Opinion – Editorial in Gazette-Mail Neglected Legal Violations by the Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline

by admin on August 12, 2020

ACP found challenges and issues in WV, VA & NC

Doug Reynolds’ ACP op-ed failed to mention law violations

Letter to Editor, Charleston Gazette-Mail, July 23, 2020

In his July 11 op-ed about the decision of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to scrap plans for construction, Doug Reynolds failed to mention the root cause of the pipeline’s demise. The ACP routinely violated laws and regulations to rush through completion. As reporting in the Gazette-Mail revealed, ACP, with complicity from the State of West Virginia, repeatedly filed shoddy permits that did not meet the letter of the law.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline was allowed to jump through regulatory hoops without proper analysis — permits were waived and permit requirements were changed to make it easier for ACP to move forward. Even then, ACP repeatedly failed to follow its permit requirements, resulting in polluted streams and numerous water-quality violations.

More often than not, these violations were documented by trained volunteers — West Virginians who, whatever their opinions of natural gas development, wanted nothing more than for ACP to do right by laws meant to protect our state’s water.

There was a time, not long ago, when natural gas companies and people concerned about the environment coexisted in West Virginia. At the scale of gas development before the fracking boom, they found ways to work together. International geopolitics, along with the Stone Age mentality of legislators to replace one boom-and-bust economy with another, changed that.

Mr. Reynolds quotes his father in defending the ACP, so I’ll quote mine, who was fond of citing our nation’s founders: “We are a nation of laws, not men.” As a proud union construction worker, he also believed the need to earn a dollar should never take precedent over the rights of private property owners nor the right to clean water. ACP and West Virginia’s legislators and administration showed little regard for either.

I am not anti-natural gas. I am, though, pro-property rights and a fervent believer that our state’s future rests in clean water and a readiness to demonstrate to potential new businesses that West Virginia is committed to a diversified economy where laws matter.

David Lillard, Shepherdstown, WV


See also: CSI Results Show ACP Violations

Summary by Ellen Bouton, ABRA, January 27, 2019

The Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) Surveillance Report for January 24, 2019, includes analysis of the November and December 2018 flight photos by CSI Aerial Image Reviewers. After the analysis, 22 separate complaints concerning regulatory non-compliance were submitted by the West Virginia Rivers Coalition to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Complaints concerned:

>> Failure to install, or delayed installation of, erosion and sediment control measures. (5 incidents)
>>> Deviation from approved erosion and sediment control and construction plans. (1 incident)
>>> Missing, failed, damaged, or improperly installed or maintained silt fences, filter socks, or other perimeter control devices. (13 incidents)
>>> Missing, failed, damaged, or improperly constructed right-of-way diversions (water bars or slope breakers) and outlet structures. (2 incidents)
>>>Sediment discharge into streams and wetlands. (1 incident)

Following a December 10, 2018 inspection conducted in response to some of these complaints, WVDEP issued a Notice of Violation to Dominion Energy Transportation, Inc. for noncompliance with permit terms and conditions and failure to comply with the project’s approved Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.

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