According to a draft version of the document dated May 30, 2018, the tribes “would not petition any state or federal regulatory agency or court of law” or “submit additional comment letters, protests or appeals” regarding the ACP. The tribes also “would agree not to hinder or delay the development, construction or operation of the pipeline.” Half of the $1 million would be paid up front — minus legal fees for CHP — with the balance being paid shortly before the pipeline would begin operating commercially. The amount of the commission could not be confirmed in the draft settlement. Since the terms and even the existence of the agreement are confidential, the contents of the final document are not public.
Today the Virginia State Corporation Commission issued an order rejecting Dominion Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan, which lays out the utility’s plans for meeting energy needs for years to come in Virginia. This is the first time the Virginia SCC has ever outright rejected a plan from the energy company. Also today, Dominion in contending with a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals order to stay a key permit of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has now temporarily shut down construction on the entire project. Today the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed Fish and Wildlife Service approvals for the ACP, which must be in place before Dominion can harm threatened and endangered species.
Today the Virginia State Corporation Commission issued an order rejecting Dominion Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan, which lays out the utility’s plans for meeting energy needs for years to come in Virginia. This is the first time the Virginia SCC has ever outright rejected a plan from the energy company. Also today, Dominion in contending with a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals order to stay a key permit of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has now temporarily shut down construction on the entire project.
The AMP Creeks Council and greater Southern Maryland Community are Celebrating a Victory in a two-year fight against Dominion Energy Cove Point’s (DECP) efforts to build a giant fracked gas compressor station on 14 clear cut acres surrounded by fragile wetlands that often flood in the Accokeek/Bryans Road area. Emily Architzel, an AMP Creeks Board member who recently moved from Bryans Road to Accokeek and is disabled said, “Holy cow! I’m breathing a giant fracked gas-free sigh of relief. The pollution from this compressor station would have driven my family out of the area because of the potential impacts to my health.”
A Maryland woman parked a tractor at the gate of the proposed site of a compressor station in Charles County and locked herself to the steering wheel before dawn Monday morning, preventing workers from entering. Kelly Canavan–with assistance from her sister, her son, a local resident and two environmental activists equipped with protest signs–attempted to delay clear-cutting of trees on the Dominion-owned site before a crucial permit hearing the following day. It was the fourth day of tree-felling to clear a total of 13 acres. The blockade started at 6:30 am with the tractor rumbling down the narrow road, turning around and re-positioning in the short driveway in the midst of a bucolic setting of trees, gurgling stream and pink-tinted dawn. Canavan slipped her arms into a lockbox device with tight sleeves which secured her to the tractor. At least a dozen officers and nine vehicles were dispatched from the Charles County Sheriff’s Department.
The Maryland Public Service Commission will allow higher levels of certain air pollutants from the power plant at Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG export terminal. The Commission approved Dominion’s request for a permit amendment, clearing the way for it to begin operations. Dominion asked the PSC for fugitive emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at the power plant to be exempted from numeric limits, claiming there was no good way to measure them. The Commission agreed, calling numeric limits “practically unenforceable due to the lack of available technology.” “Removing the numeric limit will neither alter the operation of the Project nor impact the surrounding environment,” the PSC order says.
By Staff of We Are Cove Point - The last two days saw two hearings about different Dominion Energy gas infrastructure projects in Southern Maryland. Tuesday night, there was a zoning permit for a compressor station Dominion wants to build near Accokeek, and Wednesday, there was a hearing to change Dominion’s largest state-level permit for its export terminal being built at Cove Point in a way that would allow more pollution into the surrounding community. Dominion representatives left both hearings with grumpy faces. The Tuesday night hearing was in front of the Charles County Appeals Board, which is deciding whether to issue the special exemption Dominion needs to build a compressor station in an area otherwise set aside for conservation near Accokeek, right near the line between Charles and Prince George’s Counties. This was the fourth of five hearings on the matter, and this one was devoted entirely to hearing public comment. Dominion and the unions it typically works with kept up their practice of requiring union members to come from all over the area to create an image of public support for Dominion’s side. This is often done by fining the workers if they don’t show up. Perhaps two hundred workers crowded the parking lot outside the hearing and eventually the hearing room. Most were dressed in their work gear, many having recently gotten off a shift at the export terminal in Cove Point. A string of about 10 pro-Dominion speakers opened up the public testimony.
By Staff of We Are Cove Point - For 18 weeks in a row now, We Are Cove Point has been holding rallies at the governor’s mansion in Annapolis to demand Maryland Governor Larry Hogan order a safety study for the fracked gas export terminal Dominion is building in the Cove Point neighborhood of Lusby in Southern Maryland. Each Monday at noon, we hold signs, pass out flyers and talk to passersby about the need for the governor to order this study, called a quantitative risk assessment. The governor is the only person who can order this study. This has been a continuation of a bigger campaign that’s stretched back into the administration of former Governor Martin O’Malley. Every once in a while, we catch Governor Hogan walking outside of his mansion. Yesterday was one of those days, and one member of We Are Cove Point had a very illuminating dialogue with him. We were walking around the state house during an event, handing out flyers and talking with people, when someone from We Are Cove Point spotted Governor Hogan and a few of his guards moving between the state house and the governor’s mansion.
By Robert Zullo for Richmond Times-Dispatch - Sen. David R. Suetterlein, R-Roanoke County, partnered with Sen. J. Chapman Petersen, D-Fairfax City, last session on a bill that would have repealed the rate freeze law. The measure died early in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, and attempts to revive it during the session illustrated how lonely it can be for lawmakers on the wrong side of a bill Dominion wants to pass or fail. "As a regulated monopoly, Dominion is very involved at the General Assembly and the State Corporation Commission is constitutionally responsible for overseeing a lot of things related to Dominion's business," Suetterlein said. "Unfortunately, they've been able to convince the General Assembly to kidnap the SCC's authority." But that hasn't stopped the State Corporation Commission from pushing back in some cases, and in one recent example exerting its power in defiance of the General Assembly. Last month, for a second time, the commission rejected the bulk of a Dominion plan to bury several thousand miles of electric lines. The commission's decision came despite explicit legislative direction from the General Assembly last session to cast a more favorable eye on the program. The SCC's three commissioners, who are elected by the legislature, unanimously concluded that at an eventual price tag of $6 billion to ratepayers, the cost outweighed the benefits.
By Staff of We Are Cove Point - LUSBY, MD — The public showed up in force last night to urge the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to reject Dominion Energy’s application to increase the pollution that would enter the air surrounding its fracked gas export terminal and liquefaction plant that is being built in the Cove Point neighborhood of Lusby, Maryland. For three hours, speaker after speaker gave the lone PSC representative on the stage an earful, telling the regulatory agency exactly how they felt about the prospect of living with even more pollution than they’re currently facing. This public comment hearing was part of an application process in which Dominion is asking the PSC to remove the restriction to emit no more than 2.53 tons per year of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as to use more generators in the power plant aspect of the facility. Dominion is requesting to have no numeric VOC limit and instead use a program where it would detect and repair excessive VOC leaks on its own schedule. In Dominion’s filings for its 2014 PSC permit, the company said it would have 15,000 valves, gauges, fittings, inspection ports and other connections that would be associated with fugitive VOC emissions.
By Josh Stanfield for Blue Virginia - To the sensitive ear of the Virginia Democrat, perhaps the protestor sounded a bit harsh. Grotesque? Seriously? Dr. Northam made his position on the proposed pipelines clear at the debate: if the DEQ and Corps of Engineers approve, he’s on board. So if we understand the grotesque as the incongruous, the absurdly or disgustingly distorted, this courageous protestor may be onto something. Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently reversed its pre-primary statement and – instead of conducting site-specific environmental reviews – will defer to blanket permitting from the Army Corps of Engineers. In essence, the projects are being fast-tracked with only cursory analyses of their likely effects. The DEQ, however, is itself deeply entangled in Dominion’s tentacles. The Director of the DEQ, David Paylor, was paid by Dominion to attend the 2013 PGA Masters Tournament in Georgia – a trip valued at $2,370. Not to mention a $1,200 dinner on Dominion’s dime. The DEQ’s Water Permitting Division Director Melanie Davenport reportedly represented Dominion as an attorney prior to joining the DEQ. And the DEQ has outsourced part of its environmental review of the ACP to a contractor already working for Dominion.
By Popular Resistance. Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland let it be known last week that he supports the Dominion Energy fracked gas export terminal in southern Maryland and will not order a safety study to determine the risks to the community. The people of Lusby, Maryland and other communities near Cove Point along with their allies have entered a new phase of their campaign now that Hogan has essentially said -- your lives are less important than Dominion's profits. The failure to examine the risks of the Dominion fracked gas export terminal in a Qualitative Risk Assessment is the height of irresponsibility and shows that people of Maryland, especially those in rural areas, they cannot count on Governor Hogan to treat them fairly or protect their safety. Take action to urge Governor Hogan to order a risk assessment. Call his office at 410-974-3901 and join us at the rally in Lawyer's Mall in Annapolis, this Monday, June 3, 2017 at noon.
By Donny Williams for We Are Cove Point. “I don’t know a lot about the existing permit.” Those words shocked the crowd gathered last night for Maryland Department of the Environment’s “informational meeting” regarding Dominion’s permit to dump an average of 45,000 gallons every day into the wetlands around Cove Point. Spoken by Marjorie Mewbourn, MDE’s project manager overseeing this permit application, this sentence summed up a lot about the amount of information our state regulators had or were able to share. MDE seemed nervous as it tried to give a presentation about this permit to a crowd of about 60, which overflowed the “Dominion Cove Point LNG” meeting room where it was held in the Prince Frederick library and had people sitting on tables or wherever they could find space. However, residents didn’t let MDE get very far.
By Staff of We Are Cove Point - Dominion held its annual shareholders meeting yesterday in Richmond, Virginia. A couple of Calvert County residents active with We Are Cove Point and other allies went inside the meeting. Here’s one person’s account of what it was like to be inside: People started gathering outside the Greater Richmond Convention Center around 8 a.m. to show our displeasure with Dominion as shareholders began to arrive for the meeting. People held signs and banners between where shareholders would enter to park their cars and where they could enter on foot. Dominion put up black curtains inside the convention center to hide us from being seen by shareholders once they were inside, but we were pretty impossible to miss before that point. Around 8:45, a number of us with tickets left to go inside the meeting. We presented our tickets and IDs to four layers of security before we were given our name tags and meeting materials. At that point, we were left to mingle until the meeting room opened at 9:30. Light refreshments were available, and private security was all around. It was a good opportunity to meet other people who had concerns with Dominion and rub elbows with Dominion insiders.