overturned a [...]

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Our Ocean Water is Warming Rapidly Affecting our Lives & Planet

January 16, 2019

Vanishing coral reefs, intensifying hurricanes, rising seas — severe toll of climate change From an Article by Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone Magazine, January 14, 2019 PHOTO IN ARTICLE: Sea ice melts on the Franklin Strait along the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Climate deniers want you to believe otherwise, but the basic physics [...]

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Grandmother Used 1971 Ford Pinto to Block MVP Pipeline

January 15, 2019

Monroe County grandmother blocks MVP in her first car in WV near VA line From an Article by Matt Combs, Beckley Register-Herald, August 1, 2018 Becky Crabtree, a 64-year-old Monroe County grandmother, was arrested Tuesday for blockading herself in a 1971 Ford Pinto in order to stop construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) near [...]

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Mariner East 2 Pipeline & Marcus Hook Process Facility Update

January 14, 2019

Penna. environmental board slams Sunoco air-quality permit From an Article by Bill Rettew, Delaware County Times, January 10, 2019 PHILADELPHIA >> A state Environmental Hearing Board ruled the state Department of Environmental Protection unlawfully issued an air-quality permit for Sunoco at its Marcus Hook facility. The Marcus Hook facility is the end point for Sunoco [...]

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“Green New Deal” Growing Rapidly in Political Significance

January 13, 2019

UPDATE FROM FOOD & WATER WATCH, January 10, 2019 Dear Friends and Concerned Citizens, Breaking news: We just learned that the new Republican governor in Florida has initiated the process to ban fracking in the state and oppose drilling off Florida’s coasts. (See reference 1 below.) This is huge — it comes after more than [...]

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