Environment, Trump Administration

Environmental news to watch for this week: Endangered Species Act, Atlantic Coast Pipeline

An elder from the Lumbee Tribe in Pembroke spoke out against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline at a demonstration last November. The ACP would enter North Carolina in Northampton County and pass through eight counties, ending in Robeson County. (Photo: Lisa Sorg)

Federal energy officials have scheduled three “drop-in sessions” this week for public input on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Atlantic Coast Pipeline, built by Dominion Energy. These sessions won’t be conducted like many traditional public meetings — citizens petitioning their government openly and in front of a crowd. Instead, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will meet one-on-one with citizens.

That’s problematic because the public and the media can’t hear and learn from what others  are saying, nor can they witness, as a group, the responses from FERC on a controversial (and legally required) document regarding the pipeline’s environmental and social justice impacts.

The DEIS has concluded there the pipeline would not cause any significant adverse environmental justice impacts along its 150-mile path through eastern North Carolina. Many Native American and African-American residents disagree over concerns about property values, groundwater and surface water.

In response, Clean Water for North Carolina is hosting People’s Hearings to coincide with each official session.

  • Tonight in Fayetteville: FERC session, 5–9 p.m.., Doubletree Hotel, 1965 Cedar Creek Road
    People’s hearing, Rodeway Inn, 1957 Cedar Creek Road, 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 14, in Wilson: FERC, 5–9 p.m., Forest Hills Middle School, 1210 Forest Hills Road NW
    People’s hearing: 5 p.m., in the cafeteria of Forest Hills Middle School
  • Wednesday, Feb. 15, in Roanoke Rapids: FERC, 5–9 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn, 111 Carolina Crossroads Parkway
    People’s hearing, 5:30 p.m., Mystique Events Center, 1652 NC Hwy. 125

NCPW will publish a story about the pipeline and its potential impacts on Thursday morning.

 

 

Protect me, I’m endangered: The Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel. The Trump Administration is considering rolling back the Endangered Species Act; a U.S. Senate committee will discuss the ESA’s “modernization” at a hearing this week. The panel includes Gordon Myers, executive director of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.                        (Photo: US Fish & Wildlife Service)

And on a federal level, a Senate committee will discuss “Oversight: Modernization of the Endangered Species Act” on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. Gordon Myers, executive director of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, will be on the panel, along with officials from Defenders of Wildlife, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Enacted in 1973, the ESA could be unraveled under the Trump Administration, which views the regulations as an economic and development impediment. Already, the protection of one recently listed endangered species, the Rusty-Patched bumblebee, has been postponed under Trump. More than 60 endangered or threatened species have been found in North Carolina, including the Rusty-Patched bumblebee, Kemp’s Ridley turtle, Atlantic sturgeon, the Piping plover, the Littlewing Pearlymussel, Michaux’s sumac and the Carolina Northern flying squirrel.

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is hosting the hearing; C-SPAN doesn’t list the program on its schedule, but Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), has a YouTube Channel dedicated to the committee.

One Comment


  1. Pat Kelly

    February 14, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    I called the committee for the Endangered Species Act hearing – it will be livestreamed, and the link will be posted here once the hearing starts: https://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings?ID=72694EEF-F5BB-40CC-A382-1E8B6F7CA28C

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