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Yogaville files protest against ACP

Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville, Inc. has filed a protest and request for rejection or hearing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in response to the proposed 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

An intervenor in the filing, Ernie Moore, executive director of Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville, said the ashram “would be directly and negatively impacted by the proposed gas pipeline, compressor station and other related facilities. Both the construction and operation of the proposed pipeline and compressor station would put the ashram’s economic survival at risk, hinder its spiritual practices and ability to carry out its mission of offering these services to others, and present serious health and safety risks to the ashram and surrounding community.  Accordingly, the commission should reject the application, as amended. In the alternative, the commission should set the application for an evidentiary hearing to fully address contested issues.”

Last week, ACP, LLC, a joint venture led by Dominion seeking federal approval of the pipeline that would span Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward counties, submitted its completed responses to the FERC’s environmental information requests from December to January.

“Completing our responses to FERC’s information request is an important milestone for the project and provides FERC with the information it needs for the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS),” said Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby. “The next step is for FERC to issue its Notice of Schedule, which will set the timeline for the remainder of the environmental review process.”

“The ashram opposes the proposed ACP gas pipeline, compressor station and other related facilities due to the substantial harm that would result from the construction and operation of the pipeline project. The adverse impacts warrant commission rejection of the proposal. The commission should deny the application, as amended, or at a minimum, set the application for evidentiary hearing to address the contested issues,” Moore said in the filing.

He said that, like the original application, the amended application fails to account for the significant adverse effects of the proposed ACP. 

“Instead, the modified application generates heightened concern regarding the ACP proposal, which lengthens the pipeline by several miles, moves the pipeline route closer to the ashram, and substantially increases the pressure of the gas compressor station that would be located only five miles from the ashram in Buckingham County. The ashram has detailed the ACP’s negative effects in its previously filed motion to intervene and protest. …”

Moore said that construction and operation of facilities related to the pipeline, including the proposed gas compressor stations, would adversely affect communities including the ashram and other surrounding communities in Buckingham County. 

“The compressor station that would be constructed in Buckingham County would be near the ashram, along with the pollution and associated harms it would bring. The ACP proposal fails to account for the risk of adverse impacts on communities near the proposed compressor stations. The amended application proposes to increase the Buckingham County compressor station horsepower from 40,715 to 53,515 horsepower, increasing the magnitude of the risks.”

“A study detailing the adverse impacts of the ACP, including the risks presented by the proposed compressor station in Buckingham, references various findings regarding the negative health effects of compressor stations. Among other findings, it cites to an environmental agency report indicating that “pollution around compressor stations is common and severe,” and noting ‘high rates of illnesses such as nosebleeds and respiratory difficulties among people living near the stations,’” he said.

Moore said that it was the ashram’s understanding that the latest proposed pipeline route would bring the pipeline only .53 miles from the ashram’s property line and less than a mile from an ashram school and the homes of many ashram community residents. 

“A potential blast zone would be near an ashram school, and the ashram would likely need to close its operations and lay off staff during the year or more pipeline construction period. The pipeline would also come within approximately a mile of the ashram’s most sacred site, the Light of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS), an interfaith temple that draws visitors from across the country and globe.”

Moore said that a recent study of the economic impact of the proposed pipeline and compressor station demonstrates the negative economic impact of the proposal in the four-county region examined, which includes Buckingham County where the ashram is located.”