Monday 23 October 2017

Fossil Fuels (64)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Rubberstamps Pipelines, Ignoring Strong Evidence of Significant Harm & Lack of Need Waterkeepers Chesapeake, a coalition of nineteen independent Waterkeeper and Riverkeeper programs, condemns the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve the Atlantic Coast (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipelines (MVP), despite strong evidence of significant harm. The potential water quality impacts from these natural gas pipelines in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is alarming, specifically for the headwaters of the Shenandoah and James rivers. Waterkeepers Chesapeake applauds Commissioner LaFleur dissenting view that questions the need for the ACP and MVP, and recognizes the dire environmental, ecological, and public health impacts that will result from these needless projects. The Commission’s approval seriously undermines FERC’s credibility as a supposedly objective permitting agency, given the fact that its decision was made in advance of necessary and required decisions by the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the state environmental authorities in the affected states of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina on critical environmental issues.  Over the coming weeks and months, Waterkeepers Chesapeake will join the Shenandoah Riverkeeper, Upper James Riverkeeper, hundreds of landowners, scientists, faith leaders, businesses, public health organizations, non-profits, and other community organizations and thousands of Virginians to stop these pipelines at the federal, state, and local levels. [The Virginia State Water Control Board will hold town meetings in December to consider the application for water quality certification for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The consideration is part of the process required under Section…
Dominion has told the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) that it plans to emit eight times as many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as it's currently allowed from its fracked gas export terminal in Cove Point, Maryland — raising expected VOC emissions from 2.53 tons per year to 20.1 tons per year!   Dominion is asking to have its existing permit changed to remove any numeric limit of VOC pollution and also to change the way the pollution would be monitored. If this application is approved, it could set a precedent for other dangerous gas infrastructure projects.   Please send the PSC a comment today urging it to deny this application!   Hundreds of people came to a public hearing on this issue on October 2. Speaker after speaker testified against Dominion's permit change, but now we need to follow that up with submitting as many comments as possible. The more the PSC hears that this is a terrible idea, the more likely it is to reject Dominion's request.   All comments must be received by the PSC by 5 p.m. on Monday, October 16.   The PSC only accepts comments that are written and mailed, so please send yours today to the address below. Alternatively, you can submit comments electronically at bit.ly/novocpollution, and We Are Cove Point will print them up and mail them in for you!   To send a comment directly to the PSC, make sure to include the permit number 9318 and mail it to: David J. Collins, Executive SecretaryMaryland Public Service Commission6 Saint Paul StreetBaltimore, MD 21202-6806  Much…
In late August, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval of a Southeastern natural gas pipeline under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Court found that FERC failed to quantify the climate impacts that would result from burning the natural gas that the Sabal Trail pipeline would deliver to power plants in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. According to the Court, FERC’s environmental impact statement (required under NEPA) for the project “should have either given a quantitative estimate of the downstream greenhouse emissions that will result from burning the natural gas that the pipelines will transport or explained more specifically why it could not have done so… As we have noted, greenhouse-gas emissions are an indirect effect of authorizing this project, which FERC could reasonably foresee, and which the agency has legal authority to mitigate.” The Court reasoned that quantifying greenhouse gas pollution from pipeline projects would enable FERC to compare potential emissions to other projects and to the total emissions from the state, region, and nation for emissions-control goals. This information is essential for ‘informed decision making’ and ‘informed public comment,’ according to the Court. “The D.C. Circuit’s decision is long overdue – for too long FERC has rubberstamped project after project from the natural gas industry without fully considering the significant climate change impacts that these projects will cause. This is the first case in a line of cases to successfully challenge FERC’s lack of consideration for…