BREDL and Sioux Tribal Historic Preservation Officers file in D.C. Court - Mountain Valley Pipeline threatens areas claimed by Sioux as having spiritual significance
Aug. 29, 2018: The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) and its five co-plaintiffs, including the Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) of the Rosebud Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes of South Dakota, filed a reply on Monday, August 27 to the opposition of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) to our emergency motion for stay submitted to the D.C. Circuit Court earlier in August. The emergency stay would halt construction on the MVP until the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106) have been met with regard to consultation with Indian tribes.
BREDL submits comments to Georgia EPD regarding Plant Vogtle Title V Permit Renewal as BREDL's Title V Petition to U.S. EPA from August 2010 is still not resolved
Aug. 9, 2018: The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and its chapter Concerned Citizens of Shell Bluff have filed detailed comments opposing the state’s air pollution permit for Plant Vogtle. In the comments, the groups oppose the excessive levels of hazardous air pollution emitted from the cooling towers and other sources in a community already stressed by power plant impacts. They called upon the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to reject the permit.
BREDL and its Buckingham Chapter, Concern for the New Generation, File Supreme Court Appeal regarding Special Use Permit for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline
July 19, 2018:
This week the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and its chapter, Concern for the New Generation, and its members filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Virginia regarding Buckingham County’s approval of a special use permit for a compressor station for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The suit was originally filed February 6, 2017 pro se. Circuit Court Judge William Alexander dismissed the case in January, 2018 on technicalities regarding the form used in the pro se filing.
BREDL files Title VI Environmental Justice Complaint with EPA against the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
June 20, 2018: The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) and its Virginia chapters, Protect Our Water, Concern for the New Generation and No ACP, filed a Title VI civil rights complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) office of External Civil Rights Compliance Office (ECRCO). BREDL’s Stop the Pipelines Campaign Coordinator, Sharon Ponton, stated, “The 26-page complaint tells the story of VADEQ’s segmented process for 401 water quality certification and asks the EPA to void the certification until a thorough environmental justice analysis is completed. We believe we have presented a strong case indicating the environmental justice communities along the path of the proposed ACP will be disproportionately impacted by health impacts from pollution caused by toxic, polluting pipeline infrastructure and its contributions to global warming from leaks and its compressor station, as well as the health affects from noise and toxic emissions from its compressor stations. The complaint also outlines disproportionate impacts from possible threats to water supplies, safety related issues from discriminatory construction rules, and property loss through eminent domain.”
Sioux Tribal historic preservationists conduct survey of Mountain Valley Pipeline
May 29, 2018: ROCKY MOUNT, VA—A team consisting of seven Sioux tribal historic preservationists surveyed the Mountain Valley Pipeline project area in Franklin and Roanoke Counties, VA last week, and the data generated by their survey may be used in a legal challenge to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s process of working with Native American tribes as required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The seven team members drove from their homes in the Rosebud Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux, and Pine Ridge Sioux reservations in South Dakota to Wirtz, Virginia, where they were hosted by members of Preserve Franklin, a chapter of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. The team walked the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) corridor on properties in Rocky Mount, Boones Mill, Callaway, and Bent Mountain where landowners had given permission for the survey.
Nov. 8, 2018: On behalf of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and our chapter the Concerned
Citizens of Richmond County, I write to request that the DAQ perform a Multiple Source
Review in the Hamlet area before approving the Enviva Permit which today is the subject of a
Hamlet, NC, is the location of several large sources of air pollution. The sum of the impacts on
public must be ascertained by the DAQ before the agency issues any new permits.
BREDL submits comments on UNC-Chapel Hill Title V Air Permit
Oct. 25, 2018: We are concerned that the air pollution created by the combustion of fuel at the University’s physical plant presents a serious risk to the health and well-being of residents in the Chapel Hill area. A public hearing would allow the NC Division of Air Quality (DAQ) to ascertain the
potential public health risks before finalizing this permit.
BREDL comments on proposed Interim Storage Partners dumpsite for high level radioactive waste in Andrews Co., TX
Oct. 19, 2018: We oppose the proposed Interim Storage Partners dumpsite for high level radioactive waste in Andrews County, Texas. There have been many attempts to establish centralized interim storage: the Monitored
Retrievable Storage program in east Tennessee, the industry’s privatized storage program
targeting Native Americans, the Mescalero Apache Nation in New Mexico and the Skull
Valley Goshute Reservation in Utah.
We have continued to oppose such radioactive waste dumps wherever they are proposed,
including Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Likewise, we oppose so-called consolidated interim
storage schemes—including the Holtec International/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance site in
New Mexico and the Waste Control Specialists site in Andrews County, Texas—because
nuclear waste shipments to those sites would unnecessarily place millions of people at
risk from accident, sabotage, and routine exposure.
The Fight for Local Control
Ashe County, North Carolina
Many rural counties are defending themselves as best they can from the negative impacts of coal ash dumping, natural gas pipelines and asphalt plants. The state issues air and water permits for industrial facilities, but local governments can control where they are located. Countywide polluting industries ordinances can do this. In the Ashe County case, a disabled children’s camp is located near the site of a proposed asphalt plant.
Ashe County v. Ashe County Planning Board, NC Court of Appeals, Case No. 18-253
Synopsis: The basis for this case is local land use as defined by the Ashe County Polluting Industries Ordinance, the result of a BREDL campaign in 1998-99. In 2016 Ashe County Commissioners challenged its own Planning Board’s decision to allow an asphalt plant on the South Fork of the New River (Ashe County Superior Court, 16 CVS 514). Interestingly, the Planning Dept. Director denied approval for the plant under the ordinance. But the lower court ruled in favor of the Planning Board and the asphalt plant. So, in 2018, in response to the people, Ashe County filed for writ of certiorari and judicial review to the Court of Appeals. BREDL and its chapter Protect Our Fresh Air support the continuing effort by Ashe County elected officials to reverse the Planning Board, prevent asphalt plant pollution and protect the community.
Drone video and photos from Brickhaven Coal Ash Landfill After Hurricane Florence
Sept. 26, 2018: Drone footage and still images of the Brickhaven coal ash landfill in Chatham County, NC after rains from Hurricane Florence. The landfill, in operation since late 2015 is owned and operated by Charah, LLC, Duke Energy's ash from the Sutton and Riverbend facilities have been disposed of there. Video and pictures taken September 22, 2018.
Groups - Join us by filing a friend-of-the-court
brief regarding the Ashe County Watershed Review Board issued permit for a site on the South Fork of the New River
Sept 26, 2018: On April 26, 2018, the Ashe County Watershed Review Board issued a water supply
watershed permit for a site on the South Fork of the New River. The permit is an egregious
example of a quixotic procedure by a local watershed review board and poses risks to the
entire state of North Carolina. If allowed to stand, the legal precedent will be there for
other county boards to carve loopholes in the law and sidestep water supply watershed
protection. This would mean that drinking water supply for people across this state could
be put at risk.
BREDL Comments on proposed ACP Compressor Station in Buckingham County, VA
Sept. 11, 2018: If permitted, the Buckingham Compressor Station would be a major source of air pollution. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has incorrectly determined that it would be a minor source. We recommend immediate steps be taken to correct this error. Further, unless and until the Virginia Supreme Court rules, and local governing bodies in Buckingham County to do a proper assessment of the disproportionate impacts on economically disadvantaged or minority communities in and around Union Hill, any air permit issued by Virginia DEQ would lack the necessary legal basis.
Sept. 10, 2018: Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League has submitted comments on the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline-Southgate Project. Initial public scoping comments were due to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today.
Augusta GA Commissioners approve goal to achieve 100% Clean Energy -
BREDL and our Concern Citizens of Shell Bluff chapter part of stakeholders group
Sept 4, 2018: The Augusta, Georgia Commission passed a resolution to endorse the goal to transition from fossil fuel-based economy to a 100% clean renewable energy by 2050. Further, the Commission adopted the goal to achieve 80% clean renewable energy by 2030. BREDL and our chapter Concern Citizens of Shell Bluff were a part of the stakeholders group.
BREDL, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and others file a Petition in U.S. District Court of Appeals seeking an emergency stay on MVP certificate
Aug. 17, 2018: The Petitioners cite FERC's refusal to allow the request of the Tribal Preservation Officers for consultation under Section 101(d)(6)(B) of the National
Historic Preservation Act regarding the Mountain Valley Pipeline project. The Preservation Petitioners hereby join the petitioners Appalachian
Mountain Voices et al., in these consolidated cases in seeking an emergency stay
to prevent irreparable injury to their members and interests pending this Court's
review of the petitions. An emergency stay is warranted as a result of the
Commission's actions of August 10, 2018 and August 15, 2018, modifying its
previously-issued "stop work order" to allow MVP to undertake "stabilization"
measures along certain areas along the pipeline route, and then allowing MVP to
resume and complete pipeline construction along a portion of the right of way.
These activities will irreparably harm historic and cultural resources, including a
potential site of traditional and religious significance to the Siouan people, which
will be adversely affected by these activities.
BREDL's Therese Vick sends letter to North Carolina State Firefighters' Association to express concerns and share information regarding the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Aug. 13, 2018: I write to express concerns and share information regarding the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline
(ACP). The ACP potentially impacts 8 Eastern North Carolina counties: Halifax, Northampton,
Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Cumberland, Sampson and Robeson. Many of our members, their
neighbors, friends and family live within the “blast zone” of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. These
counties are served by excellent fire departments, many of them volunteer. Having been involved
in a volunteer fire department as a wife for almost 40 years, and as the mother of the current
Chief of a volunteer department, I am well aware of the commitments to service and training that
rural firefighters make, and the challenges that the ACP may present to our rural departments.
The Muddy Stream Crooners sing a little ditty about Virginia Governor Northam's inaction regarding the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines.
Call Governor Ralph Northam at 804-786-2211. Ask him to Stop both the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
BREDL Sends Letters to NC and VA Governors expressing concern over Tactics by Pipelines' Private Security
In March, BREDL sent letters to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam expressing our concerns regarding the tactics being used by private security for both Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines.
During peaceful protests, far from the pipeline route and held far from property the proposed ACP or MVP might lay claim to, security operatives have taken photographs of the opposition without their permission. At public hearings private security firms have been observed photographing people who spoke in opposition to the pipelines. Private security was also observed taking pictures of the license plates of opposition members’ vehicles, not only at public meetings, but at meetings of grassroots groups held on private property. Finally, some opposition members have been followed as they made their way home. This kind of activity is clearly an attempt to intimidate.
Most recently, landowners attempting to document surveying and tree-cutting activities have
been filmed by and experienced aggressive behavior from members of out-of-state crews. Most
of these companies are not licensed in North Carolina.
BREDL submits comments regarding SC DHEC Draft General Synthetic Minor Construction Permit for Asphalt Permits
July 25, 2018: The setting of overall tonnage limits as contemplated in the draft GSM is wholly inadequate. It should be abandoned. A practical, enforceable method would be a better approach for the permittees, the Department of Health and Environmental Control and the people of South Carolina.
BREDL submits comments on proposed changes to National Environmental Policy Act
July 20, 2018: The principal goal of the order appears to be reducing the amount of time it takes for environmental reviews for infrastructure projects. Yet neither the order nor the CEQ guidance associated with the order offers any showing of need.
No examples are given on infrastructure projects delayed by NEPA review. In sum, the order lacks any legal basis upon which to predicate a rulemaking of the nature contemplated by the order.
BREDL files request with FERC to Stop MVP construction on Franklin County, VA farm so that National Historic Preservation Act consultations can be completed
June 20, 2018: Last year, Preservation Virginia stated, and the Virginia State Historic Preservation Office concurred with the need for extensive archaeological investigations beyond the confines of the diminutive archaeological sites identified by MVP/Tetra Tech on the Angle property, including the National Register eligible 44FR0372 on an adjoining property.
The Rosebud Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Historic Preservation Officers visited the Angle property on March 5 this year.
The entire floodplain along the Blackwater River in Franklin County, VA must be investigated for archaeological significance, not just a few tiny MVP-defined sites. Also, the Sioux Tribes must be allowed an opportunity to articulate the religious and cultural significance of the Angle farm and other MVP-affected properties.
The League comments on the Clinch River Nuclear Early Site Permit DEIS
June 5, 2018: Tennessee Valley Authority failed to justify need for a so-called small modular nuclear plant at Clinch River. Without a thoroughgoing assessment of need, the no-action alternative analysis is reduced to pablum. Failure to correct this omission and subsequent approval of the permit by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would present a needless—even thoughtless—risk to the public.
Groups File Civil Rights Complaint against NC DEQ regarding Atlantic Coast Pipeline
May 15, 2018: BREDL and our chapters Concerned Stewards of Halifax County, Nash Stop the Pipeline, Wilson County No Pipeline, No Pipeline Johnston County and Cumberland County Caring Voices along with the groups NC WARN,
Clean Water for NC, EcoRobeson, Concerned Citizens of Tillery, Concerned Citizens of Northampton County, Friends of the Earth and NC Environmental Justice Network have filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. EPA against the NC DEQ.
The Environmental Justice Groups allege NC DEQ discriminated on the basis of race and color in issuing permits and certifications to the ACP as part of the permitting process. The failure to assess the environmental justice impacts of the proposed ACP on communities of color along the route led to the improper actions taken by NC DEQ.
Valerie Williams, a member of Concerned Stewards of Halifax County and an African American landowner in Halifax County, said: “The land is our family tree and it speaks of legacies, heritage, and memories. No one would take that away from us.” She resolves, “No pipelines on our valuable historic farms. No Intruders on our land.”
Please visit nopipeline.net to view inspirational videos featuring landowners affected by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Contact Governor Cooper today and tell him to STOP THIS PIPELINE!
Roanoke Times article highlights MVP contractor's citations for environmental issues
Feb. 18, 2018: On today's front page of The Roanoke Times, the paper reports on the Mountain Valley Pipeline contractor's citations for environmental issues on three previous projects. These pipeline projects are the Stonewall Gathering, Rover and Mariner EAst 2.
Larry Armes of WVHL (Farmville, VA) interviews BREDL's Lou Zeller regarding the Buckingham Circuit Court's decision to dismiss the case by Judge William Alexander
Jan 30, 2018: Lou Zeller, Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, calls in to talk about the Buckingham Circuit Court's decision to dismiss the case by Judge William Alexander. At issue is the pollution, noise and unfair selection of the site for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Compressor Station.
Attorney representing BREDL sends correspondence to Federal Court Appointed Monitor for Duke Energy’s Probation regarding Coal Cash convictions
Jan. 8, 2018: Attorney John Runkle has sent correspondence to Benjamin Wilson the Federal Court Appointed Monitor for Duke Energy’s probation relating to the nine criminal convictions for its decades of mishandling of coal
ash and violations of the Clean Water Act. This comes after a WBTV - Charlotte investigation showing Duke Energy fully participated in the National Ash Management Advisory Board (NAMAB) process.
Mr. Runkle states, "as the Court Appointed Monitor you have the responsibility to insure compliance by Duke Energy with its probation term, and the authority to obtain relevant documents and
testimony from Duke Energy and the NAMAB. We urge you to fully investigate this interference as it brings into question all of the recommendations made by the NAMAB and Duke Energy to State regulators, the NC General Assembly, and the Department of
Justice, as well as any 'good faith' compliance with the plea agreements."