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ATC TO FERC: Halt the Mountain valley Pipeline

The  Appalachian Tarai Conservancy (ATC0 submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in response to an open public comment period regarding FERC’s 1999 Natural Gas Policy Statement – note, we added your club to the comments, making a powerful statement.  Today, we distributed the attached release which provides strong commentary about Mountain Valley Pipeline and outlines the major points we have made to FERC.  Most importantly, our release points out that 30 clubs representing nearly 6,000 volunteers stand behind the commentary that FERC must be more responsive in considering special places like the Appalachian Trail.

 We have posted the final comments and the news release on our recently updated web page regarding MVP, which I encourage you to check out:

Many of you may have heard that last week a federal judge issued a stay of the MVP permit in West Virginia, delaying the pipeline developer’s timeline for months, or longer.  The news has been a bright spot for ATC staff, our clubs and our partners who have been on the front lines as this action endorses what we’ve been saying all along – MVP is a damaging and inappropriate project.

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to tour the area where the pipeline will be located. The tour – with several ATC staff, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, former RATC president and long-time pipeline opponent Diana Christopulos, a representative from FERC, and representatives from MVP and its contractors – was, quite frankly, sickening.  The damage this project has made to the A.T. and to the communities around Roanoke is undeniable – and we’ve yet to see the worst part when the gashes become wider and the pipeline is installed. Already, dozens of huge earthmovers have torn down broad swaths of trees on the steep mountainsides and bright yellow do-not-cross police tape is evident, a leftover of the public protests that included people sitting in trees.  On our tour, we ran into several A.T. hikers who seemed confused and dismayed.   While I could go on about my impressions of that tour, I will stop and let you know that ATC is committed to doing whatever we can in monitoring, mitigating and, perhaps, seeing this bad project fully stopped.

 Legislation that could address some of the issues we are facing

Please know that we are also working with congressional leaders on the Pipeline Fairness and Transparency Act, and collaborating and communicating with our partners and allies.  While not much legislation is passing in Congress, ATC has not given up.   We hope you will continue to stand strong with us.  Again, thank you for your earnest and timely support of this initiative and all you do for the Trail.

 Suzanne Dixon, President & CEO. Appalachian Trail Conservancy

AMC: First in conservation - Reaffirming our Values

As the nation’s oldest conservation and recreation organization, the Appalachian Mountain Club’s conservation leadership is needed more today than at any point in our history. From conservation policy and trail stewardship to science-based advocacy and protecting our outdoor places, AMC’s time to lead is now.

I have been asked by many people – AMC members and the general public – about how AMC will lead in conservation during these turbulent times.

 Given threats with the potential to undermine or overturn the good work we have done on everything from air quality to public lands protection, it is important for us to reaffirm our role as a conservation leader.

In the weeks and months ahead, I ask for your support in making America’s great outdoors the best it can be: open to all, protected from unwise development, and naturally clean and healthy for generations to come.

We hope to engage you in this important conservation work. Some of our key strategic themes for conservation leadership include:

Science-based. AMC will continue to lead on the policy and advocacy front backed-up and supported by science. Our positions are more persuasive because they are supported by our well-known conservation science and research. In addition to a legacy that includes monitoring the impacts of weather and climate in the Northeast’s alpine zone for almost 100 years, AMC’s research department continues to build its capabilities in other areas, including energy project siting and sustainable forestry.

Outdoor Citizenship We will engage and rally public support. In a time when many may question whether conservation is a priority, it is critical for citizens to stand-up for the outdoors. In addition to opportunities to galvanize people around policy priorities, we will work to engage people in understanding science, sharing knowledge and love of the natural world, and in leadership opportunities. As our region’s premier trails organization, we will maintain, build, and steward a vibrant trails network to connect people to the beauty and wonder of the outdoors.

Speaking-Out. We will speak-out and defend our public lands and waters. These special places belong to all Americans and once they are destroyed there is no going back. AMC will lead the way in these efforts, like we have against the threat of the Northern Pass transmission project in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. This mission-centric policy work will include our efforts in cities, suburban areas, and our long-standing work in rural and wilderness areas.

Advocate. We will advocate for public funding and appropriate management policies to secure wise stewardship of the outdoors. We will speak up to strengthen our regional trails network and to create new trails connections. We will work in coalitions to advance important programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund. We will work to advance projects and policies that expand recreation opportunities, preserve natural areas, foster landscapes that mitigate against the effects of climate change, and lower green-house gas emissions.

Maine Woods. AMC has taken an incredible leadership role to preserve, protect and enact AMC’s 75,000 acre Maine Woods. With nearly $70,000,000 invested, this is AMC’s biggest conservation effort and a world class conservation model. AMC will work to protect this critical wilderness region and ensure that the Maine Woods leads in sustainable forestry, eco-tourism, outdoor recreational infrastructure, environmental education and conservation stewardship.

Together we have an unprecedented leadership opportunity to elevate the conversation on conservation in our region, in our nation, and around the world. Thank you for your continued support, encouragement, and hard work, and for helping AMC lead in conservation for our next 141 years.

--  John D. Judge, AMC President


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