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Presentations from October 12, 2016 Forum on Natural Gas Pipelines

October 16, 2016

Over 150 people – a mix of students and community members from as far away as West Virginia – attended the October 12 Forum on Natural Gas Pipelines at Roanoke College. The full program with presenter backgrounds is here.

Dr. Richard A. Smith (Vice President and Dean of the College) and Dr. Valerie Banschbach (Professor and Chair of Environmental Studies) provided welcoming comments.

Dr. Diana Christopulos gave an overview of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, including changes since the March 9, 2015 Forum on Natural Gas Pipelines at Virginia Western Community College. This forum was intended as an update on developments since that forum. The full Draft Environmental Impact Statement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission can be found here. Information on how to make comments on the DEIS, which are due by December 22, 2016, can be found here.

Dr. Rupert Cutler then took over as moderator, the same role he played at the March 2015 forum. After each set of presentations, the panelists answered questions from the audience.


Laura Belleville, Senior Conservation Director, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, discussed potential impacts of the project on the Appalachian Trail, especially the proposed crossing of the AT on Peters Mountain. Read more…


How to comment on the Mountain Valley Pipeline

October 12, 2016


FERC Docket CP16-10

DEADLINE: December 22, 2016

Below is a skeleton model for a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for comment for the DEIS. Be sure to:

  1. Cite the section, page #, etc. of the DEIS that you are responding to.
  2. If there are statements in the DEIS that you disagree with, you should say that—and provide evidence if possible to support your disagreement.
  3. If you have previously submitted a comment, reference it to show how the FERC failed to consider that comment.

Where can I find the DEIS? It is available for download on the FERC website:

Sending comments to FERC.  Submit to the FERC by using eComment, eFiling, or by US Mail. For all online searches in the FERC e-library be sure to use FERC Docket CP16-10. Any other number will return incorrect results or no results.

Should I send my comment to anyone else? We will provide an updated list soon. Read more…

Details Free Forum on Natural Gas Pipelines:How Many? At What Cost?Roanoke College, 6 PM, October 12, 2016

October 8, 2016

What has happened since the March 2015 Forum on Natural Gas Pipelines at Virginia Western Community College? Would the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline provide natural gas to the Roanoke and New River valleys? What would be its economic and environmental impacts?  Find out here:


5:40 PM ~ Refreshments and student projects on the pipeline outside the ballroom

6:00 pm ~ Program begins

Welcome              Dr. Richard A. Smith, Vice President and Dean of the College

Why a forum on pipelines?        Dr. Valerie Banschbach, Professor and Chair                 of Environmental Studies

Moderator                                      Dr. M. Rupert Cutler

Overview                                         Dr. Diana Christopulos

 Panel on Environmental Impacts of Natural Gas Pipelines

  • Laura Belleville, Conservation Director, Appalachian Trail Conservancy
  • Carl Zipper, contributor and editor, “An Expert Report on the Geologic Hazards in the Karst Regions of Virginia and West Virginia: Investigations and Analysis Concerning the Proposed Mountain Valley Gas Pipeline”
  • Pam Dodds, Licensed Professional Geologist and author of “Hydrological Assessment of Watershed Impacts Caused by Construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline Through Summers and Monroe Counties, West Virginia.”
  • David Hill, Principal, Hill Studio

Panel on Economics of Natural Gas Pipelines

  • Joyce Waugh, President, Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • John D’Orazio, Chief Executive Officer and President at RGC Resources, Inc. (invited)
  • Kate Asquith, Director of Programs, Appalachian Mountain Advocates
  • Spencer Phillips, Principal, Key-Log Economics

AUDIENCE COMMENTS. After the panel, audience members may offer their comments. We ask that you sign up on the sheet provided in the back of the room if you wish to speak. Please limit your comments to one minute.

Questions? Contact Prof. Valerie Banschbach, or (540) 375-4906


October 12: Roanoke College offering evening Forum on Natural Gas Pipelines

September 21, 2016



WHEN:     Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 6 PM

WHERE:   Roanoke College, Colket Center, main ballroom (3rd floor)

Free and open to the public

A Pittsburgh-based shale drilling company (EQT) and its partners have filed to build the 300+-mile, 42” natural gas transmission Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia and West Virginia. Numerous new large pipelines have been proposed on the East Coast, including as many as five in Virginia. This event updates pipeline status and research since the March 2015 Forum on Natural Gas Pipelines held at Virginia Western Community College, including major research projects completed in the past year.

The program will be moderated by Rupert Cutler. Presenters will include:

Presenter who was involved in development of “An Expert Report on the Geologic Hazards in the Karst Regions of Virginia and West Virginia: Investigations and Analysis Concerning the Proposed Mountain Valley Gas Pipeline”

Spencer Phillips, PhD, lead author, “Economic Costs of the Mountain Valley Pipeline: Effects on Property Value, Ecosystem Services, and Economic Development in Virginia and West Virginia”

Roanoke College students will display research projects related to the MVP in the lobby prior to the event, starting at 5:40 p.m. and refreshments will be served.  Both supporters and opponents of the project have been invited to speak.  Audience members who wish to speak will have a chance at the end of the event.

Questions? Contact Valerie Banschbach, Chair, Environmental Studies, Roanoke College or (540) 375-4906


September 17: Hands Across the Appalachian Trail!

August 30, 2016

Event photo for FacebookMountain Valley Pipeline has proposed a route that may be visible from many locations along the Appalachian Trail for over 100 miles of its length – from Sugar Run Mountain south of Pearisburg to Tinker Mountain near Daleville. Join this morning rally and show your support for the AT and for the town of Newport, which would be decimated by the pipeline proposal.

JOIN HANDS with us to ensure the Trail remains protected!

WHAT:     Hands Across the Appalachian Trail

WHERE:  Newport Recreation and Community Center – 434 Blue Grass Trail, Newport, VA 

WHEN:   10:30 to noon, Saturday, September 17, 2016

This event features the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s vision to “connect the human spirit with nature – preserving the delicate majesty of the Trail as a haven for all to enjoy.”   Everyone should have the opportunity for that experience.

Event plan: sign making, a few short speeches then we will stretch our joined hands for a photo shoot.  Bring signs or make one when you arrive – we will provide materials.

Sponsored by the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club; Roanoke Group, Sierra Club; Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition and Preserve Giles

SIGN UP HERE ON FACEBOOK, or contact Dan Crawford at for more information


Cool Cities Confirms Support of Botetourt County Wind Project

October 30, 2015

The Board of Directors of Roanoke Valley Cool Cities coalition today confirmed their support of the proposed wind energy project in Botetourt County. Text of the board’s resolution follows:

Resolved, that Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition supports approval and completion of the wind energy project on private property on North Mountain in Botetourt County, known as the Rocky Forge Wind Project as described on the Apex project web site ROCKYFORGEWIND.COM.

This project has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by approximately 186,000 tons a year assuming its output is displacing coal-generated electricity. Apex estimates this project will generate enough energy to power 20,000 homes.

Our support is contingent on the developer’s meeting the existing statutory or regulatory requirements of all applicable authorities who have jurisdiction in this matter including, but not limited to, Botetourt County, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and Federal Aviation Agency, on matters concerning environmental impact, public safety, decommissioning provisions and construction standards.

New Study Undercuts MVP Economic Benefits Claims

October 5, 2015

A new study by Key-Log Economics (“Reason for Caution: Mountain Valley Pipeline Economic Studies Overestimate Benefits, Downplay Costs”) casts strong doubts on the claims made by MVP for economic benefits of the pipeline in Virginia and West Virginia. This new report shows that previous studies exaggerate the benefits and largely ignore the public and external costs attending the construction, operation and presence of the MVP.

When FTI Consulting released MVP-funded reports in 2014 describing the purported economic benefits of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, it included disclaimers that, “There is no assurance by anyone that this information is accurate or complete” and that FTI would not vouch for “the completeness and achievability of the projected financial data, information and assessments.”

“The FTI studies are a form of magical thinking,” said Angela Stanton of Preserve the New River Valley. “They overestimate the potential benefits and ignore the costs. It’s like trying to balance your checkbook by fantasizing your income and ignoring your expenses.”

Central findings of the Key-Log Economics critique were that the FTI reports for MVP:

  • Over-estimate “construction benefits” to the MVP region
  • Overestimate total employment effects of pipeline operation and maintenance
  • Overstate benefits from fuel switching, which appear unlikely to occur
  • Overstate financial benefits to local governments.
  • Do not provide sufficient information to support a decision to permit the Mountain Valley Pipeline. A full accounting of public and external costs is needed.

Costs ignored by the FTI reports include reduced landscape productivity, diminished property values, diminished economic development opportunities and reduced desirability of the pipeline-affected region as a destination of choice for businesses and residents. Other impacts include increased community services costs due to damage to roads and bridges and greater need for emergency services. All of these add to the costs of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and clearly show that natural gas development and operations can upset the economic apple cart in local communities.

The study conducted by Key-Log Economics was sponsored by a variety of citizen grassroots and community organization groups in Virginia and West Virginia , including: Blue Ridge Land Conservancy; Preserve Bent Mountain; Preserve Craig; Preserve Franklin County; Preserve Giles County; Preserve Greenbrier; Preserve Monroe; Preserve Montgomery County VA; Preserve the New River Valley; Preserve Roanoke; Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition; Summer County Residents the Against the Pipeline; Greenbrier River Watershed Association; Roanoke Group, New River Group and Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club; and the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council.

The complete report by Spencer Phillips, Ph.D., of Key-Log Economics is available here: MVP_EconBenefitStudyCritique_FINAL_20151006

The full press release with contacts is here: MVP Press Release – 6 October 2015