As federal regulators stall appeals in order to protect Duke Energy and Dominion Resources, the court must protect low-income and communities of color of eastern NC
Statement by NC WARN Director Jim Warren:
Following a shortcut approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last fall, FERC then tried to stall appeals by indefinitely delaying a response to November filings from an alliance led by NC WARN attorney John Runkle and by other parties. So our allies at the Southern Environmental Law Center, representing a dozen nonprofits, went straight to the US Court of Appeals.
Last Friday, on behalf of 19 public interest groups*, Runkle filed to join SELC’s appeal in federal court. We will focus particularly on the ACP’s environmental injustices including impacts on families and communities along the route, environmental and health impacts from the construction and operation of the pipeline and its cumulative impacts, including the worsening climate crisis.
We’re honored to be joined by both the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe. FERC failed to identify major impacts on multiple Native American populations living along the proposed route, and FERC’s proposal to consult them later is insulting, a mere afterthought to the pipeline’s approval, as Runkle detailed in the November filing.
In dodging careful assessment of the climate impacts of super heat-trapping methane that would be routinely vented from pipeline equipment as gas moves toward power plants, FERC is ignoring a recent federal appeals court ruling. In doing so, FERC is enabling Duke and Dominion to increase the hazard to the very same eastern communities being hammered by flooding from hurricanes and torrential rain events in recent years – weather extremes which are worsening due to pollution from the fracked gas and power industries.
Injustice toward African American, Native American and low-income communities is rife in the FERC approval. As attorney Runkle wrote in November, the agency’s “analysis of minority populations is remarkable in its contorted logic used to minimize the relative impact on people of color … In fact, in comparing the current ACP corridor to earlier proposed ACP routes, it is clear that the pipeline has been moved to areas of greater poverty and more people of color.”
In a resolution filed Friday with the court, the Lumbee Tribe called upon “its membership, public officals and other Indian tribal nations to express their opposition to the permitting and certification of the ACP until the conduct of full and meaningful consultation with the Lumbee Tribe, and other impacted Indian tribal nations as requested, by all federal, state, and local entities.”
Although Dominion owns over 50 percent of the pipeline project, Duke Energy customers would pay 59 percent of its $6 billion price tag through fuel pricing. After years of consistently siding with the gas and power industries, FERC was recently rebuffed by two federal courts in cases involving pipelines.
* THE LUMBEE TRIBE OF NORTH CAROLINA
THE HALIWA-SAPONI INDIAN TRIBE
CLEAN WATER FOR NC
BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
PROTECT OUR WATER! (FABER, VA)
CONCERN FOR THE NEW GENERATION (BUCKINGHAM, VA)
HALIFAX & NORTHAMPTON CONCERNED STEWARDS (HALIFAX AND NORTHAMPTON, NC)
NO PIPELINE JOHNSTON COUNTY (JOHNSTON, NC)
NASH STOP THE PIPELINE (SPRING HOPE, NC)
WILSON COUNTY NO PIPELINE (KENLY, NC)
SAMPSON COUNTY CITIZENS FOR A SAFE ENVIRONMENT (FAISON, NC)
NO FRACKING IN STOKES (WALNUT COVE, NC)
CUMBERLAND COUNTY CARING VOICES (EASTOVER, NC)
RIVER GUARDIAN FOUNDATION
NC CLIMATE SOLUTIONS PROJECT
THE CHATHAM RESEARCH GROUP