DEQ EJ and Equity Advisory Board to Submit Letter Opposing ACP

DEQ EJ and Equity Advisory Board to Submit Letter Opposing ACP

June 29, 2020

A special subcommittee of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Secretary's Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board met on June 25, 2020 to finalize their recommendations as a subcommittee for an official statement of concern about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The original motion expressed concern about:

  • Sustainability of Executive Order 80 if the ACP is put in place
  • Progress through lands that are primarily owned and occupied by environmental justice communities
  • Permitting the ACP without due consideration of the concerns of the people of this state

The subcommittee, co-chaired by Rev. Rodney Sadler Jr. and William Barber III, will draft a statement by June 29 and submit a final statement to DEQ Secretary Regan by close of business on June 30. Reverend Sadler identified three questions for discussion by the subcommittee:

  1. Do we need the pipeline to fulfill energy needs of North Carolina;
  2. Will the increased cost from $4B to $7B (some estimates are from $5.1B to $8B) be an impediment to the sustainability of communities impacted; and
  3. Has there been sufficient investigation of the environmental impacts in environmental justice communities?

Supplemental to question three, the subcommittee is concerned that pumping stations along the ACP might introduce harmful chemicals that need to be considered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The committee's statement will be drafted by William Barber III with assistance from Rev. Sadler, Jamie Cole, and Jeff Anstead. They will address these points:

  • Ask DEQ to reconsider the request filed August 13, 2019 to revoke the 401 certification with assurance that the petitioners will be notified of the final decision and provided reasonable explanations.
  • Recommend that DEQ Secretary ask the state to oppose ACP's request to FERC for a two-year extension of the certificate to complete the pipeline (i.e. until October 13, 2022).
  • Recommend that DEQ Secretary ask the state to oppose any restart of construction until confusion around previously vacated permits is resolved.
  • Ask DEQ Secretary to revoke air and water permits until he can offer a thorough explanation why the facilities should be built despite the disproportionately adverse effects on black and Indian communities
  • Request a supplemental EIS focusing on environmental justice and related impacts with tribal consultation

Marian Johnson-Thompson, Vice Chair of the Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board participated in the subcommittee meeting and said that the group should also consider addressing lands that are being taken because the owners cannot be found and issues of eminent domain. She also wants to see the committee make a firm statement about the federal government disregarding tribes that are not federally recognized.