Groups Challenge Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Sierra Club and allied conservation groups yesterday requested a rehearing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines. Yesterday’s filings are a necessary step before filing suit in federal court. The groups are asking FERC to withdraw the pipelines’ existing flawed permits and prepare a full and complete environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. The groups, the Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, are represented by Appalachian Mountain Advocates (Appalmad).

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would run through nearly 600 miles of prime forest and agricultural land from West Virginia through Virginia to end in southern North Carolina. The pipeline would also include a new compressor station and an almost 70-mile-long spur to Virginia’s Hampton Roads region. The Mountain Valley Pipeline would cut through over 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia to connect to the Transco Pipeline. Both pipelines would be 42 inches in diameter (by comparison, Keystone XL would have been 36 inches). Both pipelines would cost billions of dollars and increase pressure to frack in central Appalachia.

A court ruling earlier this year sided with the Sierra Club’s assertion that FERC did not adequately consider the effects of burning the gas transported by pipelines in their EIS for the Sabal Trail Pipeline. While the Sabal Trail Pipeline is already in operation, the ruling is widely seen as having long-term implications for similar projects FERC has approved or will review. There is even an ongoing court battle that may result in the Sabal Trail pipeline ceasing operation while FERC does another EIS for it.

In response, Sierra Club Senior Organizing Representative for West Virginia Bill Price released the following statement:

“It’s time FERC took its responsibility as a regulatory body seriously and did a real review of this dirty, dangerous pipeline. Instead of acting as a rubber stamp for the fossil fuel industry, FERC must do a new supplemental environmental impact statement, and offer a new public comment period. FERC has blindly accepted corporate polluters’ assertions that they need these projects and now the American people deserve the chance to tell their government these pipelines hurt our health and communities and aren’t even necessary for energy production. The Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines are designed to make money for the big energy companies at the expense of their customers and the climate. Since electricity demand is flattening and clean, renewable energy sources are affordable and abundant, these gas pipelines are unnecessary and should be rejected.”

Anne Havemann, General Counsel for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network said:

“From coastal flooding to monster hurricanes to ravaging wildfires, climate change is impacting the critical systems that support life on our planet — right now. Building these pipelines is equivalent to flipping the switch on 45 new coal-fired power plants, a commitment to fossil fuels that we can no longer afford to make. With yesterday’s rehearing request, we’re simply reiterating what the courts and the former FERC Chairman have told FERC it must do: Conduct a meaningful analysis of the full scope of greenhouse gas emissions from building these pipelines.”

Peter Anderson, Virginia Program Manager for Appalachian Voices said:

“Two out of three FERC commissioners failed to require credible evidence of the purported need for this pipeline. We must hold them accountable in all aspects of this decision because the consequences for communities, landowners, wildlife and water are too dire to accept. This request for rehearing is about forcing the commission to dig deeper into the evidence in the record and act accordingly.”

 

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About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

About Appalachian Mountain Advocates

Appalachian Mountain Advocates (Appalmad) is a non-profit law and policy center dedicated to fighting for clean water and a clean energy future. Appalmad has a long history of winning precedent-setting court cases. The organization represents scores of landowners and grassroots organizations challenging four unnecessary interstate pipelines in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Appalmad has worked for two decades to ensure the fossil fuel industry cannot continue to dump its costs of doing business onto the public. For more information, visit www.appalmad.org.

About the Chesapeake Climate Action Network

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) is the first grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to fighting global warming in the Chesapeake region. Our mission is to build a diverse movement powerful enough to put our region on the path to climate stability. We envision an equitable energy future where truly clean sources of power — efficiency, solar and wind — sustain every aspect of our lives, and dirty fossil fuels are phased out. For more information, visit www.chesapeakeclimate.org.

About Appalachian Voices

Appalachian Voices is a leading nonprofit advocate for a just economy and healthy environment in the Appalachian region and a driving force in America’s shift from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.  Combining grassroots organizing, policy advocacy and technical expertise, Appalachian Voices holds decisionmakers accountable in courtrooms, in state capitals and in Washington D.C. to effect positive change in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.

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