Saturday 23 September 2017

Pipelines & Compressor Stations (12)

Congratulations to the Gunpowder Riverkeeper Theaux Gardeur for ensuring that Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC will conduct fish sampling required by a recent settlement agreement.  On March 16th, the Circuit Court for Baltimore County entered a settlement resolving litigation among the Gunpowder Riverkeeper, Columbia, and the Maryland Department of the Environment over a 21 mile natural gas pipeline that Columbia is constructing from Baltimore County to Harford County.  The pipeline will cross 81 streams that collectively provide drinking water to approximately 1.8 million residents in the Baltimore area and support sensitive trout species.  As part of the settlement, Columbia agreed to conduct fish sampling at five streams before they are crossed by the pipeline.  A primary purpose of this “before” sampling is to provide baseline data that will allow the Riverkeeper and the public to more precisely understand the water quality impacts that result from the construction activities.  Columbia obtained a permit from the Department of Natural Resources to conduct the sampling, but standard DNR protocol requires this type of work to occur after June 1.  Not wanting to delay their construction project by approximately 30 days, Columbia asked the Gunpowder Riverkeeper to agree to waive the sampling requirement.  The Riverkeeper said no, and filed an emergency motion with the court to enforce the settlement.  In response to that motion, Columbia agreed to alter its construction schedule and to perform the sampling. The Gunpowder Riverkeeper’s refusal to back down ensures that important data will be gathered, and it sends a clear message…
Waterkeepers Chesapeake strongly supports today’s decision by the United States Forest Service to formally deny the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s (ACP) application for a Special Use Permit.  The U.S. Forest Service rejects the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests to protect the sensitive resources and endangered species found on Cheat Mountain, Back Allegheny Mountain, and Shenandoah Mountain. The rejection of the preferred route underscores how shallow Dominion’s analysis has been and will likely delay the project. Any further consideration of alternative routes in this region must be carefully and independently scrutinized. Since 2014 when Dominion announced its intention to build a major gas transmission line through one of the most intact wild areas on the East Coast, Waterkeepers Chesapeake has joined with the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance to repeatedly raise concerns about the significant harm to the region’s natural resources that the project would cause. As planned, the ACP would run over 550 miles through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. It would be larger in diameter than the Keystone XL. Approximately 40-50 miles of the ACP would cut through the Washington and Monongahela National Forests. The pipeline would cause permanent clearcuts throughout the entire length of the pipeline, causing dramatic forest fragmentation through some of the most high-quality forest habitat in our region. The George Washington National Forest protects the headwaters of the Potomac and James Rivers. It is a direct source of local drinking water to more than 329,000 people living…
Groups Urge Court to Reverse Approval of Cove Point LNG Export Facility Federal regulator approved construction of massive $3.8 billion liquefied natural gas export facility on the Chesapeake Bay without considering all environmental and safety impacts (Washington, DC)  Several groups have filed arguments against the continued construction of the Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility on the Chesapeake Bay at Lusby, Maryland. In September 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorized the controversial LNG export facility despite widespread criticism of FERC’s Environmental Assessment (EA) for Dominion Cove Point. Since that time, Dominion has been constructing the massive $3.8 billion facility on the Chesapeake Bay. Groups and residents across the Bay region say that FERC’s decision fails to address the LNG export facility’s role in speeding fracking across the region, polluting the Bay, worsening the climate crisis, and threatening the health and safety of nearby residents in Calvert County. On Friday, November 20, 2015, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Potomac Riverkeeper, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, and several local groups represented by the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center filed an amicus brief in support of petitioners EarthReports, Inc., et al.’s challenge to FERC’s decision to license Dominion’s LNG export facility. They argue that FERC’s EA is impermissibly narrow in geographic scope and ignores significant project-related environmental impacts. “We are happy to finally to get our day in court despite the fact that the construction of the LNG export facility has continued unabated. For far too long, FERC and our public officials…