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.
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.