Monday, August 25, 2014

Tell Governor McAuliffe: No fracking, Keep the Ban, Curb Climate Change, No gas/tar sands pile lines



Tell Governor McAuliffe to Help Curb Climate Change

Governor McAuliffe has a critical choice to make right now: support the EPA's crackdown on carbon pollution from power plants, or let corporate polluters sacrifice our future.
Which would you prefer? Tell Governor McAuliffe to protect the people of Virginia, not polluters—send a message now:

Governor McAuliffe is essential to making sure the EPA’s historic new limits on dangerous carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants are a success. But Big Coal will stop at nothing to kill these protections before they can ever be implemented.

Stand up to Big Coal and add your voice in support of limiting carbon pollution.

This action is for Virginia residents only. Please do not attempt to take action without a Virginia mailing address.
KM comments:  Will exploratory permitting for fracking be as NON-TRANSPARENT as uranium exploration? 
2 Virginia agencies to coordinate fracking reviews
The Associated Press
August 13, 2014
Two state agencies will coordinate their reviews of potential permits for hydraulic fracking for natural gas in Virginia's coastal plain.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Wednesday that the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Department of Environmental Quality have signed a Memorandum of Agreement.
McAuliffe said the move will help ensure the state focuses on protecting the Potomac Aquifer, which supplies about half of Virginia's water.
There's an estimated 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Taylorsville Basin. A Dallas energy company plans to drill in tens of thousands of leased acres south and east of Fredericksburg.
Some local officials have expressed concerns about some of the chemicals used in fracking being injected into an area near the Chesapeake Bay.
Commonwealth of Virginia Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe
For Immediate Release
August 13, 2014
Office of the Governor
Contact: Brian Coy
Virginia Agencies to Coordinate Review of Potential Permits for Oil and Gas Drilling
RICHMOND, VA. – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that two Virginia agencies have signed an agreement on coordinating environmental reviews of potential permits for oil and gas drilling in the Coastal Plain that includes Tidewater.
The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy regulates oil and gas drilling, and the Department of Environmental Quality ensures the protection of people’s health and the environment. The agencies have committed to ensuring a transparent process that includes a thorough environmental impact review and incorporates public comment.
“This agreement recognizes the unique environmental challenges of oil and natural gas development in the Coastal Plain,” Governor McAuliffe said. “As Virginia continues to seek development of energy resources, we also are focusing on protection of our water and other resources.”
The agreement will help the agencies and the public address the distinctiveness and complexity of the Coastal Plain aquifer system, including the Potomac Aquifer, which supplies water for about half of Virginia’s population for drinking, agricultural use and industrial use.
DEQ and DMME will communicate closely on activities related to permit applications, environmental impact assessments, and involvement by local governments and the public. The agencies also will develop a process for addressing the potential cumulative environmental impacts from multiple permits for oil or gas drilling.
“This Memorandum of Agreement is a crucial step forward in our efforts to protect the Potomac Aquifer and ensure we are responsible stewards of the Northern Neck’s natural resources,” said Senator Richard Stuart.  “I am grateful for the leadership Governor McAuliffe has shown on this important issue.”
To read the entire Memorandum of Agreement visit
 Natural gas pipeline plan riles Floyd County
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:30 pm

By Duncan

Longtime Floyd County resident Mara Robbins said routing an interstate natural gas pipeline though the bucolic rural county would be akin to running an open sewer through a cathedral.
  Fred First likened the growing opposition among county residents to the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline project to the reaction of the human body’s immune system to a potential pathogen.
  Robbins, First and others involved with the freshly minted Citizens Preserving Floyd County have raised concerns about the pipeline’s potential impacts on, among other things, groundwater, safety, aesthetics, agriculture, tourism and property values.

The group is hosting a public meeting today at the Floyd EcoVillage to share information gleaned to date about the pipeline. The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

On Tuesday morning, Jane Cundiff, who said her husband’s roots in the mountainous region date to the 1700s, told Floyd County’s board of supervisors that the companies backing the pipeline want to “plow a deep wound right across our property.”
Case Clinger, chairman of the board of supervisors, said local government has not been contacted by the pipeline companies and intends to remedy that situation. The board asked county staff to draft a resolution requesting that route surveying cease until a public meeting can be arranged with the pipeline companies.
In June, EQT Corp., based in Pennsylvania, and Florida-based NextEra Energy announced plans to assess building a 330-mile, high-pressure natural gas pipeline from a site in West Virginia to a delivery point in Pittsylvania County.
As envisioned, the pipeline, which would convey natural gas extracted through fracking in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in the Appalachian Basin, would pass through Giles, Pulaski, Montgomery, Floyd, Franklin and Henry counties before ending in Pittsylvania County.
EQT and NextEra have said the pipeline will help meet growing demand in the Southeast for natural gas, especially as electric utilities abandon coal as a fuel source for power generation.
Recently, residents of Floyd County whose properties are apparently within a possible route for the buried pipeline received a letter advising them of the need to survey their land. The letter, which included the logos of EQT and NextEra Energy, was signed by Phil Novak of Coates Field Service, a right-of-way acquisition company based in Oklahoma.The letter informed recipients that “as a local property owner, you have been identified as having property that is located within the proposed survey corridor.”
Jane and Ken Cundiff, both teachers who are semiretired, own and live on about 77 acres near the intersection of New Haven and Shooting Creek roads. Jane Cundiff said the proposed pipeline could damage mountain wetlands on the couple’s property that are key throughout the region to groundwater quality, wildlife and biodiversity.
Cundiff told supervisors that the pipeline threatens the quality of life long cherished by residents of Floyd County.
Nick Piazza, also a landowner in the Shooting Creek Road area, said the pipeline companies’ lack of communication with people in Floyd County at this early stage does not bode well. Piazza, a psychologist, elicited laughter Tuesday with a related observation.
“You’ll never be treated better than you are at the start of a relationship,” he said.
Rick Huff, county administrator in Franklin County, said Tuesday that local officials have heard from some landowners who have also received survey-related letters but have not had direct contact with the pipeline companies. He said the county has requested a meeting.
David Roper, a retired physics professor in Blacksburg who once taught at Virginia Tech, has long been interested in energy sustainability. He said Monday that he questions the wisdom of building a pipeline dedicated to a fossil fuel whose extraction through fracking could soon peak and then decline.
“Fracking” is a slang term for hydraulic fracturing, a controversial procedure that involves injecting fluid at high pressure into cracks in rocks and rock formations to force them open further to facilitate the extraction of gas or oil.
Elizabeth McCommon of Blacksburg, who has been involved in efforts in years past to block a dam on the New River and transmission power lines, said the new emphasis on natural gas extraction and related power generation is shortsighted.
“We’re not looking forward,” she said. “I guess it’s naive to think we really could.”
The proposed pipeline would have to be sanctioned by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is charged by Congress with evaluating the need for interstate natural gas pipelines proposed by private companies.
A FERC brochure advises landowners that if a pipeline is approved and they fail to reach an easement agreement with the companies involved, a decision about access to and compensation for the use of the landowner’s property will be determined by a court.
Dominion Transmission, a subsidiary of Dominion Resources, is considering building a similar pipeline that would route through central Virginia. Dominion held a public meeting Tuesday in Nelson County to talk about its plans after being pressured for more information by the county’s board of supervisors.
Robbins said utility companies seeking easements sometimes try to pit neighbor against neighbor. She said she hopes people and local officials in Floyd County will work together to block the pipeline and she congratulated supervisors on their responsiveness to date to residents’ concerns.
On Tuesday, county resident Diane Giessler told supervisors that the pipeline could undermine efforts to attract tourism, cause drops in property values and lead to other problems without offering anything in return.
“I haven’t heard of one positive thing this pipeline will do for this county,” Giessler said.
Robbins acknowledged that all efforts to block the pipeline’s passage through Floyd County might fail. But she said vigilant monitoring of the review process, pipeline routing, construction and maintenance could yield a safer, less environmentally destructive pipeline.
First said Floyd County’s history and identity have long valued natural beauty, agriculture and a sense of well-being tied to rural living.
“Other communities have given all of that away,” he said.


Daily Progress

Concerned Augusta County citizens jammed the county government center Wednesday night to learn about a proposed natural gas pipeline that would be routed through more than 40 miles of the county. Dominion Resources offered information Wednesday. The company has not made a final decision on the 550-mile route of the Southeast Reliability Project, but expects to decide in the next 60 days.

N.C. agency issues directive to clean up coal ash

The Associated Press
August 14, 2014
North Carolina's environmental agency is asking Duke Energy to submit plans for moving coal ash from four of its waste pits.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources also issued Duke a directive Wednesday to increase drinking water testing at the company's ash dumps. Duke has 14 plants with 33 unlined ash pits.
It's part of an executive order Gov. Pat McCrory issued after lawmakers adjourned without agreement on a proposed plan requiring the company to dig up or cap its 33 pits. But environmental groups said the legislation would have done little to stop Duke's ash pits from leaking toxic waste into the state waterways.
The governor's order gives Duke until Nov. 15 to submit plans for excavating ash from the company's Asheville, Riverbend, Dan River and Sutton plants.