Beautiful new brochure on the Rich Hole and Rough Mountain Wilderness Additions. Senator Tim Kaine introduced the Virginia Wilderness Additions Act of 2019 in January. We are hoping for passage of this bill this year, creating the largest Wilderness complex on the George Washington National Forest.
Here is some great information from our friends at the Southern Environmental Law Center.
The proposed route for Dominion’s 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been a mess from the beginning. It carves through family farms, steep mountain ridges, and public water supplies, and it is slated to cross the Appalachian Trail on U.S. Forest Service land, a move that federal judges say is not legal.
Rather than reconsider their poorly-planned project, Dominion is asking the U.S. Congress to change laws to make way for its unneeded gas pipeline.
Tell your senators and your representative in Congress that you oppose legislation that would change the rules to make way for Dominion’s unpopular, expensive, and destructive pipeline.
Thank you for taking action to protect the mountain streams, family farms, private property, water supplies, and Appalachian Trail that we all cherish.
What’s It About
Dominion is in trouble. It’s been five years since the company announced that it would build a high-pressure gas pipeline from West Virginia, across the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, into North Carolina. Today, the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is broadly unpopular, 50 percent over budget (now a shocking $7.5+ billion), and two years behind schedule.
In December 2018, a federal court in Richmond said that Dominion’s plan to cross the Appalachian Trail (AT) was not legal, and it overturned the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of the crossing. Dominion is calling on Congress to come to its rescue, asking senators and representatives to change the law and undo the court’s ruling.
This special treatment would undercut the regulatory process in two significant ways:
o ACP legislation would insert Congress into an ongoing process to the detriment of landowners, utility customers, and public lands users. ACP’s proposed route is still under review by agencies and courts, including separate cases challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s biological opinion and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s certificate. The outcome of this agency and judicial review could significantly change the route and even result in a fundamental rethinking of the entire project.
o Legislation would create the troubling precedent that pipeline developers could call on Congress to fix permitting problems for ill-conceived projects that run afoul of the law. And Congress doesn’t need to act. Despite the exaggerated claims from Dominion, oil and gas pipelines do not cross the AT on national forest lands. It simply has not been necessary. Dominion has other routing options which the Fourth Circuit found it failed to study.
The Forest Service permit allowing the AT crossing is one of seven permits that federal courts have overturned or put on hold, all because of Dominion’s careless route selection and rushed permitting. ACP’s proposed permanently cleared right-of-way, as wide as a seven-lane highway, will spoil scenic views from the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
And it’s increasingly clear that the pipeline is not needed to meet electricity and gas demand. In 2018, Virginia regulators found that Dominion already owns enough pipeline capacity to serve its existing power plants. Remarkably, Dominion has not produced a study demonstrating a need for the ACP.
Worse, electricity customers in Virginia and North Carolina would be on the hook to pay for the costly new pipeline. ACP developers are guaranteed a yearly profit of 15% on top of the more than $7 billion pipeline price tag. Dominion and its partner Duke Energy plan to pass all the costs onto their captive utility ratepayers.
Virginia Congressional Delegation—Contact Information
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D)
121 Russell Road, Suite 2 Abingdon, VA 24210 Phone: (276) 525-4790 Fax: (276) 525-4792
308 Craghead Street, Suite 102A Danville, VA 24541
Phone: (434) 792-0976
Fax: (434) 792-0978
9408 Grant Avenue, Suite 202 Manassas, VA 20110
Phone: (703) 361-3192
Fax: (703) 361-3198
919 East Main Street, Suite 970 Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 771-2221
Fax: (804) 771-8313
611 S. Jefferson Street, Suite 5B Roanoke, VA 24011
Phone: (540) 682-5693
Fax: (540) 682-5697
Virginia Beach Office
222 Central Park Avenue, Suite 120 Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Phone: (757) 518-1674
Fax: (757) 518-1679
Washington, DC Office
231 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4024
Fax: (202) 228-6363
U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D)
180 West Main Street, Room 235 Abingdon, VA 24210
101 W. Main Street, Suite 7771 Norfolk, VA 23510
919 E. Main Street, Suite 630 Richmond, VA 23219
110 Kirk Avenue, SW Roanoke, VA 24011 Phone: 540-857-2676
8000 Towers Crescent Drive, Suite 200 Vienna, Virginia 22182
Washington, DC Office
703 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
Toll Free: 1-877-676-2759
(VA residents only)
District 1: Rep. Rob Wittman (R)
6501 Mechanicsville Turnpike, # 102 Mechanicsville, VA 23111
Phone: (804) 730-6595
Fax: (804) 730-6597
95 Dunn Drive, # 201 Stafford, Virginia 22556 Phone: (540) 659-2734 Fax: (540) 659-2737
508 Church Lane
P.O. Box 3106 Tappahannock, VA 22560 Phone: (804) 443-0668 Fax: (804) 443-0671
Washington, DC Office
2055 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4261
Fax: (202) 225-4382
District 2: Rep. Elaine Luria (D)
Eastern Shore Office
25020 Shore Parkway, Suite 1B Onley, VA 23418
Phone: (757) 364-7631
Virginia Beach Office
283 Constitution Drive
One Columbus Center, Suite 900 Virginia Beach, VA 23462 Phone: (757) 364-7650
Fax: (757) 687-8298
Washington, DC Office 534 Cannon HOB Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-4215
District 3: Rep. Bobby Scott (D)
2600 Washington Ave., # 1010 Newport News, VA 23607 Phone: (757) 380-1000
Fax: (757) 928-6694
Washington, D.C. Office
1201 Longworth House Office Bldg Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-8351
Fax: (202) 225-8354
District 4: Rep. Donald McEachin
Central Virginia Office
110 North Robinson St, # 403 Richmond, VA 23220
Hampton Roads Office
131 N. Saratoga St, Suite B Suffolk, VA 23434
Washington, DC Office
314 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
District 5: Rep. Denver Riggleman (R)
686 Berkmar Circle Charlottesville, VA 22901 Phone: (434) 973-9631
308 Craghead St, Suite 102-D Danville, VA 24541
Phone: (434) 791-2596
Washington, DC Office 1022 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-4711
District 6: Rep. Ben Cline (R)
70 N Mason St, Suite 110 Harrisonburg, VA 22802 Phone: (540) 432-2391 Fax: (540) 432-6593
916 Main St, Suite 300 Lynchburg, VA 24504 Phone: (434) 845-8306 Fax: (434) 845-8245
10 Franklin Rd SE, Suite 510 Roanoke, VA 24011
Phone: (540) 857-2672
Fax: (540) 857-2675
117 S Lewis St, Suite 215 Staunton, VA 24401 Phone: (540) 885-3861 Fax: (540) 885-3930
1009 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5431
Fax: (202) 225-9681
District 7: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D)
Glen Allen Office
4201 Dominion Blvd, # 110 Glen Allen, VA 23060 Phone: (804) 401-4110
9104 Courthouse Rd
Spotsylvania, VA 22553 Phone: Coming soon.
Call (202) 225-2815 for now
Washington, DC Office 1239 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-2815
District 8: Rep. Don Beyer (D)
1901 N. Moore St., # 1108 Arlington, VA 22209
P: (703) 658-5403
F: (703) 658-5408
Washington, DC Office 1119 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515 P: (202) 225-4376
F: (202) 225-0017
District 9: Rep. Morgan Griffith (R)
Abingdon District Office 323 West Main Street Abingdon, VA 24210
T (276) 525-1405
F (276) 525-1444
Christiansburg District Office 17 West Main Street Christiansburg, VA 24073
T (540) 381-5671
F (540) 381-5675
Big Stone Gap Office Federal Courthouse
Big Stone Gap, VA 24219 T (276) 525-1405
By Appointment Only
Washington, DC Office 2202 Rayburn HOB Washington, D.C. 20515 T (202) 225-3861
F (202) 225-0076
District 10: Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D)
21351 Gentry Drive, # 140 Sterling, VA 20166 Phone: (703) 234-3800
Washington, DC Office 1217 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-5136 Fax: 202-225-0437
District 11: Rep. Gerry Connolly (D)
4115 Annandale Road, Ste. 103 Annandale, VA 22003
Phone: (703) 256-3071
Fax: (703) 354-1284
Prince William Office 2241-D Tacketts Mill Drive Woodbridge, VA 22192 Phone: (571) 408-4407 Fax: (571) 408-4708
Washington, DC Office 2238 Rayburn HOB Washington, D.C. 20515 Phone: (202) 225-1492
VWC has continuously fought against the ACP and we are asking you to help us.
It is time to call or write your Congressperson and Senators to tell them to reject Dominion Energy's attempts to have Congress change laws and undo rulings so that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) would be authorized to cross the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT).
Tell them to oppose this legislation because:
• The ACP would cross the AT at a scenic location, heavily used by thousands of hikers annually, impacting the scenic viewsheds, and degrading the experience on this National Scenic Trail.
• Construction traffic would interrupt usage of the AT, Blue Ridge Parkway, and nearby trails, as well as Sherando Lake Recreation area, for more than a year while the ACP is drilled through the Blue Ridge Mountains.
• Other alternative crossing locations have not been fully evaluated by FERC, the U.S. Forest Service, or any other agency.
• It has been shown that the pipeline is not needed to meet current or future electricity and gas demands.
• The ACP would result in the same amount of greenhouse gas pollution as 20 coal-fired power plants.
Thank you for taking time to contact our members of Congress! We do not want to see federal laws changed to make way for this unnecessary and destructive pipeline.
The contact info for Virginia’s members of Congress:
Senator Mark R. Warner
Senator Tim Kaine
Congressman Rob Wittman (1st District)
Congresswoman Elaine Luria (2nd District)
Congressman Bobby Scott (3rd District)
Congressman Donald McEachin (4th District)
Congressman Denver Riggleman (5th District)
Congressman Ben Cline (6th District)
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (7th District)
Congressman Don Beyer (8th District)
Congressman Morgan Griffith (9th District)
Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (10th District)
Congressman Gerald Connolly (11th District)
On January 28, Senator Tim Kaine, along with Senator Mark Warner, reintroduced S.247 - Virginia Wilderness Additions Act of 2019, which designates additions to the Rough Mountain Wilderness and the Rich Hole Wilderness of the George Washington National Forest.
"Fine Trails of Rockbridge", hiking book by VWC Executive Director, Mark Miller, now available for purchase.
Just in time for the holidays, Fine Trails of Rockbridge, by VWC Executive Director, Mark Miller and Steven Carroll is now available at Amazon and some Lexington book stores. This newly released hiking guide book for Rockbridge County is a new edition of the 1997 book of the same name.
In a case argued by SELC on behalf of VWC, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the NPS’s permit for the ACP.
The ruling entered by a panel of three judges vacated a right-of-way permit from the U.S. National Park Service which means that Dominion no longer has the permit needed to drill under the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway, which is part of the National Park System, weaves through some of the most scenic terrain in Virginia and North Carolina. Now, if pipeline developers continue construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline's 600-mile route from West Virginia, through Virginia and into North Carolina, they will be operating without two crucial federal permits. The Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife were also petitioners on the issue. A big thank you to the Southern Environmental Law Center for their continuous work on protecting this special part of Virginia!
Photo by Steven David Johnson
We always have fun exhibiting at events. Today we talked Wilderness and made binoculars with a great group of outdoor loving folks at Great Outdoors Day, hosted by Brothers Craft Brewing in Harrisonburg. If you missed us today, we hope to see you next month at Shenandoah National Park's Wilderness Weekend. We'll be there! If you have an upcoming event at which the Virginia Wilderness Committee would be a good fit for exhibiting or presenting, please contact us.
On Saturday, June 23, a great group of Wilderness loving folks gathered at the Dickerman farm in Swoope for the Virginia Wilderness Committee's Annual Meeting. Executive Director, Mark Miller, updated the group on our work regarding several current campaigns, including: Lower Cowpasture, North Shenandoah Mountain, and the issue of Sustainable Recreation. He also shared information on two new projects: potential Wilderness in the Dismal Swamp and work with the Monacan Nation. Lynn Cameron shared updates on all of her work as co-chair of the Friends of Shenandoah Mountain. A new slate of officers was voted in and two new Board members were added.
The Board is now led by:
President - John Hutchinson
Vice President - Steve Johnson
Treasurer - Larry Evans
Secretary - Pete Bsumek
Our new Board members are:
Tom Engle, who lives in Augusta County near Middlebrook with his wife Sharon and great niece Ivy. Tom retired from the U.S. State Department last year after a 31-year career as a Foreign Service officer. During that time he worked in U.S. embassies in China, Japan, Pakistan, Singapore, Germany and Afghanistan, as well as in several offices in the Washington headquarters. Tom has been an avid hiker since spending his high school years near the Smoky Mts., and his introduction to this region was through camping in the 1980’s in Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness.
Tyler Meader, whose family moved from the suburbs outside Harrisburg, PA to a historic home surrounded by woods, creeks and the James River when he was 10, beginning his love of the outdoors. Through the Boy Scout program he became well acquainted with the wonderful opportunities for hiking and camping that Virginia has to offer. His love of the mountains and being outdoors has continued into his adult life, and for over 25 years he has spent many nights in some of the wilderness areas in Virginia. Tyler lives in Glen Allen and works for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation-Division of Natural Heritage.
The next year will be an exciting one for the Virginia Wilderness Committee!
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has extended its 30-day public comment period regarding stream crossings for the ACP and the MVP. The comment period now ends June 15. If you did not make a comment on the stream crossings, now is the time. Do it today!
Include in your comments:
by email – NWP12InfoOnACP@deq.virginia.gov
by mail – DEQ, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218
or deliver to – DEQ, 1111 East Main Street Richmond, VA 23219
What they really need to know is how you enjoy and depend upon your stream or wetland (mention it by name) aesthetically, recreationally, for daily living, or for agricultural needs, and why the blanket Nationwide 12 Permit does not ensure you and your downstream neighbors will be able to enjoy your stream in the same way if the pipeline gets built. Your voice matters, act today!