Monday 19 November 2018

Pipelines & Compressor Stations (23)

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Rubberstamps Another Pipeline, Ignoring Science and Local Opposition The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on July 19, 2018, approved TransCanada’s application to build a new natural gas pipeline that would carry fracked gas from Pennsylvania across Western Maryland to West Virginia, passing under the Potomac River. Three out of five FERC Commissioners voted to approve the pipeline, with a fourth concurring but disagreeing with FERC’s decision to ignore climate change impacts of expanding fracked gas infrastructure in its decision. In a strong dissent, Commissioner Glick , the fifth vote, passionately disagreed with his colleagues, calling them out for ignoring the impacts of burning natural gas, and stating that “Climate change poses an existential threat to our security, economy, environment, and, ultimately, the health of individual citizens.” The Potomac pipeline has faced widespread public opposition in local communities along its route, and numerous public officials and municipalities voiced concerns and opposition, including County Commissions and Councils from Washing- ton, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George’s and Carroll Counties and the City Councils of Hagerstown, Boonsboro, Sharpsburg, Frederick, and Washington, DC. For over a year, we have joined our No Potomac Pipeline coalition partners in voicing our concerns to State and Federal authorities over the serious threats this pipeline has on the Potomac River, the drinking water for 6 million people. There has been a pattern of reluctance from those authorities to hear our concerns and to fully assess this pipeline project in its entirety. A request for rehearing was…
Efforts continue to stop two huge pipelines that will cut through the region: the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline. There are several legal challenges pending on both pipelines but construction continues. Waterkeepers Cheseapeake recently filed a request to the State Water Control Board asking them to direct the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to conduct stream-by-stream analyses of crossings and to impose the necessary standards to ensure full protection of Virginia’s water resources. We also requested that the Board put on hold MVP and ACP development until all legal and regulatory challenges are resolved. Earlier this year, the Maryland Department of the Environment approved a water quality permit for TransCanada’s pipeline that will tunnel under the Potomac River near Hancock, MD, with some special conditions. This approval was deeply disappointing to us and all our partners in the No Potomac Pipeline campaign. Efforts continue to stop the pipeline. Dominion Energy’s plans to build a natural gas compressor station across Potomac River from Mount Vernon revealed there is more to it than spoiling the view. There will be a spider web of pipelines bringing fracked from the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in Pennsylvania to the Cove Point LNG export facility on the Chesapeake Bay. Even the Eastern Shore is being threatened by 171-mile fracked gas pipeline starting in Rising Sun (Cecil County), passing through all Eastern Shore counties (except for Worchester), before crossing into Virginia to end at a proposed power station in Accomack County.
Virginia’s State Water Control Board invited the public to submit new comments on two massive natural gas pipelines that will impact Virginia’s waterways. Waterkeepers Chesapeake were among over 13,000 groups and people who submitted comments to the board. In our comments on the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines, we asked for a swift review of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) and requested that the State Water Control Board (Board) direct the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to conduct stream-by-stream analyses of crossings and to impose the necessary standards to ensure full protection of Virginia’s water resources. We also requested that the Board put on hold MVP and ACP development until all legal and regulatory challenges are resolved. These fracked gas pipelines will cross rivers, streams, and wetlands more than a thousand times in Virginia. Instead of relying on insufficient permits, the State Water Control Board should direct the DEQ to conduct stream-by-stream analyses of crossings using its authority under § 401 of the Clean Water Act and impose the necessary standards to ensure full protection of Virginia’s designated water uses, including aquatic life, recreation, wildlife, and drinking water supplies. DEQ and the Board should also put on hold the § 401 “upland” certifications for both the ACP and MVP until the Board has completed its review of public comments on the adequacy of NWP 12 and the Board has determined whether it will take additional action. Likewise, while petitions for rehearing are pending…