North Carolina Pipeline Watch (NCPW) Mapping System
Alleghany Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA) and their Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) program has built a new mapping system showing the path of the pipeline that allows us to target pipeline crossings at streams and wetland crossings for monitoring locations.
Since the proposal of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), Sound Rivers has been working to oppose this project as it threatens the most vulnerable communities and ecosystems, and will only further entrench extractive energy industries.
One of the many strategies Sound Rivers has pursued in our opposition to the pipeline is the development of North Carolina Pipeline Watch (NCPW), a community training and monitoring program. NCPW was formed by Sound Rivers in coordination with the Sierra Club, Winyah Rivers Foundation, and Cape Fear River Watch. When construction on the ACP began in North Carolina in 2018, Sound Rivers worked to mobilize and train volunteers through NCPW to monitor construction activities, create infrastructure to collect field reports, and have regional experts bring those issues to the agencies for enforcement. These activities were meant to encourage community members to take action, identify illegal construction practices (e.g., sediment and erosion control violations) detrimental to the health of our waterways, and ultimately stop the construction of the pipeline.
Pipeline construction has been stalled since December 2018 because eight federal and state permits have been vacated by the courts; decisions that the ACP partners are vigorously attacking. Additionally, the fate of the pipeline ultimately hinges on a case heard in the Supreme Court this past February as well as efforts by energy companies’ lobby for federal rule changes in their favor. To date, 6% of the pipeline has been constructed and we fully anticipate that construction could restart in North Carolina in 2020 with the reissuance of a biological opinion by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The ACP partners have prioritized construction in North Carolina once legal hurdles have been cleared.
Sound Rivers paused trainings for NCPW when construction was put on hold over a year ago. Due to the recent Supreme Court hearing and in anticipation of the reissuance of the biological opinion, Sound Rivers and a number of other community and environmental groups including Winyah Rivers Foundation, Cape Fear Riverwatch, Sierra Club, Blue Ridge Alleghany Alliance, and Appalachian Voices have mobilized to re-start NCPW.
Given the current situation around COVID-19, Sound Rivers and our NCPW partners are working on how to make this program, which is centered around engaging with and training volunteers, possible for when construction does resume. We will continue to provide updates on the status of ACP construction and opportunities to be involved in monitoring efforts.