Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Pipeline palooza!

This week and next, the VA Water Control Board is conducting its final review of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which transport natural gas from WV through VA and into NC.  While many experts agree that natural gas can serve as a "bridge fuel" as we move our economy toward reliance on renewable energy sources, there is much disagreement about the need for these two pipelines, their safety, and the effects on ratepayer fees and development of renewable energy sources in Virginia.  It's always good to take a look at what both sides are saying, so here's the rundown:

First, let's take a look at the procedure that DEQ has used for review of the project, with regard to water resources.

Next, let's review Dominion Power's Atlantic Coast Pipeline Factbook -- the main arguments are that the pipeline provides cleaner energy and lower costs.

Finally we'll look at the information that is presented by citizen groups, namely that the building of natural gas pipelines through Virginia will stall development of renewable energy sources, endanger water resources (think possible spills), destroy private and public lands including the George Washington National Forest , and raise energy prices for Virginians.  Here are summaries from the Sierra Club, and Wild Virginia.

Where do I come down on this issue? Although I understand the need for "bridge fuels", I also feel that we need to keep our eye on the ball -- 100% renewable energy should be our goal.  We should not be investing in infrastructure that will delay implementation of that goal.  Additionally, I'm not convinced that Virginia needs these pipelines -- Dominion has already stated that the two new natural gas generating stations in southern VA can be serviced by existing pipelines for the foreseeable future.  Combine these concerns with the possible environmental impacts outlined in the project's Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), and we have two projects that the VA Water Control Board should not approve.


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