Take Action on Fracking in NC!




Frack Free NC yard sign 2016
Yard signs of this image against fracking and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in NC are now available! Please call ahead to arrange a pickup from Clean Water for NC's Durham (919-401-9600) or Asheville (828-251-1291) office.

All I Want for Christmas is No ACP
Tell Governor Cooper – NO ACP for the Holidays!
Soon, our North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality will be making its final decision on a major permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
We need your help to send a message to the Governor and officials in Raleigh that North Carolina doesn’t want or need this pipeline.
Help us flood the Governor’s office with Holiday-themed NO ACP postcards. Pick your favorite design at the link here and send a postcard to the Governor. You can download and print at home, or we can send one on your behalf!

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...

Sign the petition to keep NC frack-free!

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New Impetus For Action to Protect Communities from Fracking

On April 17, Mark Martinez and his brother-in-law Joey Irwin went down to the basement to replace a water heater in Martinez’s home in Firestone, Colorado, a fast-growing bedroom community 25 miles north of Denver. Moments later, a fiery explosion destroyed the house and shook the neighborhood. Both men were killed. Erin Martinez, Mark’s wife, and their son survived.

Now, following a two-week investigation, the local fire department has linked the blast to a recently restarted gas well, drilled in 1993 and located just 178 feet behind the house and operated by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. A department statement said gas entered the house from a cut, abandoned flowline still connected to the well.

After the announcement, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered statewide inspections and integrity tests of all oil and gas flowlines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings within 60 days. At a press conference, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Director Matt Lepore said, “We want a hard look at all of this going forward.”

The fatal explosion has reignited the fierce debate over the pace and proximity of oil and gas development along Colorado’s Front Range, where booming energy fields have collided with a rapidly growing urban corridor. For years, environmentalists and community activists have furiously pushed to limit drilling near suburban Front Range communities, while the state government and industry leaders have resisted tougher restrictions.

“I’ve been warning the state this was going to happen for years now,” says Shane Davis, a Boulder-based environmentalist who monitors state oil and gas data. Davis, nicknamed “the Fractivist,” gave a 2012 presentation to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission arguing that state rules that determine safe distances between development and communities were inadequate to protect people from chemical fumes, wastewater spills or gas leaks. A year later, the commission decided to only modestly increase those setbacks. That and its lax monitoring of wells and pipelines are proof to Davis and others that regulators have downplayed risks—now with deadly results.

Nearly half of Colorado’s 54,000 active oil and gas wells are in Weld County, which includes Firestone and is one of the nation’s fastest growing counties. Wells number in the hundreds in neighboring Boulder and Adams counties, but drilling has expanded there in recent years as fracking technology and newer horizontal drilling techniques have made it possible to tap new reserves.

The rise in drill rigs, truck traffic, and well pads in suburban communities — some operations just a few hundred feet from houses, schools, churches and playgrounds — sparked a backlash. Since 2012, several towns and counties have passed short-term moratoriums suspending drilling or fracking. Two cities attempted to ban fracking altogether, but industry lawsuits successfully struck down both bans for overstepping local authority. In 2014 and 2016, citizens’ groups even tried to force a statewide ballot initiative to outlaw fracking across the state.

In response, the Oil and Gas Commission reevaluated its rule that new wells in urban areas must be at least 350 feet from homes. Davis suggested a 2,500-foot setback. “I think increased threats of danger warranted increased safety precautions,” he explains. But the state’s revised rules in 2013 only marginally expanded urban setbacks to 500 feet from homes, and 1,000 feet from hospitals and schools.

And those setbacks don’t apply when new houses encroach on existing oil and gas wells, creating a regulatory gap. Such “reverse setback” rules are instead determined by local governments and are generally less restrictive.

So while oil and gas companies must comply with the 500 and 1,000-foot setbacks, developers in Weld County can build homes just 150 feet from existing wells. That’s how the Martinez home, built 18 months ago, ended up so close to the Anadarko well.

“The industry’s in a bind right now,” Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer told me in 2013. “If I was the industry, I would probably get to the point where I would be exasperated with the fact that I have to be back 500 feet but (real-estate developers) don’t.”

Kirkmeyer and her fellow commissioners opposed even the minor 2013 setback changes, saying there was no evidence that greater distances would do more to protect public health and safety. This spring, Kirkmeyer also testified against state legislation that would have further extended setbacks from schools, helping to defeat the bill.

Industry proponents point out that Colorado already has some of the country’s toughest restrictions on oil and gas development. Stricter setbacks—like Davis’ 2,500-foot proposal—are unwarranted, they have argued, and could effectively shut down drilling, costing Colorado hundreds of millions in lost tax dollars.

Now, those arguments and other state regulations are being called into question.

For instance, many flowlines, like the one linked to the explosion, are exempt from inspections and integrity tests if they operate at lower pressures. But those lines, which connect wells to production facilities, are sometimes just an inch in diameter and often made of plastic; they can crack due to weather or human disturbance. In Firestone, the deadly flowline was accidentally cut when an oil tank battery was relocated before the new subdivision was built.

Exempting such lines from inspections allows tens of thousands of miles of underground lines to go unmonitored, says Davis. “The reason for the flowline pressure-testing exemptions is it’s just too difficult, time-consuming and costly to the state and industry,” he adds. The oil and gas commission’s roughly 20 field inspectors could hardly tackle the job.

It’s also unclear if the commission is completing other required inspections. State rules mandate that any well that is turned off for two years must undergo what’s known as a “mechanical integrity test” since built-up pressure can cause leaks in protective well casings. But after reviewing state data, Davis says those tests were never done on at least one of Anadarko’s idle wells near Firestone even after the two-year deadline. (According to the Denver Post, the specific well implicated in the home explosion, however, had only been idle since 2016.)

Spotty oversight is especially troublesome when dealing with older wells and infrastructure, says Wes Wilson, a one-time Environmental Protection Agency scientist turned whistleblower who now serves as the science advisor for the Colorado-based progressive group Be The Change. Despite many activists’ focus on newer, fracked wells, nearly 90 percent of Colorado’s active wells were drilled years ago, and there are another 36,000 abandoned or inactive wells that are scarcely monitored. According to research by Cornell University’s Anthony Ingraffea, roughly 60 percent of well casings fail after 25 years. (Industry disputes this figure.) Yet past state reviews to update policy, such as a 2014 task force, have failed to address either the consistency of inspections, or reverse setbacks. “The big story is we don’t trust the oil and gas commission,” says Wilson.

Prior to the announcement of the findings from Firestone, Adams County commissioners had already asked all companies to halt production at wells within 250 feet of occupied buildings. Boulder County commissioners, who are considering how and if to extend a 5-year oil and gas moratorium that expired this month, are pushing for inspections of all of its 300 older wells. Now, governments may step up their demands and reconsider tougher local rules. The Colorado Sierra Club is calling for a halt to new oil and gas drilling, while Davis has started a petition to shut down all active wells in residential areas across the state.

In a statement, Dan Haley, CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, a trade group, said the association “supports the state’s call to inspect flowlines and ensure the safety of all Coloradans.” He also referred to the cut flowline as “an unusual set of events.”

Anadarko also pledged to cooperate with the oil and gas commission and investigators. Even before authorities linked its well to the explosion, the company turned off all 3,000-plus of its older wells across northeast Colorado. “We hope that doing so also provided some additional reassurance to the community in the wake of this tragic accident,” Al Walker, Anadarko CEO and president, said in a statement.

“The reason Anadarko shut down their wells is out of an abundance of fear,” Davis says. “We should never wait for an accident to happen and then try to fix it. That’s reckless.”

*Article published by High Country News by Joshua Zaffos

FrackFreeNC Sends Governor, DEQ Secretary Letter on Major ACP Concerns!

Last Friday, FrackFreeNC Allies sent a letter summarizing our many concerns about the serious economic, social justice, safety and environmental problems of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Below is a summary of the letter. Click to read the full letter.

To join the movement to stop the ACP contact info@frackfreenc.org 

Dear Governor Roy Cooper and DEQ Secretary Michael Regan:

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is Unneeded, Costly, Dangerous and Unjust for NC

1. The ACP is not needed for residential and economic development needs and increases our climate vulnerability.
2. The ACP will actually increase costs for NC electric ratepayers, by paying for construction and rising fuel costs.
3. Pipelines will be even LESS needed in the long term because renewables (wind and solar), are the largest new source of energy generation.
4. The ACP’s claim of many new jobs to be created by the ACP is a gross exaggeration. Construction jobs would only be several hundred in NC, lasting for a few months.  Only 18 permanent jobs would be created in NC!
5. Low income and people of color communities and landowners would be disproportionately impacted.
6. The pipeline would bring with it the risk of leakage, fire and explosions, additional expenses to local governments, and impacts to groundwater and private wells.
7. Critical natural resources, unique to North Carolina, would be substantially impacted, including major rivers, hundreds of tributaries, unique wetlands, groundwater, as well as air quality and landscapes.

Thanks for your Comments to FERC! NC Legislative leadership supports ACP

Thanks to all of you who submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about the deeply flawed Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  You have helped us find many, many reasons why this pipeline should never be built!!

Unfortunately, despite efforts by several NC advocacy groups and the Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance to wake up the NC, VA and WV legislative leadership, all signed onto Dominion’s letter supporting the ACP.

NC legislators signing the letter,  included:
Rep. Timothy Moore, Speaker of the House; Sen. Phil Berger, Senate President Pro Tempore; Sen. Daniel Blue, Jr., Senate Minority Leader; and Rep. John Bell, IV, House Majority Leader.  Rep. Ken Goodman, who represents Robeson County along the ACP corridor has investments of over $10,000 in ACP co-owner Duke Energy.

ONE MORE DAY TO COMMENT ON ACP!

ONLY ONE MORE DAY to send ACP DEIS Comments to FERC!

Please note corrected Docket Number,  CP15-554-000

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s impacts on eastern NC and global climate impacts, will be substantial, but FERC officials are claiming there will be “no significant impacts.” YOUR comments are important to let them know the public sees the truth.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which grants the final certification for gas pipelines, needs to have YOUR comments by the deadline April 6th on the deeply flawed ACP Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS-click here for full document)!

Here’s are some of the worst problems with the DEIS: Impacts on communities of color and low income communities are claimed to be insignificant. Promised jobs and economic benefits are exaggerated. There’s extremely poor assessment or missing information on environmental, climate, cumulative impacts and safety risks (see more detail in the links below).

When you write your comments in your own words, be SURE to point out that this pipeline is simply NOT needed for economic development, according to a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, and will contribute substantially to climate change. Another recent study concludes that releases of unburned natural gas from gas fired power plants may be 2 to 120 times higher than previously reported to EPA!   And THAT’S where most of the gas flowing through the ACP would go—to Duke’s and Dominion’s gas fired power plants!

Please use the links below to help you draft comments IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Instructions for submitting them are below the links. THANK YOU FOR TAKING ACTION!!

Socioeconomic Issues and Environmental Justice
Safety Issues in DEIS
Groundwater Resources
Surface Water and Wetlands
Compressor Stations and Air Quality

How to Submit Your Comments on ACP DEIS to FERC by express mail or by e-comment.

By mail: (FERC recommends you send hard copy comments by overnight express, to prevent long delays while checking your letter for anthrax!)

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20426      BE SURE TO SPECIFY DOCKET NUMBER CP15-554-000

To file your comments electronically: 
Select the points about which you are the most concerned and write them in your own words into a text file such as WORD. Go to https://ferconline.ferc.gov/QuickComment.aspx to fill out the required short comment registration form.

You will then be sent a link from FERC to submit your e-comment. Click on that link, and be sure to enter the Docket number CP15-554-000. Copy and paste your comments from your text file, up to 6,000 characters, into the comment form by Thursday, April 6 and submit! You can comment more than once if your comments are longer or if you wish to add to them.

Walk to Protect Our People and the Places we Live (APPPL)

Join us this Saturday at 11:00 am for the kickoff of the “Walk to Protect Our People and the Places we Live,” a walk to raise awareness about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Sign up for the Walk here and for more information from APPPL here.

Come hear the struggles of landowners along the proposed route of the ACP, meet local allies, and hear music from Lumbee/Tuscarora singer Charly Lowry.

Meet organizers at least an hour in advance at The Franklinton Center (281 Soundbend Lane, Whitakers) to park, and to catch a free shuttle to the opening ceremony. More info coming soon on other parking options!

This Walk will continue through March 19th in Northampton, Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland, Robeson, Scotland, and Richmond Counties. Folks can participate in the Walk on any day/location.

Water, snacks and shuttles will be provided during the entire length of the Walk.​

APPPL Websitehttps://2017acpwalk.org/

Register for Walk herehttps://2017acpwalk.org/register/

Don’t miss a chance to Speak Out on Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Feb 13, 14, 15!!

FERC Seeks Comments on Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Attend People’s Hearings nearby—learn more about the ACP and help prepare for official comments!

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s long permitting process continues, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which makes the final certification decision for gas pipelines,  released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement on December 30th. There are MAJOR problems with the long DEIS (click here)!  There’s missing information, serious oversimplifications, poor analysis and startlingly overoptimistic economic and environmental assumptions.

Several local and statewide organizations concerned about the ACP invite you to join us at informal People’s Hearings close to the locations of the official FERC “listening sessions” for brief oral comments.   You can either go first to the FERC listen session closest to you, and then go to the People’s Hearing to get more information and connect with others concerned about the ACP, or you can go first to a People’s Hearing to help prepare your comments.   It’s totally up to you.

 

The locations for next week’s FERC sessions and People’s Hearings:

Feb 13th, Fayetteville

5:00-9:00PM   FERC Drop- in Comment Session:  DoubleTree Hotel,1965 Cedar Creek Rd.

People’s Hearing: 6:00 PM Rodeway Inn, 1957 Cedar Creek Rd.

 

Feb 14th, Wilson

5:00-9:00PM  FERC Drop- in Comment Session: Forest Hills Middle School 1210 Forest Hill Rd.

People’s Hearing: School cafeteria. Marvin: 252-478-5442 for info.

 

Feb 15th, Roanoke Rapids

5:00-9:00 PM FERC Drop- in Comment Session: Hilton Garden Inn, 111 Carolina Crossroads Pkwy.

People’s Hearing: 5:30 Mystique Events Ctr, 1652  NC Hwy. 125

Call Belinda, 252-537-1078, or Hope@CWFNC.org for more info.

 

Here are some examples of key problems with the DEIS for you to consider commenting on:

Socioeconomic Issues and Environmental Justice

Brief Comments on Groundwater Resources Section 4.3.1

Surface Water Wetlands Summary of Problems

Summary Comments on Compressor Stations and Air Quality

Summary Comments on Inadequate Assessment of Safety Issues in DEIS

Walk to Protect our People & Places we Love, Atlantic Coast Pipeline Route, March 4-19

We hope that you will join us March 4-19 for a Walk to raise awareness about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a highly pressurized natural gas pipeline slated to run through 8 of NC’s most poor & diverse communities.

The Walk will begin in Northampton County, travel through Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland and Robeson Counties (the terminus of the ACP is in Prospect, NC). The Walk will then continue on through Scotland and Richmond Counties, where an extension of the ACP will go through.

You can join the Walk in any county, and walk for as long as you like. Educational events, ceremonies, cultural events etc will take place in each county the Walk goes through.

RSVP on the website here. Join on Facebook here.

The NC Alliance to Stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline invites you to walk with us!

STOP THE  ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE

Residents all along the proposed NC corridor for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, from Northampton to Robeson Counties, are speaking out and showing up to express their concerns for water, safety, health and loss of control of their land. While economic development has been touted by Dominion and the pipeline proponents, only 18 permanent jobs will be created in NC, and none of the gas will be accessible for residential or small business use. Utility customers would end up paying the $5 Billion pricetag even if the pipeline doesn’t operate for long, and low income and people of color communities will be disproportionately impacted.  Renewable energy and efficiency are more cost-effective and won’t exacerbate climate change as would a natural gas pipeline, through leaks and routine releases.

NOVEMBER 19Three “Walks To Protect Our Peoples & The Places We Live”:

CUMBERLAND COUNTY WALK

Sponsored by Cumberland County Caring Voices

9:30 AM Meet in front of Cape Fear Regional Theater in Fayetteville. 1209 Hay St.

March 1 mile down Hay Street to Market House for rally and speak out. Ending

about noon. Snacks & water will be available.

For more info, contact Denise Bruce, 910-726-5745, greenaction@sustainablesandhills.org

Mary Walker, 910-584-4343 walkerm0185@yahoo.com

 

NASH COUNTY WALK

Sponsored by Nash Stop the Pipeline

10 AM, Meet at Ennis Recreation Park in Red Oak, on Hwy 43. (Take exit 141 east

from I-95; go 3 miles turn right into Park at 1st stop light.).

Walk is 9 miles and will end at Nash County Court House about 3 pm in Nashville,

NC with rally and speak out. Shuttles available to return participants to Red Oak.

Snacks & water will be available.

For info, contact Marvin Winstead, 252-478-5442, marwinstead@gmail.com

 

ROBESON COUNTY PRAYER WALK

Sponsored by Eco-Robeson

1:30 PM; Meet at the Pembroke Town Park, 413 West Third Street in Pembroke

across from UNC Pembroke. 2 mile walk. Rally and prayer circle at corner of

Prospect Rd and Hwy 72 near the Gas Metering Station. Snacks & water available.

For more information contact Alisha Locklear 910-827-2528 lockleara@hotmail.com

Why is FrackFreeNC Involved in Preventing Unneeded, Risky Pipelines?

42-inch-pipeline“Fracking” in NC is now less of a threat, with natural gas prices too low for drillers to bother with NC’s meager natural gas reserves. However, the next wave of damage by the natural gas industry is the mad dash to build pipelines.   Given the many impacts gas pipeline projects can have on communities, with little or no jobs or other benefits to impacted residents, FrackFreeNC realized that we must share knowledge and prepare to challenge unneeded, risky gas pipelines.

What’s Driving the Pipeline Building Boom?
Initially, it appeared to make economic sense to build pipelines to carry gas from highly productive shale formations to areas with little or no gas availability. However, many of us are aware this would actually increase the fracking that has been so damaging to water, air and land in communities, especially in West Virginia. The current plans for gas pipelines far outstrip the need for gas supplies in many areas, and probably even exceed the supply that would be available from shale formations in the coming years! Along with fracking itself, pipeline leaks are a major source of methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas, and have accelerated climate change.

So, why build? It turns out that pipeline companies, such as Piedmont Natural Gas, PSNC and Dominion Energy see this as a very secure source of profits. Electric utilities like Duke Energy and Dominion are joining the party. When the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approves projects, pipeline and utility companies can receive as high as a 14% rate of return (profit) on their pipelines, recovering construction costs PLUS profit from their ratepayers! FERC doesn’t do detailed reviews of the long term need for a pipeline or supply, so approvals can force ratepayers to pay for construction costs and profit, even if the pipeline isn’t needed!


1410822833-pipelineroute-640x360The ACP—A Pipeline That’s Costly, Unneeded and Dangerous

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 42 inch, highly pressurized pipeline starting at the southern end of the Marcellus shale in West Virginia, would take gas extracted in severely impacted communities and move it through VA and 8 counties in NC, ending near Lumberton. Only 18 permanent jobs would be created, only large industries would be able to tap in to the pipeline, and there probably wouldn’t be enough gas to fill planned pipelines anyway.

Recent studies have shown that: 1) it’s utility customers who would pay the $5 Billion cost of construction even if the pipeline is under-utilized [insert link to Cathy Kunkel’s study)
2) there’s simply no need for more gas pipelines to the southeast US![insert link to the Synapse Study]
3) recent, hastily built pipelines have more failures than any pipelines built since before 1940!

Get involved, to protect communities, landowners, utility ratepayers, and the environment!

Sept. 17: Standing up for Safe Energy Jobs & Water Justice

Clean Water for North Carolina invites Frack Free NC allies and activists to the organization’s Annual Public meeting with featured speakers on gas pipelines, fracking, methane, coal ash and climate. This event is at the Statesville Civic Center from 1:30 – 5:00 pm. Admission is free for current members and students, and $25 for new members. You can register here.

Program:

sue-lisa-together-for-web

Sue Fife (left) and Lisa Hughes, Person County residents

1:30—Welcome (Andrea Emanuel, Vice Chair, Clean Water for NC Board of Directors & Hope Taylor, Executive Director)

1:40-2:45—Communities Protecting their Health and Water from Coal Ash Contamination

Striving for Coal Ash Justice in the Shadow of the Roxboro Power Plant (Lisa Hughes & Sue Fife, Person County residents)

larry-roger-photo-for-web

Larry Aiken (left) and Roger Hollis, Cleveland County

The forgotten part of Cleveland County’s fight for clean water and energy (Roger Hollis & Larry Aiken, Cleveland County residents)

NC coal ash disposal, and reuse: Parts of the solution? (Xavier Boatright, CWFNC)

The fight to save public “health advisories” for well water in NC (Katie Hicks, CWFNC)

2:45-3:15—Break with refreshments

3:15-5:00 Energy Justice, Climate, and Retooling NC’s Energy Future

nancy-laplaca-phoenix-sun-photo

Nancy LaPlaca

What’s Happened with Fracking in NC, and Why the Rush to Build Gas Pipelines? (Hope Taylor, CWFNC)

The Atlantic Coast Gas Pipeline and NC’s Indigenous and African American communities (Ericka Faircloth, CWFNC)

Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire: Why Turning from Coal to Fracked Gas is a Terrible Idea (Nancy LaPlaca, Senior Energy Analyst, NC WARN & The Climate Times)

Redesigning NC’s Energy Future for Jobs, Water and Economic Justice: What Renewables and Energy Efficiency Can Do (Hope Taylor, CWFNC)

Thanks and farewell (Nydia Morales, Secretary, CWFNC Board of Directors and Katie Hicks, Associate Director)