Pipeline document ‘violates the public’s trust’

Published 4:08 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2017

As an Atlantic Coast Pipeline project opponent, I must point out some critically shoddy work in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Atlantic Coast Pipeline Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) analysis.

In a Farmville Herald article, titled “FERC: Pipeline environmental impact would be ‘less than significant,’” published on Dec. 30, it was noted that FERC’s DEIS states that the proposed pipeline would be located four miles from Yogaville, the Buckingham County yoga community and Integral Yoga training center where I reside and work, and none of the serious concerns about the ACP voiced by my community to FERC to date were considered relevant or serious.

Even Dominion’s ACP team confirmed that the DEIS statement that the ACP would be four miles from Yogaville is false.

Yogaville property is 1,000 feet from the proposed ACP route; our school is within 1,670 feet; and our LOTUS Temple is .06 miles from the hazardous fuel pipeline.

Yogaville falls within what is termed the “impact zone” of this huge 42-inch hazardous methane gas fuel pipeline.

Our concerns over the threat of gas leaking, potential explosion, fire, evacuation, emergency response, medical treatment, impact of construction traffic and noise and impact to property values certainly applies. FERC, with its inaccuracy of exact distance, cannot use their erroneous data to simply brush aside our concerns.

Additionally, it is improper and superficial to put forward this pipeline builder’s plan for a hazardous high-pressure pipeline, which, once certified by FERC, allows the builder to force its way on land against any landowner’s right to private property without a full and complete determination of necessity.

This full needs analysis required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has not been done and accepting the subscriptions to the pipeline by the pipeline builder’s own subsidiaries is not evidence enough to allow forced land acquisition by eminent domain, which lies at the heart of this unjust and inadequate report and process.

A complete needs analysis has been completed in the Synapse Report and points to the lack of need for the ACP to supply regions that are already subscribed to existing pipelines that supply more than enough gas for now and into the future.

The already existing pipelines have been paid for and the cost of their gas would remain substantially less for citizen ratepayers, who are forced to pay higher rates for the construction and maintenance of the unnecessary and hazardous ACP.

FERC should clearly determine if existing energy supply lines can supply our needs without citizens being forced to surrender private property rights for an unneeded ACP when it does not serve the public need, only private profit.

Putting forward a DEIS with incorrect data and unsupported conclusions violates the public’s trust.

Joseph Jeeva Abbate is the coordinator of Yogaville Environmental Solutions. His email address is jeeva@yogaville.org.