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
On December 21, 2016, the NC Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of Asheville in a long-standing dispute over the City’s right to own and operate their water system, overruling a lower court’s decision. (Read the City of Asheville’s statement). This decision recognizes the inherent connection between water utility governance and human health, and denies the NC General Assembly’s attempt to pass local legislation to involuntarily transfer drinking water assets from one entity to another.
Residents with Save Our Water WNC outside a Metropolitan Sewerage District meeting.
This decision sets a statewide precedent which is good for all local governments who are tasked with responsibly governing vital public resources, assuring them that they will not suddenly lose control of assets they have worked to invest in, and that regional partnerships to provide communities with drinking water come about when local residents support them, not as a result of legislative mandates. CWFNC supports public, locally owned drinking water for many reasons. Local governments are usually responsive to residents’ concerns, knowledgeable about local problems and resources, and accountable to their constituents when it comes time to make an important decision. This cannot be said for private utilities or levels of government that are too far removed from a local community.
Local public interest activist Barry Summers of Save Our Water WNC says “We hope that this puts to rest the notion that the power of the State should be used in this manner. We support and encourage the City of Asheville to reach out to the various political entities of Western North Carolina that have an interest in safe, reliable, locally-controlled drinking water, and find common solutions to whatever areas of friction that may have contributed to this five-year long saga.”
Clean Water for NC is proud to partner with communities to ensure that drinking water remains local and public!
NC has been hit by the harsh extremes of climate change from the mountains to the coast. Drought, flooding, unpredictable rain events, and wildfires have plagued the state in historic proportions. Learning more about how your community could be affected and preparing ahead for potential climate extremes is encouraged. Exceptional weather events highlight the need for a movement away from fossil fuel dependent energy production practices.
The destruction in communities in eastern NC from Hurricane Matthew is historic and overwhelming. Flooding occurred as the result of 6 to 18 inches of rain that fell in eastern North Carolina during the hurricane. Peak totals were recorded at 18.38 inches near Elizabethtown, NC. Many communities of color or low-income communities are still feeling the flooding’s effects. Flooded hog lagoons and farms impact nearby eastern NC communities as a result of mass flooding.
Hurricane Matthew was also responsible for a breach of coal ash impoundments. Hazards posed by decades of dumping coal ash in unlined pits were exposed during the catastrophic rain event. By products of coal ash, containing toxic metals were washed downstream at the HF Lee plant in Goldsboro, NC.
Contaminated flood water and damages to water treatment plants are worrisome to many folks living in eastern NC. Some places, such as Lumberton, have been without clean tap water for weeks. Private well users should test their wells if they were submerged; for information on free Hurricane Matthew well test kits that will be available through county health departments click here.
Central and eastern NC have been experiencing unusually high rainfall in the spring and summer, but parts of western NC have been suffering from “extreme” or “exceptional” drought conditions. As a result, communities have been devastated by water scarcity and wildfires. During any stage of drought, residents are encouraged to refrain from nonessential uses of water. The North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council added extreme and exceptional drought stages to its state classifications in August 2016. Drought statuses are updated weekly at ncdrought.org.
Despite a few recent rain events in western NC, the NC Forestry Service has kept an open burn ban for 47 NC counties. The Forestry Service lists the burn ban status of each county. If you see an illegal burn, the NC forestry service advises that you contact 911. Widespread wildfires have engulfed more than 50,000 acres in western NC. The western NC wildfires have also resulted in poor air quality measurements statewide. Air quality data is updated daily by the Department of Environmental Quality. NC air quality information and forecast can be viewed by region.
NC’s General Assembly has unanimously passed a bill for cleanup and repairs following Hurricane Matthew and mountain wildfires, in a recent special session. The proposal is for a $201 million dollar fund designed to get more displaced residents into housing, give local governments help building infrastructure and provide the state forest service money for firefighting expenses. Critics of the bill argue that the legislation does not include some of the most effective methods for individual assistance that were implemented following hurricane Floyd in 1999.
The State Climate Office updates a high resolution drought trigger tool, weekly. Areas across NC have been classified in the most extreme categories of both exceptional dryness and wetness. High resolution mapping illustrates the alarming impacts of climate change in NC. The State Climate Office creates the maps by comparing historical and real-time data from the National Weather Service to calculate a color coded Schedule Performance Index (SPI). See mapping and updated information on NC flood and drought estimates here.
Princeville in 1999 after Hurricane Floyd (top) and after Hurricane Matthew (bottom). Photos credited to Chris Tyree/Virginia Pilot and Jonathan Drake/Reuters.
The devastation in communities in eastern NC from Hurricane Matthew is historic and overwhelming. We know that many communities – many of them communities of color or low-income communities – are still feeling the worst of the flooding’s effects.
For example, Princeville, the oldest U.S. town incorporated by African Americans which was settled by freed slaves after the Civil War, suffered severe flooding by the second supposedly 500-year storm in only 17 years (see photos, right)
Some of the biggest short-term environmental justice / health concerns for communities at this time include:
A flooded hog lagoon in Wayne County, NC. Photo credit: Rick Dove, Waterkeeper Alliance.
- Flooding of hog farms. The extent of damages are still unknown, but so far don’t appear to be as bad as those from Hurricane Floyd in 1999. However, the floods have once again brought into the spotlight the vast number, size and EJ impacts on nearby communities of concentrated animal feeding operations in eastern NC.
- Flooding and breaching of coal ash impoundments, and Duke Energy’s failure to respond quickly. Unbelievably, it was a news crew from WRAL that alerted Duke Energy to a breach in their cooling pond dam at the H.F. Lee plant in Goldsboro. Duke Energy was also late to admit that coal ash had been washing downstream from the submerged coal ash ponds at Lee. This flooding is another reminder of how hazardous leaking coal ash pits are, and the urgency of finding real, protective solutions to store coal ash.
- The lack of clean, safe drinking water in many areas due to contaminated flood water and damages to water treatment plants. Some places, such as Lumberton, may be without clean tap water for weeks. Private well users should test their wells if they were submerged; click here for information on free Hurricane Matthew well test kits that will be available through county health departments. Read more about drinking water impacts in NC Health News.
In both the short and long term, we stand with these communities as they face many environmental risks. We hope that in the wake of a natural disaster of this magnitude, NC decision makers will seek to enact policies that will make the state more prepared and the environment more secure from potentially harmful substances.
If you wish to help communities affected by the storm, here are just a few of the many organizations receiving donations for flood relief for areas hit by post-Matthew flooding:
- Burnt Swamp Baptist Association is providing hot meals in Robeson County. Mail checks to Burnt Swamp Baptist Association, PO BOX 1207, Pembroke, NC 28732 (“flood relief” in memo), or email Brandi Brooks at email@example.com for information on donating online.
- Rebuilding Broken Places, CDC is accepting donations to provide hot meals for Wayne County residents in need. Mail checks to Rebuilding Broken Places, CDC 2105 N. Williams Street Goldsboro, NC 27530 or donate online at www.rbpcdc.org.
- Salvation Army (specify flood relief): http://bit.ly/2dKhhuD or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
- The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina is asking for donations of food and money.The group is accepting donations of canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, rice and other food items, as well as baby formula, diapers and other supplies for infants and children. Items can be dropped off at any of the Food Bank’s six locations in North Carolina. In Raleigh, items can be dropped off at 3808 Tarheel Drive. View a full list of requested items, or donate money online here. Donations can also be sent via mail to any of the Food Bank’s locations with the memo line “Matthew.”