• Mountain Valley Pipeline halts eminent domain actions for Southgate extension

    By: Charlie Paullin, Virginia Mercury October 21, 2022 Mountain Valley Pipeline has decided to withdraw eminent domain actions against land in North Carolina the company sought for its Southgate extension, a 75-mile offshoot of the main pipeline that would carry gas from Pittsylvania south to Rockingham and Alamance counties. “As the timing, design, and scope of this project continue to be evaluated, MVP has elected to dismiss this action, believing that to be the appropriate course of action for the time being and a demonstration of its desire to work cooperatively and in good faith with landowners and communities along the pipeline’s route,” said the motion filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. But the company asked for the dismissal without prejudice, which would allow it to pursue eminent domain actions against the properties again. Mountain Valley “has not abandoned this project,” the pipeline wrote. Shawn Day, a spokesperson for the MVP Southgate project, reiterated the motion’s language, adding, “Mountain Valley remains committed to the MVP Southgate project, which is needed to help North Carolina achieve its lower-carbon energy goals and meet current and future residential and commercial demand for natural gas in the region.” “Proceedings currently remain under way with respect to a small number of tracts” along the proposed Southgate route in Virginia, Day added. A condition of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the Southgate project in 2020 was that construction of the extension would not begin until the company received the required federal permits for the mainline system and the Director of the Office of Energy Projects, or its designee, lifted a stop-work order and authorized the project. The pipeline regained life in August after FERC extended its October 2022 completion deadline by four years. Regulators said their decision was an administrative one and that the proceedings were not the proper time to revisit the project’s approval. At that time, a company spokesperson said the company remains committed to securing federal and state permits to bring the project into service in the second half of 2023. Mountain Valley has said the main line is 94% complete, although some opponents dispute the company’s numbers. However, Mountain Valley still lacks necessary permits to complete the pipeline. An effort by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, to force approval and completion of the project through federal legislation on permitting reform stalled this fall. The Southgate extension has also run into problems. In 2021, the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board denied an air permit for a proposed compressor station in Pittsylvania that was crucial to ensure gas could flow from Virginia into North Carolina. The denial triggered General Assembly legislation transferring permitting authority from the citizen air board to the state Department of Environmental Quality. North Carolina had also previously denied Southgate a required water permit, citing “unnecessary and avoidable impacts to surface waters and riparian buffers.” Environmental activists on Friday celebrated Mountain Valley’s voluntary dismissal of its eminent domain actions. “Today we can exhale. We still have a long way to go, but the road gets shorter,” said Crystal Cavalier Keck, co-founder of 7 Directions of Service, an indigenous people’s activist group, in a statement. “This decision is more proof that the MVP is destined for defeat.” Read the article at Virginia Mercury


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  • Indigenous Tribes Facing Displacement in Alaska and Louisiana Say the U.S. Is Ignoring Climate Threats

    By Dalia Faheid, Inside Climate NewsSeptember 13, 2021 WASHINGTON—About 31 Native Alaskan communities face imminent climate displacement from flooding and erosion, which could lead cultures to disappear and ways of life to transform, with four tribes already in the process of relocating from their quickly disappearing villages.  The Kivalina, Shishmaref, Shaktoolik and Newtok, along with coastal Louisiana tribes, are among the most at risk of displacement due to climate change. But their efforts to move, according to tribal leaders, have been impeded by a lack of federal programs to assist in their…


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  • “No One Knows Where This Came From”—Trump Bans Offshore Drilling

    By: Zoya Teirstein, Mother Jones September 13, 2020 Something weird happened at a Trump campaign appearance in Jupiter, Florida, on Tuesday. President Trump—long-time antagonist of environmental regulations and big-time proponent of oil and gas development—announced a decade-long ban on offshore drilling off the coasts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. “This protects your beautiful Gulf and your beautiful ocean, and it will for a long time to come,” Trump said in a speech in Jupiter touting his environmental record. He signed a presidential memorandum extending a moratorium on leasing drilling rights off Florida’s Gulf Coast and expanded that ban to a portion of…


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  • States, cities get big opportunity to cut carbon emissions with new building code

    By: Christopher Perry, The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy A new model building code – all but finalized this week – gives U.S. states and cities a great chance to save money and cut pollution by reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. Residential and commercial buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of U.S. energy consumption and GHG emissions. States and cities that adopt the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will effectively require new buildings to reduce covered energy use by more than 10% on average compared to buildings meeting the previous code, and by more than…


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  • Why Are Democratic Governors Still Doing Favors for the Oil Industry?

    By: Nick Martin, The New Republic November 22, 2019 As the world warms and weather grows more extreme, it’s hard to find anyone in American politics—Democrat or Republican—taking the crisis as seriously as scientists suggest they should. A report released this week by the United Nations Environment Programme found that by 2030, the world’s states will have produced twice the amount of fossil fuels allowable if limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit); the current rate of production is 120 percent over what would be necessary to limit warming to 1.5 degrees…


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