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Comment to Division of Air Quality on the Northampton County Compressor Station Permit

Below is a comment made to the NC Division of Air Quality on November 15th in Garysburg NC on the Northampton County Compressor Station

Good evening, I am Ericka Faircloth of Clean Water for North Carolina, and also a founder of
EcoRobeson, and I thank you for the opportunity to make these comments on a major new
threat to Northampton County.

As required by NC DEQ’s long standing Environmental Equity Policy and its obligations under
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, DEQ must consider the project’s disproportionate
environmental harms to minority and low income communities. NC is 22% African American,
however this compressor station is within a census block group where 79.2% of the population
is African American. This to me is a big red flag; this compressor station and Atlantic Coast
Pipeline are environmental justice issues.

From conducting door-to- door outreach in the Town of Garysburg, and near the compressor
station, we found that most residents were not aware of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline
or the compressor station. Also, from conducting outreach within a half a mile of the ACP route
in Wilson, Sampson, Cumberland and Robeson Counties, I found that residents were mostly
unaware of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project and its close proximity to their homes. Many of
these residents closest to the ACP and compressor station have not been notified about this
project and that’s unacceptable!

For those who wish to cite economic development, my family lives in Robeson County, one of
the poorest regions in the country, and we already have 2 existing natural gas pipelines. But
where are the jobs? Where is the economic boom? There isn’t any, it doesn’t exist, and there’s
no reason to expect any jobs or economic development from the ACP.

Energy demand in NC has been flat for years, that’s a fact, and it is projected to be flat for years
to come. The natural gas we need can come from the existing Transco pipeline. This huge new
pipeline is not needed, which means this compressor station is not needed. These projects pose
a completely unnecessary risk to public health and safety.

PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) documents show that
pipelines built since 2010 fail more than pipelines build before the 1940’s. Why is that? It’s
because of the guaranteed 14% rate of return offered by FERC. There has been a rush to build
pipelines since 2010 because companies know they can make huge profits from them. It’s not
about need or public benefits– it’s about money.

DAQ, please deny this permit.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline–NC Can Stop it!

November 9th, 2017

Even before FERC’s “conditional approval” of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Oct. 13, NC’s Dept. of Environmental Quality was requesting lots more information from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline about how they would protect NC water quality, and actually disapproving ACP’s application for an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan.

The ACP is NOT a “done deal”–YOU can make a difference! By thanking key NC regulators for their rigorous review of the ACP applications and encouraging them to disapprove these permits, you’ll let them know the public is watching.

Come to the  “All I Want for Christmas is NO ACP” Rally on Monday, November 13th  12:00 PM in front of the Dept of Admininistration Bldg, 116 W. Jones St.and let DEQ that we expect them to do the right thing!

WV compressor station located near where ACP would start

November 15th is the Air Quality permit hearing for the huge compressor station planned for Northampton County!  This compressor station would release particulates, methane and toxic volatile organic compounds as well as bring high noise levels to nearby residents. The hearing will be on November 15th, at Garysburg Town Hall (504 Old Highway Road), and you can send comments to publiccomments@ncdenr.gov until Nov. 20th. For more information on the hearing, check here. Facebook event page hereFor key concerns and talking points on the permit click here.


Presentations from the Regional Summit on ACP Impacts

Cathy Kunkel

Energy Analyst, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

Do we need it? Economics of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline





Marvin Winstead

Nash County Landowner with Nash Stop the Pipeline

ACP Impacts on Landowners and Actions to Prevent Eminent Domain Abuse




Jorden Revels

UNC-Pembroke Student, EcoRobeson

Ericka Faircloth

Clean Water for NC, EcoRobeson

ACP Impacts on Native Ancestral Lands



Therese Vick

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League

Health and Safety Impacts of Natural Gas Compressor Stations




Oshin Paranjape

Duke University Collaborator

High Consequence Areas, Blast Zones, and Public Safety along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Video presentation (no slides embedded).



John Runkle

Environmental Attorney

It Ain’t Over til’ it’s Over — Legal Challenges to FERC & DEQ Decisions





Xavier Boatwright, Hope Taylor

Clean Water for NC

Rising Up for a Just Energy and Climate Future in NC





Updated: High Consequence Areas, Blast Zones, Public Safety along the ACP

Click here to read Clean Water for North Carolina’s new report, “High Consequence Areas, Blast Zones, and Public Safety along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline!”, now with important updates! The report explains the 900+ foot “Blast Zone” along the ACP route and displays maps of the 24 “High Consequence Areas” in Northampton, Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Cumberland and Robeson Counties, and how they endanger residents close to the pipeline.

October 7: Regional Summit on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Clean Water for NC’s Regional Summit on the Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline:

Preventing Harms to Eastern NC’s Water, Air, Communities and Environmental Justice

Saturday, October 7, 1:30 – 5:00 PM, Light Refreshments
Wilson Community College, Del Mastro Auditorium
902 Herring Ave E, Wilson, NC
Advance registration required!

Register here by Oct. 4 at 6PM!

$5 CWFNC Members/Students/NCEJN Partners
(Enter NCEJN in “organization” field if applicable, for discount)

$25 Non CWFNC Members (Includes one year membership)

FREE for residents in counties along the proposed pipeline route, thanks to generous donations to cover these costs! Residents of Northampton, Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland or Robeson County still need to register in advance but can select the free ticket option. If you wish to register by phone, please call (919) 401-9600.

Presentations include:

Cathy Kunkel

Cathy Kunkel

  • Cathy Kunkel: Energy Analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, lead author of 2016 report on overbuilding of unneeded gas pipelines and the impacts on communities and utility ratepayers.
  • John Runkle: Environmental Attorney, will discuss the recent circuit court decision requiring to evaluate climate impacts, and the implications for the ACP.
  • Landowners from NC: How the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is already impacting our lives and land.
  • Ericka Faircloth

    Ericka Faircloth

  • Native American Speakers: Eastern North Carolina’s Indigenous Groups and the damage to environmental rights, heritage lands and sacred sites.
  • Oshin Paranjape: Duke University, on the ACP “Blast Zone” and how it endangers residents close to the pipeline.
  • Therese Vick: Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, will speak on dangers and health impacts of proposed compressor station in Northampton County.

Oshin Paranjape

Oshin Paranjape

Questions? Contact (919) 401-9600 or hope@cwfnc.org

Who should attend: residents, local and state officials, scientists, non-profits and NC Enviornmental Justice Network partners from across the state concerned about the potential environmental, health and community consequences of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline!

**There will be NO admission at the door. Pre-registration ends October 4 at 6:00 pm. Register now!

New Report on Atlantic Coast Pipeline Blast Zones

Aug 15, Raleigh—Groups working closely with residents along the route for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) will speak about the dangers they will face if construction of the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline is allowed to go forward, as a new report from Clean Water for North Carolina is released. Speakers showed enlarged images of “High Consequence Areas” along the proposed route in their counties, and the extent of “blast zones” around them. Hundreds of landowners in the construction corridor, and at least 943 feet from the center of the pipeline, would be at risk of severe damage and injury or death in case of a pipeline leak, explosion or fire.

Hope Taylor of Clean Water for North Carolina presented the context for the report “High Consequence Areas, Blast Zones and Public Safety Along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” including images for a site in Northampton County, and implications for residents all along the pipeline. She and Ericka Faircloth will also talk about High Consequence Areas in Nash, Cumberland and Robeson Counties. Read the full report here.

High Consequence Area in Nash County

Image of blast and evacuation zones around a High Consequence Area in Nashville, Nash County, near where Governor Cooper grew up.

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League has sent a formal letter to the North Carolina State Firefighters’ Association regarding the challenges faced by First Responders in the mostly rural counties targeted by the ACP. Significant incidents, including explosions and fires are happening with increasing frequency on pipelines across the US, according to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Therese Vick presented the key concerns in the letter, which is available to read here.

Background Information on FERC’s Granting Dozens of Permits for Unneeded Pipelines!  Request DWR DENY the 401 Permit for the ACP!

In the past 30 years, FERC has granted “certificates” to all but two U.S. pipeline projects, with no credible assessment of actual need for the projects! The Commission can’t be relied upon to protect the health and environment of North Carolina. The Div. of Water Resources’ permit review must conscientiously require measures to protect the waters and existing uses of water resources.

Believing it will be impossible to construct the ACP without adverse impacts to streams, rivers, wetlands, groundwater, aquatic life, human health and Environmental Justice, we encourage you to conclude your comments by asking the Div. of Water Resources to deny the 401 permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Thanks for your concern and your action!

Residents Pack 401 Certification Hearings in Opposition ​to ACP

The 401 Certification Hearings for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline last week in Fayetteville and Rocky Mount drew big crowds, with about 80% of commenters speaking​ against the proposed project! The state’s 401 Certification plays a critical role in the pipeline permitting process–if it is denied, it has the potential to stop the proposed pipeline altogether.

The proposed route of the pipeline, if built, would plow through thriving farmland, private property and important bodies of water. The Buckhorn Reservoir is the primary source of drinking water for the city of Wilson and much of Wilson County. Any contaminants that get into the Reservoir or nearby Contentnea Creek from the building or operating of the pipeline would threaten the water source for the cities and towns downstream . “My family’s farm is in the direct path of this proposed pipeline. I’m opposed to this project for three reasons,” Barbara Exum of Wilson County said. “No. 1, it threatens our vital water resource. No. 2, it disproportionately affects people of color, and No. 3, this gas is simply not needed.”

The Cape Fear River has been a popular topic recently due to the GenX contamination occurring just south of Fayetteville. Just upstream of the contamination is where the pipeline is proposed to cross the River. Many families use the River as a source of sustenance fishing, recreation, and cultural purposes. If approved, the pipeline would be installed just under the river bed using horizontal drilling. Drilling fluids have the potential to contaminate the River and impact aquatic life.

The final decision on the 401 Certification is expected around mid-September. Heather Deck, the Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper says the Division of Water Resources doesn’t have sufficient information to sa​id​ that water quality standards will not be violated.  “If they make a decision now, they have to deny it.”

There’s still time to send in your comments on the 401! The deadline is 5:00 pm on August 19th. Here are some talking points to give you some ideas for your own comments!

Email your comments to publiccomments@ncdenr.gov (include “ACP” in subject line).

Or, mail your comments to
401 Permitting
1617 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC

ACP Water/Wetlands Hearings July 18, 20

The Upcoming “401” Permit Hearings–A Critical Opportunity to Protect NC Waters and Wetlands
(Possibly Even to Stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline)
Comment period goes through August 19th

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Public Hearings on Water Impacts

  • July 18th, Fayetteville, 6:00 pm, Fayetteville Tech Community College, 2201 Hull Road. Cumberland Auditorium. Signup begins at 5:00 pm.
  • July 20th, Rocky Mount, 6:00 pm, Nash Community College, 522 N. Old Carriage Road. Brown Auditorium. Signup begins at 5:00 pm.

Of all of the state permits that a gas pipeline must receive before a final “certification” can be granted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, none is more critical than the “401 Water Quality Certification.” This permit would certify that the NC Division of Water Resources believes that the permit, as written, will protect NC’s waters and wetlands, and the aquatic and human life that depend on them! After extensive review of large permit files, a collaborative team from several organizations has found major flaws in the draft permit.

Please speak out at one of the hearings above, or submit written comments by August 19, to prevent a permit that would let ACP degrade our resources and put Environmental Justice at risk! You do not have to live in the counties along the pipeline route to participate in this process.

Here are some talking points to give you some ideas for your own comments. Written comments may be sent to: 401 Permitting, 1617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC, 27699-1617, or emailed to PublicComments@ncdenr.gov (include “ACP” in the email’s subject line).

ACP: How Does a Costly, Risky, Unneeded Gas Pipeline Get So Much Support from Public Officials?

The answer:  Generous political donations to a wide swath of elected officials from both parties, and a suite of political lobbyists with extensive connections to power and pipeline investors!

In their recently released report, “The Power Behind the Pipelines: Atlantic Coast Pipeline”, the Public Accountability Initiative continues their series of critical analyses of the economic and political forces that push pipelines to get built, even without strong public support .

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is proposed by affiliates of the two most powerful corporations in Virginia (Dominion) and North Carolina (Duke Energy), both of which want to carry Marcellus shale gas from West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania to a number of new gas fired power plants they plan to build. The “rush to build” pipelines that has led to a five-fold increase in incidents in pipelines built since 2010. This is undoubtedly due to hasty construction as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission  (FERC) allows profit margins of 14 or 15% for pipeline builders, much higher than electric utilities can get by generating power alone!

Add to that picture the fact that the energy utilities would be buying the gas from their own pipeline affiliates, which are building the pipelines and shipping the gas.  Then there’s the “revolving door” between regulatory agencies and the pipeline builders. With rampant “self-dealing” and regulatory oversight gone amuck—that’s where we are today with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and others waiting for FERC approval.

Among the NC politicians who have taken major gifts from Duke Energy or Dominion are House Speaker Rep. Timothy K. Moore and Senate President Pro Tempore Rep. Phil Berger, both Republicans, also the Governors of both VA (McAuliffe) and NC (Cooper), both Democrats. A leading progressive Congressman, GK Butterfield, who represents four of the eight NC counties that would be impacted by the pipeline, has been lobbied by his former legislative aid, now working for the ACP, since 2014.

This pipeline will have massive impacts on water, air, land and communities, and they will disproportionately fall on people of color and low income in these mostly rural eastern NC counties.  The ACP has bought off local governments by promising big tax revenues, but those revenues will only arrive if the pipeline is in full operation, which seems unlikely– gas production and demand are likely to be SLOWING and the renewables industry is gaining ground over conventional fuels. The pipeline itself only offers 18 permanent jobs, a few hundred temporary construction jobs and essentially NO realistic economic development for the rural counties impacted—it would cost $$millions to tap into the ACP. Only Fayetteville and Rocky Mount may have enough capital to get any gas from the pipeline.

Time for everyone who cares about the people and land and water of eastern NC to step up!  Speak out to your local government, send letters to the editor, come to hearings on a massive water permit expected in late July, and support dozens of groups working across NC to oppose the ACP!  Stay tuned for talking points and announcements of opportunities to get involved!