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Yard signs of this image against fracking and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in NC are now available!

About the Frack Free NC Alliance

“Frack-Free NC” is a network of grassroots organizations who believe that shale gas development using “fracking” and horizontal drilling cannot be done without bringing harm to our waters, land, air, communities and public health. We are working to keep North Carolina frack free. Learn more...

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Climate Emergency: Tri-State Pipeline Strike Photos & Critical Next Steps!

Thanks to all who were able to attend the Climate Emergency: Tri-State Pipeline Strike in Roanoke on Sept. 23rd!

As part of the Global Strike Week of Action, numerous FrackFree NC organizations joined with activists and impacted community members from across WV, VA, and NC who are on the frontlines of the fight against ACP, MVP and other climate injustices.

If you weren’t able to attend, no worries! Below is a list of printable resources you can use and share with your friends, families and networks:

Divestment letters: Did you know Wells Fargo and SunTrust are just two of the dozens of major financial backers for MVP, ACP, and other fossil fuel projects fueling our global climate crisis? Following our pipeline strike in Roanoke, we delivered a letter to Wells Fargo and SunTrust urging them to turn the tide and become climate champions – to invest in a CLEAN, JUST, and SUSTAINABLE energy future.

If you bank with these institutions, consider delivering this letter to your local branch and issue them a notice of your intent to pull your money from them until they STOP investing in climate injustices.
Divestment Letter to Wells Fargo
Divestment Letter to SunTrust
Resources on how to divest your money from these banks!

Postcard to FERC: The time is ripe for FERC to issue an official Stop Work Order for both ACP and MVP! Download and print your own pre-addressed postcard to send to FERC with a comment on why Commissioners can not allow construction of these rogue pipelines to continue!

You’ll find helpful talking points on the front side of the postcard. Just write your own personal comment on the back, stick a stamp on it, and drop it in the mailbox! Your comment will then be submitted into the official docket
FERC postcard

Calls to Action: Become a climate justice leader! Download our Calls to Action flyer to find out what you can do to urge state and federal officials to hold major polluters like Duke, Dominion, and EQT accountable!
Calls to Action flyer

Belinda Joyner and Richie Harding of Northampton Co. delivering powerful speech on community impacts of ACP and Enviva’s wood pellet facility
Richie Harding speaking his work fighting ACP in his community of Union Hill, VA
Performance art from the rally
Marching in silence to the MLK statue carrying water flags representing the 100s of impacted waterways impacted by MVP & ACP
Gathering with water flags around the MLK statue for closing song and prayer

Climate Emergency: Tri-State Pipeline Strike!

“Climate Emergency: Tri-State Pipeline Strike” will kick off at 10:00 AM in downtown Roanoke, VA, Monday, September 23, 2019!

Wells Fargo Plaza, 26 Salem Ave. SE, Roanoke, VA 24011

As part of the Global Climate Strike week of action, we will be joining with residents and landowners across WV, VA, and NC who are impacted by the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipelines and other climate-impacting threats.

MORE INFO, REGISTRATION ON FACEBOOK

This is a public, permited, and very family-friendly event! ALL ARE WELCOME!

We will be occupying the Wells Fargo Plaza (outside the Wells Fargo bank) 26 Salem Ave. SE, Roanoke, VA 24011

This public event is the second of two NO MVP / NO ACP actions coordinated by a tri-state coalition of WV, NC, and VA pipeline resisters. The “Circle of Protection” event will take place the day before on Sunday, Sept. 22, and will seek to serve and elevate the voices of the host community, in this case, Bent Mountain, and others now facing the destructive robbery of the Mountain Valley fracked gas pipeline. Communities resisting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline threat will come to tell their own story and stand in solidarity to protect the region’s rights to clean water and to protect their own homes and future.

View our list of resources, including information on nearby lodging!:
http://c9u.13b.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/List-of-Accommodations.pdf

More info on the “Circle of Protection” event https://www.facebook.com/events/1367765696703853/?active_tab=about

Everyone is required to register for the “Circle of Protection” event here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1VfIndsUQN5kDOXOBQyg4v5OdJljRmlVAf1MMZ11JRLU/viewform?edit_requested=true

Join us! Save the dates! Shout and share!

Co-sponsored by: Clean Water for North Carolina, FrackFree NC, Chatham Research Group, 350 Triangle, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Protect Our Water – POW, Concern for the New Generation, Concerned Citizens of Northampton County, Triangle Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, NC Alliance To Protect Our People And The Places We Live, NC Poor People’s Campaign, Water is Life. Protect it., Friends of Buckingham, Appalachian Voices, Mothers Out Front – Roanoke and New River Valley, Mothers Out Front – Richmond, Mothers Out Front – Fairfax County, Mothers Out Front, The Chesapeake Pipeline Resistance, RVA Interfaith Climate Justice League, Virginia Peoples Climate Movement, Virginians Against Pipelines, Food & Water Watch – Virginia, Virginia Poor People’s Campaign, Sustainable Roanoke, Friends of the Earth, Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun – Earth Justice Team, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, Virginia Sierra Club – New River Valley Chapter

Join us! Save the dates! Shout and share!

If your organization would like to co-sponsor this event, please email Hope Taylor at hope@cwfnc.org

Bishop William J. Barber, II & The Poor People’s Campaign in Northampton County!

Activists and Impacted Landowners/Residents Meet with NC Legislators to Stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline!

On April 9th, a number of grassroots organizations joined with pipeline-impacted residents and landowners to lobby our N.C. legislature in Raleigh during the “Clean Energy, Not Fracked Gas Lobby Day”.

The joint advocacy day focused on educating legislators on the mounting legal challenges, lack of need, community health impacts, and diminishing economic viability of the ACP. Lobbying efforts also focused on educating legislators about the lack of need for the MVP Southgate extension through Rockingham and Alamance counties.

We asked that each legislator commit to protecting our communities and fragile environment by signing on to a letter to FERC urging them to issue an official stop work order AND rescind ACP’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.

By the end of the day, 18 legislators had agreed to sign on to the letter! This even includes Senator Erica Smith of Northampton County, who admitted that she had indeed drank the “ACP kool-aid” in the past, but now realizes that the pipeline will do nothing to help her constituents or her county’s economy.

Thank you to all who met with or contacted their state representatives. Together, we WILL stop this pipeline!

Hope Taylor: A tale of two pipelines and the conscience of our state

Hope Taylor
Hope Taylor, Executive Director, Clean Water for NC

We need to look at the way North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality has dealt with two proposed new gas pipelines as they were considered for construction, to see what it reveals about looking at facts and valuing communities in different regions of our state. It’s been 14 months since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted a “Certificate of Convenience and Necessity” for the 600 mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, to bring fracked gas from West Virginia to eight eastern N.C. counties. The DEQ has had numerous permits to review, with two of the most important ones being the 401 water quality certification and the air permit for a compressor station to push the gas 186 miles in N.C.

Who is building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and why? Dominion Energy and Duke Energy, two of the nation’s largest electric utilities, say that the ACP is needed to supply much needed gas to the Southeast. But for nearly three years, many of us who follow energy needs and production closely have understood the pipeline to be a boondoggle for two of the nation’s biggest utility companies, Duke and Dominion, to make up to 14 percent profit on the $5.5 billion (now $7 billion!) cost of building the pipeline through rate hikes to electric and gas customers. With electricity demand flat for the two mega-utilities, pipeline building presented a much more lucrative income opportunity. With federal approvals, just building a pipeline, whether it’s needed or ever used, becomes a more profitable bet than generating electricity.

We countered the utilities’ claims of need for more gas and electricity by presenting federal and N.C. regulators with studies from several well-regarded energy and financial analysis organizations, and pointed out that it’s customers, NOT shareholders, who would end up paying for the pipeline. We expected the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ignore those studies — they are infamous as a rubber stamp for pipeline projects, only looking at contracts to purchase the gas to flow through the pipeline. But for N.C. regulators to ignore that information was stunning.

The Dept. of Environmental Quality had multiple opportunities to consider the issues of need and economic and social impacts, and didn’t raise them. Only the NC Utilities Commission pointed out the excessive 14 percent profit margin when the federal approval came in October, 2017. The increased utility rates will disproportionately impact residents with lower incomes. African American and Native American residents and communities will be disproportionately impacted — in fact , it sure looks like several eastern N.C. communities were targeted by the pipeline builders as being poorer and having less political clout.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate Extension project announced last year is being built by gas extraction companies rather than mega-utilities, and would enter N.C. in Rockingham and Alamance Counties. We salute the local and regional advocates who got out early and have built opposition to the project through presentations to local governments. Both pipelines are unneeded and would cause disruptions for the community and landowners, as well as safety risks and ongoing leaks of methane, a far more powerful greenhouse gas than the carbon dioxide that Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order on Climate would try to reduce.

While DEQ never argued to the federal agency that the ACP was unneeded, it made exactly that argument to FERC about the MVP Southgate Extension last month. Their analysis acknowledges that there are other pipelines in the same region and the ACP would have only a slight impact on the lack of need for the smaller MVP Extension. We have to ask: Why is DEQ ready to accept a huge fracked gas pipeline in eastern N.C., with its generally much lower household incomes and high percentage of people of color, while questioning the need for the smaller pipeline going through much whiter, higher income counties?

Both pipelines will contribute to worsening climate change, dislocation of residents, unneeded costs, and environmental damage. But what does it tell us about our state’s commitment to fair treatment that the DEQ has raised key questions of need about the smaller proposed MVP Extension, but not about the much larger, more costly Atlantic Coast Pipeline?

Now, while ACP construction has been shut down due to yet another inadequate and illegal federal permit, it’s not too late for our state to put an end to the exploding costs of this unnecessary, unjust and dangerous pipeline for the people of North Carolina.

Hope Taylor is executive director of Clean Water for North Carolina. She has a public health degree in environmental chemistry and biology from UNC Chapel Hill, and was previously a research biochemist at National Institutes of Health and Duke University, and a community advisor under EPA Superfund Technical Assistance program.

NEW!: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Construction Updates in NC!

The most recent report submitted by ACP follows the decision by the Fourth Circuit Court to pull two key federal permits. Construction of new activities along the entire route has stopped, but ACP continues to “stabilize” the corridor, which includes laying pipe and backfilling trenches. Drilling under the Tar River in Nash County will push forward, while monitoring of erosion and control devices along the entire route will continue during this work stoppage.

Marvin Winstead, Nash County resident and farmer, points out to the spot where ACP will cut through community streams.

The FrackFreeNC Alliance will be posting weekly summaries of pipeline construction throughout the eight North Carolina to help inform communities on construction timelines, construction violations, and what to expect in their backyards in the coming weeks. Visit ACP Weekly Reports page

Dec. 1, Tar River Flotilla to Stop the ACP in Nash County!

ACP builders are drilling underneath the Tar River, and this is a chance for activists to show your resistance!  There will be a flotilla of canoes and small boats starting at 1:30 PM and floating past the drilling site to a takeout about 2 miles downstream. For those who do not wish to be in boats, there will be plenty of banners, signs, etc. for use on the ground outside the pipeline corridor! We will stay outside the ACP corridor and will NOT BE RISKING ARREST DURING THIS ACTION!

Please fill out the entire Registration Form, including the Waiver of Liability if you are planning to participate either on the river or on land. Hosting organizations will take reasonable precautions to assure the safety of participants in this event. 

Contact event coordinators if you have further questions or would like to help with planning!

Hope Taylor (Promotions team), hope@cwfnc.org
Lib Hutchby (Visuals team), libhutchby5@gmail.com
Marvin Winstead (Canoe/Smal Boats team), marvinwinstead@gmail.com
John Wagner (Canoe/Smal Boats team), john_wagner@sarbo.net

Remember, you must fill out both the Registration Form and the Waiver of Liability to participate in the event on water OR land!

NC Politicians on the Take from ACP Corporate Partners

While influence is a tricky thing to measure, the regular pumping of donations to state and federal legislators and other elected officials by the fossil fuel industry is a majorobstacle to a clean energy transition. And here in North Carolina, one doesn’t have to look farther than the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) as a prime example.

Demand for natural gas is flat or declining. It is entirely possible to meet all our energy needs in NC through renewable  power, such as solar and wind. Not to mention the hype of job creation from the project is gross exaggeration, as only 18 permanent jobs in NC would be created! Why, then, did at least 20 NC Representatives and both Governors McCrory and Cooper roll out the red carpet for Duke and Dominion’s fracked gas pipeline? A quick search on the NC State Board of Elections website provides an answer.

As far back as 2013, Duke and Dominion began lining the pockets of NC legislators representing the counties in the path of the proposed pipeline route with thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Governor Cooper, who celebrated the permit giving the go-ahead for pipeline construction with a message about economic development, was receiving campaign funding from Dominion in November of 2013, long before the gubernatorial election!

Senator Angela Bryant, who represented three of the ACP-impacted counties up until her resignation, also had received contributions in the thousands from both Duke and Dominion back in 2013, and Representative Garland Pierce for Robeson County has accumulated a whopping $13,100 from both companies dating back to this time.

You can literally take a pen to a map and trace substantial campaign contributions from Duke and Dominion down the path of the eight ACP- impacted counties: Sen. Erica Smith in Northampton, Rep. Jeff Collins in Nash, Rep.  Jean-Farmer Butterfield in Wilson, Rep. Susan Martin in Wilson, Rep. Ken Goodman and Rep. Brenden Jones in Robeson, and many others – have all been buttered up by campaign contributions from builders of the Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipeline, putting their campaign war chests  before the welfare of their own communities and the environment!

Clean Water for NC advocates for state representatives to prioritize the community health, climate, justice and democracy over fossil fuel industry profits, and calls on current candidates to refuse any contributions from oil, gas, and coal industries.

If you want to check if fossil fuel money is going into your representatives’ pockets, you can follow Democracy NC’s easy step-by-step guide to reviewing campaign finance reports. Happy hunting!

“Best in Class” Pipeline Explodes 5 months after installation

(Read Clean Water for NC’s “High Consequence Areas, Blast Zones and Public Safety Along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline” Report)

At 4:20 AM on June 7, a pipeline rupture was reported in Marshall County, West Virginia. “This is truly a best-in-class pipeline and we look forward to many years of safe, reliable and efficient operation.” These were the words used by TransCanada’s president back in January to describe the Leach Xpress pipeline that sent fireballs into the sky early Thursday morning. The fracked gas pipeline installed just five months ago is part of the larger Columbia Gas Transmission network spanning over 10,000 miles throughout Appalachia. While the explosion occurred in the remote area of Nixon Ridge, this area is only 8 miles from Moundsville, a city with a population of about 9,000 and part of the larger Wheeling metropolitan area.

While an investigation is currently underway, this explosion provides an all too real look into pipeline disasters we could face here in North Carolina. Strikingly, the Leach Xpress Pipeline and ACP have exactly the same diameter and operating pressures, and both transport highly explosive fracked gas throughout Appalachia. Even more unsettling, the ACP will be regulated by the same government agency, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in charge of regulating safety measures for the Leach XPress, and has been under fire for lax pipeline inspections in recent years. Former TransCanada materials engineer-turned whistleblower, Evan Vokes, has been very critical of PHMSA inspection standards, stating “PHMSA regulators did nothing to stop TransCanada from building a pipeline that was bound to fail,” remarking of the Keystone pipeline spill back in 2017.

Thousands and thousands of miles of fracked gas pipelines weave throughout West Virginia and the region is very familiar with explosions. Remarking on the Leach Xpress rupture, residents in the area shrugged the event off, with one man stating to a news reporter, “It’s getting to where you look around and it’s like, there goes another one.”

Opening up the floodgates to networks of fracked gas pipelines in North Carolina puts countless communities at risk of explosions and leaks. By approving the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, our state governing bodies have created a situation where children growing up in North Carolina could think of exploding gas pipelines as “normal”, waking up in the middle of the night saying, “Look, mom, there goes another one.”

Concerned Stewards of Halifax County, Nash Stop the Pipeline, Wilson County No Pipeline, No Pipeline Johnston County, Cumberland County Caring Voices, EcoRobeson, Concerned Citizens of Tillery, Concerned Citizens of Northampton County, NC Environmental Justice Network, Friends of the Earth, Clean Water for NC, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, NC WARN

 

NEWS RELEASE                                                       CONTACTS LISTED AT THE END

May 15, 2018

ACP Neighbors file Federal Complaint against NC DEQ for Environmental Justice Violations

Groups say approval of Atlantic Coast Pipeline cheated vulnerable residents out of federal civil rights protections for low-income communities and people of color

Durham, N.C. – An alliance of community, statewide and national groups today filed a federal complaint seeking to stop a hotly contested pipeline that would pump so-called natural gas from Appalachian fracking fields into and across North Carolina.  The complaint alleges that Gov. Roy Cooper and several state agencies cheated communities along the proposed pipeline route by skirting requirements designed to ensure that such projects don’t target areas deemed to lack political power due to their racial and economic makeup.

Filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Civil Rights Compliance Office, the complaint calls on the EPA to require three state agencies to overturn the permits granted for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), to require a new environmental justice analysis that adheres to federal law and to conduct a public hearing in eastern North Carolina.  (See attachments here)

The alliance includes community groups from seven of the counties through which the 36-inch, high-pressure pipeline would travel in North Carolina.  The $6 billion project is in the early stages of construction by Duke Energy and Dominion Power and was expected to primarily serve power plants in North Carolina and Virginia, though electricity demand is expected to remain flat for many years.

Robie Goins of EcoRobeson, whose Lumbee family land is being impacted by the pipeline, said today: “Our people live off of the resources that our ancestors fought so hard to protect.  Companies like Duke Energy and Dominion once again are considering those families sacrificial.  It’s time this stops and it’s time to allow the families who are affected the chance to determine what their communities need, instead of outside corporations intruding and deciding that for them.”

The groups say federal and state agencies discriminated on the basis of race and color because they failed to assess the disproportionate impacts of the proposed ACP on communities of color as required under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  They allege that the agencies failed to assess the environmental and health impacts on families and communities along the route caused by construction and operation of the pipeline and its cumulative impacts such as climate extremes that are already impacting the region and are being made worse by the increased use of fracked gas.

Attorneys for the groups say both state and federal regulators paid only passing attention to Title VI when approving the ACP.  The civil rights division was created after analysis showed that, for years, polluters in North Carolina and other states targeted low-income communities and people of color for noxious facilities because they were seen as lacking the political power to stop such projects.

Belinda Joyner, President of Concerned Citizens of Northampton County, said today: “This pipeline will benefit us in no shape, form or fashion.  The economic development types don’t mind harming us, but if a pipeline were planned close to their homes, they’d say it would bring their property value down.  Well, for people of color in sacrifice zones, not only will it bring our property value down, it will kill us at the same time. But do they care?”

In the complaint, NC WARN attorney John Runkle described the curious way federal regulators measured potential ACP impacts on local residents: comparing the incomes of residents close to the pipeline with statewide incomes, while only comparing racial characteristics of residents close to the pipeline with the county in which the project is located.  He noted that the FERC analysis masked large disproportionate impacts on communities of color, particularly Native American and African-American populations along the route.

Valerie Williams, a member of Concerned Stewards of Halifax County and an African American landowner in Halifax County, said: “The land is our family tree and it speaks of legacies, heritage, and memories. No one would take that away from us.”  She resolves, “No pipelines on our valuable historic farms. No Intruders on our land.”

The complaint cites a recent study by the Research Triangle Institute that demonstrates the failure of the federal analysis – which was adopted by the state agencies – along with the ACP’s impacts on communities of color.  RTI concludes, “The counties crossed by proposed ACP route collectively have a significantly higher percentage minority population than the rest of the counties in the state.”

A 2017 analysis by an NC State University professor determined that the agencies failed to acknowledge disproportionately large Native American populations living along the proposed pipeline route, noting that in North Carolina alone, some 30,000 Native Americans live in census tracts that FERC considers to be part of the project area.  Compared to their statewide numbers, the analysis also found that Native Americans are over-represented by a factor of ten along the North Carolina section of the pipeline route.

Compounding the failure to perform a rigorous environmental justice analysis, the regulators refused formal consultation with the tribal governments along the route, according to the complaint.

Naemma Muhammad, co-director of the NC Environmental Justice Network, added: “How many more Title VI Complaints have to be filed before our government takes seriously the concerns of the communities, and is honest and comprehensive about environmental impact statements.  These poor communities of color face an enormously disproportionate burden of a wide range of impacts.”

Gov. Cooper has been criticized from across the political spectrum for announcing – just as a critical state water permit was issued – a deal whereby the ACP owners put up $58 million for mitigation, clean energy projects and economic development.  This raised questions about whether state agencies had completed their review of water and economic development impacts, especially because Duke and Dominion were openly pressing the Governor and NC DEQ for final approvals.

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CONTACTS:

  • Attorney John Runkle 919-942-0600
  • Robie Goins, EcoRobeson and member of impacted Lumbee family 910-734-2814
  • Belinda Joyner, Concerned Citizens of Northampton County (contact via Hope 919-401-9600)
  • Hope Taylor, Clean Water for NC  919-401-9600
  • Therese Vick, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League 919-345-3673