Atlantic Coast Pipeline

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Imagine selecting the supermarket’s finest-quality produce, filling your buggy to the brim, skipping the checkout line and flinging a fistful of change at the cashier on your way out the door.  Don’t give this a try — you’ll promptly be arrested on larceny charges. Theft is theft, and imitating payment by scattering pennies is no substitute for ringing up those heirloom tomatoes.  Yet conduct that would be criminal for a consumer is perfectly legal for corporations, which use eminent domain powers to snatch people’s land out from under them, then pay a price of their choosing for the purloined property.  Unless deals are struck with about 60 landowners, private developers will resort to eminent domain in order to stitch together a Wilson County corridor for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Our Opinion: Pipeline land grab sets stage for limit on eminent domain.  June 27, 2017, The Wilson Times

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Opponents of a natural gas pipeline told state officials Tuesday that it will harm the environment and is not needed, but supporters said the pipeline is safe and will create jobs.  The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality held a public hearing at Fayetteville Technical Community on a water quality certification application for the proposed pipeline. Opponents said the state should rely more on renewable energy such solar and wind power.  Supporters said the pipeline will provide a clean source of power that will lower the cost of energy. Pipeline opponents outnumber supporters at public hearing.  July 18, 2017, The Fayetteville Observer

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The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is hosting a public hearing on a water quality certification application for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Fayetteville Technical Community College.  The proposed 600-mile pipeline from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina will end in Robeson County. The route goes through eastern Cumberland County and the northeast corner of Sampson County. …Here are five key things to know about the project ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.  Here are five thigs  1. What’s on the hearing agenda? 2. What do supporters say? 3. What do opponents say? 4. When could it be built? 5. How can I weigh in? Atlantic Coast Pipeline hearing: 5 things to know.  Jul 18, 2017.  The Fayetteville Observer ditch

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The state Department of Environmental Quality sent a letter Thursday to the company that wants to build the pipeline asking for more information. The department is reviewing the company’s application for a water quality certification. Jeff Poupart, water quality section chief for the department’s Division of Water Resources, sent the letter to Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, which was formed by the three companies that want to build the pipeline. … Poupart said in his letter that the state needs more information about how the pipeline would cross streams, how water quality would be protected, the parameters for testing drinking water from wells, the location and rate of test water discharge, erosion control from construction, and the cumulative impact of the pipeline. The letter says that any work done before the permit is issued may be a violation of state law and regulations. State delays decision on Atlantic Coast Pipeline permit.  September 15, 2017.  The Fayetteville Observer

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Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has rejected story as rejected environmental plans by Duke Energy and three other energy companies to build an interstate pipeline to carry natural gas from West Virginia into North Carolina.  The letter of disapproval from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is the first decision on the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline from any state or federal government agency in the three states the project would traverse. Duke Energy is also expecting a decision this month from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as to whether the $5 billion pipeline project is necessary.  The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality said the 600-mile underground pipeline, which would travel through eight North Carolina counties, including Johnston and Nash, does not meet the state’s standards for erosion and sediment control.  N.C. says ‘no’ to 3-state natural gas pipeline.  October 10, 2017. The Fayetteville Observer


If you look closely, you can see the signs scattered throughout Nash County, poking out from sprawling fields and sun-scorched patches of grass. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are bright yellow with just one word: DANGER. Others are square and white with a circle and a slash. All of them have the same message, peppering a sleepy, rural stretch of land with a small yelp of protest: No Atlantic Coast Pipeline…. Across the state, however, a dedicated base of opponents has mobilized, from Asheville to Fayetteville. They worry that the pipeline will cause irreparable environmental damage, lead to rising utility costs, and disproportionately affect poor and minority communities.  In North Carolina alone, they point out, about thirty thousand Native Americans live along the proposed route.  Duke Energy Wants to Build a $5 Billion Pipeline Through Eastern North Carolina. They’ll Have to Go Through Marvin Winstead First. October 11, 2017. Indy Week.

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Since the project’s introduction, it’s been controversial. In North Carolina alone, it would cross more than 320 waterways and directly pass through the properties of about a thousand landowners. Opponents say it will cause irreparable environmental damage and disproportionately affect poor and minority communities; supporters point to potential job gains and the return of infrastructure to economically distressed parts of the state.  On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission took a decisive step in moving the project forward by granting the necessary federal approval for the pipeline. The decision was widely expected by critics, who say the agency routinely gives its blessing to infrastructure projects. FERC Approves Atlantic Coast Pipeline, But N.C. DEQ Can Stop it in its Tracks. Oct 17, 2017, INDY Week

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An alliance of 21 local and state interest groups has begun an appeal process asking federal authorities to suspend approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  N.C. WARN, an opponent of the proposed $5 billion project to bring natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina, said in a release Monday that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “cut corners, ignored environmental justice and climate destruction and usurped state authority in approving construction.” … The group contends FERC’s approval of the pipeline plans constitute an injustice toward African-American, Native American and low-income communities.  The agency’s “analysis of minority populations is remarkable in its contorted logic used to minimize the relative impact on people of color … In fact, in comparing the current ACP corridor to earlier proposed ACP routes, it is clear that the pipeline has been moved to areas of greater poverty and more people of color,” Runkle wrote. Groups appeal Atlantic Coast Pipeline approval.  November 15, 2017.  The Wilson Times.

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The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is preparing to sue uncooperative property owners to gain access to their land so it can build a 600-mile natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina.  The energy consortium, which includes Charlotte-based Duke Energy, said this week that about 20 percent of 2,900 landowners whose properties lie in the path of the proposed underground pipeline have not signed voluntary agreements to allow their land to be used for the project, including an estimated 200 property owners in eight North Carolina counties…. While the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has undisputed legal authority to use private land for the project, the looming court actions against rural residents touch on sensitive issues of property rights and farming traditions. Atlantic Coast Pipeline to take landowners to court to clear way for 600-mile project.  November 17, 2017, News and Observer


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The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is being touted as a vital supply line for economic development in eastern North Carolina, but it also would contribute to a major threat to the flood-prone region by exacerbating climate change…. Practical and immediate concerns need to be addressed, but the overarching reason to oppose a new pipeline that would carry 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day is that it takes North Carolina’s and the nation’s energy development in exactly the wrong direction. Money should be poured into the development of renewable energy and the generation of power on site rather than into the pumping in of fossil fuel from hundreds of miles away. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will slow conversion to more renewable energy. November 18, 2017, News and Observer.

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The planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline, already more than a year behind schedule, could face further delays as North Carolina officials once again seek additional information on the project’s potential impacts to the communities the pipeline will traverse.  The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality on Wednesday sent the pipeline’s developers a fourth round of questions about the economic benefits and environmental risks of the project. … In North Carolina, the project requires an air quality permit to operate a compressor station in Northampton County that will help push the gas through the pipeline…. It also requires a water quality permit to allow the underground pipeline to cross several hundred streams, creeks and other bodies of water. This permit hinges on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s responses to the fourth set of questions. The agency is asking for information previously requested but not adequately answered by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Atlantic Coast Pipeline faces another delay as NC officials push for more details. November 30, 2017, News and Observer

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In the war over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, opponents have lots of criticisms. … They say the 600-mile pipeline would ruin scenic vistas, pollute streams, stomp landowners’ rights and drive up electricity rates. … During the cycle, from the wellheads to the plants where it would be burned to generate electricity, a small portion of what’s extracted would leak. And it would be mostly methane – a greenhouse gas that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated is 34 times more effective a blanket for trapping atmospheric heat than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. With global warming causing massive polar ice melts that, in turn, nudge sea levels higher, the leap in logic is inescapable. ,,, As with so many other pipeline-related issues, the question of climate change impacts likely is headed for the courts.  Would the Atlantic Coast Pipeline increase the threat of sea level rise in Hampton Roads? Dec 2, 2017.  The Virginian-Pilot

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The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, already more than a year behind schedule, missed another deadline Wednesday when North Carolina regulators said they would not issue an environmental permit by Dec. 15 as had been expected.  The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality sent the pipeline’s developers a request for more information on Monday, saying the request indefinitely suspends the Dec. 15 deadline to issue an air-quality permit for a planned compressor station that will push the natural gas downstream through the underground pipeline…. Dozens of organizations have lined up against the project, saying it poses environmental risks and will effectively commit North Carolina to fossil fuels, as opposed to renewable resources, for decades to come. Atlantic Coast Pipeline blows another deadline as NC officials seek more info, December 07, 2017, News and Observer trench

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Duke Energy and Dominion Energy have filed court documents to acquire land via eminent domain for construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  The utilities want to build a natural gas pipeline along the I-95 corridor, connecting to fracking operations in West Virginia. Duke and Dominion are seeking seven chunks of private land in Nash and Cumberland Counties.  Pipeline spokesman Aaron Ruby says the condemnation complaints are a last resort.  “We’ve been fortunate to reach agreements with about 80 percent of the landowners, and in most of those cases it was after both sides made concessions,” Ruby said.  Atlantic Coast Pipeline Seeks Eminent Domain in NC.  Dec 7, 2017, WUNC Radio

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Map from NC Department of Environmental Quality

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC this month filed lawsuits in federal court against six property owners near Fayetteville and one in Nash County, about 100 miles north of Fayetteville, to access their land for the underground pipeline.  It’s part of an effort to begin construction next year, a spokesman said. The litigation asks the court to grant Atlantic the property by eminent domain. Even though the pipeline will be a private, for-profit, non-governmental entity, the company contends that federal law allows it to take control, similar to how the government forces people to sell their land for a public project like a road or public building.  If the landowners fail to respond within 21 days of being served the lawsuit, the company contends it could immediately go on their property. Payment would be decided later.  Atlantic wants permanent easements — the right to use land in which the pipeline will be built —plus temporary easements for construction.  Atlantic Coast Pipeline sues landowners.  December 8, 2017. The Fayetteville Observer


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