Opponents of Shale Gas Pipelines Gather at Weyers Cave in VA

by Duane Nichols on April 24, 2016

"Flatline the Pipeline(s)" in VA, WV, etc.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline opponents question need for project

From an Article by Victoria G. Kearney, Waynesboro News Virginian, April 23, 2016

WEYERS CAVE — Opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline were dismayed to see images of a billboard in downtown Richmond featuring a fractured heart. Below read “Virginia is for Pipelines.”

They were among more than 150 people from Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina who gathered Saturday at a pipeline summit sponsored by the Allegheny–Blue Ridge Alliance in Augusta County, Virginia. The partisan event featured a panel on pipeline economics that claimed Virginia and its residents will be impacted much like the billboard’s fractured heart.

Moderated by alliance member Lewis Freeman, the panel consisted of four speakers from a range of backgrounds who contended that the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley natural gas transmission pipelines will hurt Virginia’s economy.

“Setting aside the whole question of whether this gas is needed, whether these pipelines are needed, but if they are built, what are these effects going to be?” Spencer Phillips asked the audience.

To illustrate the dangers the pipeline poses to the surrounding environment, Phillips used a straw to symbolize the pipeline. He then placed several apples and oranges at different rows among the audience. “In all the studies they did, most properties they looked at were this close or closer to the pipeline,” Phillips said, indicating what would be a two-mile radius from the pipeline. “Here there is still the possibility of being evacuated, being incinerated, smelling gas from a leak, and that is really not that comforting.”

In addition to a decrease in property values, Phillips said he was concerned about universities and other large corporations tapping into natural gas from the pipelines. “Corporate fleets, municipal fleets, Virginia Tech, industries that are currently using electricity are going to switch over to natural gas. Many of them have the ability to use natural gas right now, and they’re not doing the fuel switching,” he said.

Participants also raised concerns about how the pipeline might influence the entire country’s climate.

“Any analysis of the need for gas must be premised on U.S. climate goals,” said Lorne Stockman, the Research Director at Oil Change International. He reminded the audience that President Obama, along with 175 other world leaders, signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on Friday, which was also Earth Day. “That affects how much gas we’re going to use in 2020, 2025, 2030, and beyond. We can’t build infrastructure that aims to deliver growth in gas production that we’re still going to be at in years’ time if we’re going to meet these climate goals,” Stockham said.

Stockham cited a series of examples—including the discrepancy of time between the 30- to 40-year life span of pipes and power plants and the amount of time before de-carbonization makes these systems unnecessary— to argue that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline puts Virginia and West Virginia land at needless risks.

“We are calling for a climate test. Oil Change International and 15 other organizations in Canada and the United States launched a website, climatetest.org, a few months ago,” Stockham said. “You’ve got to have a climate test. Otherwise you don’t know if it is helping or hindering your goal.”

Greg Buppert, a senior attorney with the Southern Environment Law Center in Charlottesville, suggested an alternative to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Rather than exposing the environment to the dangers of another pipeline, Buppert said that gas reversal along established pipelines such as the Transcontinental Pipeline, which runs from Pennsylvania to Texas, would be a less hazardous and less expensive option for Virginia. “There are at least four tubes in the ground at different points along that pipeline. There’s enough gas coming out of Marcellus reaching the Transcontinental main set in Pennsylvania that we’re poised to have that flow reversed,” Buppert said.

Thomas Hadwin, a representative of a group called Friends of the Central Shenandoah, reiterated the importance of using established pipelines before building new lines that might threaten natural resources. “The Department of Energy says to use existing pipelines first if you’re trying to serve a new demand in a new area,” Hadwin said.

Hadwin pointed out a map that showed an offshoot from the Transcontinental Pipeline reaching out from southeastern Virginia. That line runs through North Carolina’s northern border directly to three power plants that would receive natural gas from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “All of the demand and all of the customers that are being projected for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline can be served by using existing pipelines,” Hadwin said.

Hadwin also pointed out another stipulation from the Department of Energy, which stated that pipelines that are not currently in use can be filled with gas to avoid the construction of new pipelines.

“We believe we can keep our land intact, our rivers and groundwater uncontaminated, our communities, historical and recreational resources just as they are, and still have the energy we need in this area,” Hadwin said.

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Weyers Cave Update April 24, 2016 at 2:29 pm

Pipeline summit draws large crowd on April 23rd

From an Article by Traci Moyer, Staunton News Leader, April 23, 2016

WEYERS CAVE —Looking out at the large number of people in attendance at the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance Pipeline Summit on Saturday, Nancy Sorrells smiled. “This is not a small pocket of tree huggers,” Sorrells said causing the crowd to laugh.

Sorrells, co-chair of the Augusta County Alliance, introduced a panel discussing ‘Lessons Learned in the Battlefield’ at the summit in Weyers Cave. The meeting was hosted by the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance to “energize, equip and empower local communities to defeat the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has requested permits to build a 42-inch natural gas pipeline for Dominion and other energy partners in order to serve public utilities in Virginia and North Carolina. Approximately 50 miles of the proposed pipeline route is in Augusta County.

Dominion officials say the interstate natural gas pipeline is needed to assist with energy consumption needs.

“This panel is looking at the grassroots efforts we have already learned in the last 22 months from pipeline battles,” Sorrells said before handing the microphone over to the first panel speaker. Jane Kleeb, who led a successful fight against the Keystone XL Pipeline, was introduced by Sorrells as the “Keystone Killer.” “She is the only one in this room that has beaten the pipeline,” Sorrells said.

Keystone XL was a proposed 1,179 mile crude oil pipeline system by TransCanada that crossed from Canada to the United States. In November of 2015, President Obama denied permitting for the pipeline. TransCanada filed a lawsuit to overturn Obama’s actions in January, stating it “remains committed to building the Keystone XL Pipeline.”

Kleeb, a former MTV correspondent and founder of the activist organization Bold Nebraska, said they had to “fight like hell” and “look impossibility in the face,” to stop the pipeline. She encouraged people to make the pipeline fight personal and political.

Kleeb, who helped to band together landowners, farmers, ranchers and Tribal Nations to fight Keystone XL, said every pipeline meeting was turned into a “rock concert” and she provided details about the successful campaign that stopped the pipeline.

“You can stop this pipeline,” she said. From barn raising on a portion of the proposed pipeline route, to pumpkin carving, Kleeb said people can be inspired to join the fight.

Following a standing ovation for Kleeb, Sorrells turned to address the crowd. “There are cracks in the armor, we just have to learn how to open them up,” Sorrells said.

Source: http://www.newsleader.com/story/news/local/2016/04/23/pipeline-summit-draws-large-crowd/83438534/


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