Construction of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) presents an extreme risk to water and other environmental resources. We cannot solely rely on government agencies to reliably monitor, prevent, or even document the damage. The Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance and member organizations have therefore developed the Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) to support citizen efforts to ensure strict application of environmental laws and regulations in the event the pipeline goes forward.
The need for citizen oversight of pipeline construction has been made clear by observations of recent pipeline projects and inadequate regulatory agency response to repeated violations and water resource harm. Adding to our concerns, the regulatory agencies have failed to require submission of complete environmental plans prior to project approval. This deferral of critical review and analysis, along with political pressure to expedite the project, sets the stage for significant and long-term degradation of high-quality streams and groundwater supplies.
The ACP still faces substantial regulatory and legal challenges. The proposed pipeline project is not a done deal, nor will it be if the system works as it should. In any case, construction will not proceed on the “business as usual” basis described to industry officials and investors by Dominion Energy executives. The Pipeline CSI will ensure a dramatically new level of public scrutiny and oversight.
The Pipeline CSI will focus first on the approximately 200-mile section of the proposed ACP route extending from Harrison County in West Virginia to Buckingham County in Virginia. The extreme earth disturbance required for construction of the ACP in this area of steep mountain sides, high-quality streams, and karst valleys presents an unacceptable risk to water resources.
If the ACP project is allowed to proceed, the Pipeline CSI will work to limit the inevitable environmental damage through a program designed to investigate and follow-up on reported incidents of both downstream surface water impact and noncompliance with construction requirements in areas of direct disturbance, including the pipeline corridor, access roads, and stream crossings. Incident follow-up by the Pipeline CSI will include confirmation, thorough documentation, and complaint submission to regulatory agencies when warranted.
General Objectives and Methods
- To encourage and support citizen efforts to ensure strict application of environmental laws and regulations during pipeline construction across our steep mountains, karst valleys, high-quality surface waters, and vulnerable groundwater supplies.
- To successfully promote effective regulatory and judicial oversight of pipeline construction through collection and submission of evidence-grade information concerning noncompliance with, or failure of, required environmental protection practices.
- To evaluate, document, and communicate the performance limitations of required or available environmental protection practices during pipeline construction in extreme mountain landscape.