8/1/2018 Launch Press Release

Clean Air and Water Advocates Launch Pipeline Monitoring Effort

Group Will Watch Atlantic Coast Pipeline Construction for Environmental Protection Violations

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Doug Jackson, Sierra Club, 202.495.3045, doug.jackson@sierraclub.org

Forrest English, Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper, 252.946.7211, pamtarrk@soundrivers.org

Christine Ellis, Executive Director, Winyah Rivers, 843.267.3161, christine@winyahrivers.org

Kemp Burdette, Cape Fear Riverkeeper, 910.264.8036, kemp@cfrw.us

RALEIGH, NC -- Today, a group of clean air and water advocates announced they would monitor construction of the fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) for violations of commonsense environmental protections required by state and federal permits. Trained volunteers and staff with the Sierra Club, Sound Rivers, Winyah Rivers and Cape Fear River Watch will monitor ACP construction activities by water, land, and air to ensure potential violations are reported to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The initiative will be known as the North Carolina Pipeline Watch (NCPW).

“The fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline is designed to maximize profits for polluting corporations, while our environmental safeguards are designed to protect our people and communities,” said Kelly Martin, Director of the Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign for the Sierra Club. “We helped launch the initiative to ensure the ACP doesn’t get away with violating the commonsense environmental protections that keep our air and water clean,” she added.

The NCPW is partly modeled on the Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative, a program in Virginia that uses volunteer observers and local residents to find suspected regulatory compliance violations and report them to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. A similar effort recently created enough public pressure in Virginia to halt construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in that state after reporting more than 150 violations to the VA DEQ.

Volunteers will observe the pipeline route by foot, boat, and airplane in order to spot suspected violations, and look for spills and pollution. There is also a form online at www.ncpipelinewatch.org so residents in the path of the pipeline can report problems they find on their property or sign up to host a training near them. Experts will review the submissions and report confirmed violations to DEQ for enforcement.

“We can’t have companies trafficking in fracked gas playing fast and loose with measures that protect our communities and waterways from pollution like ACP has in other states,” said Forrest English, Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper. “Our goal is to hold ACP accountable every step of the way,” he added.

“We’re disappointed that construction of this risky and unnecessary fracked gas pipeline has been approved but we will continue to advocate and engage our community to protect the precious water resources of the Lumber River watershed through monitoring and enforcement of requirements,” said Christine Ellis, Executive Director of Winyah Rivers Foundation.

“Threats to waterways from a construction project of this size will be enormous. If history is a guide, failures will happen. Our volunteers will be watching the project carefully, reporting violations in an effort to protect our waterways and hold the ACP accountable,” said Kemp Burdette, Cape Fear Riverkeeper.

The organizations involved in the effort include Sierra Club, Sound Rivers, Winyah Rivers Foundation, and Cape Fear River Watch.


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

About Sound Rivers

Sound Rivers is a place based conservation organization representing over 3,000 members with a mission to monitor and protect the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River watersheds covering nearly one quarter of North Carolina, and to preserve the health and beauty of the river basins through environmental justice. For more information, visit www.soundrivers.org.

About Winyah Rivers Foundation

Winyah Rivers' mission is to protect, preserve, monitor and revitalize the health of the lands and waters of the greater Winyah Bay watershed. This 11,700 square mile basin originates in southeastern North Carolina, discharges to Winyah Bay in South Carolina and includes the Waccamaw, Lumber-Little Pee Dee, Pee Dee, Lynches and Black River watersheds. We are advocates for clean water and healthy ecosystems and are involved in matters related to restoration and protection of these public trust waters through advocacy and action. For more information, visit www.winyahrivers.org.

About Cape Fear River Watch

Cape Fear River Watch (CFRW) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1993 by a group of local citizens concerned about the future of our River and our Region. This small grassroots beginning was dedicated to improving and preserving the health, beauty, cleanliness, and heritage of the Cape Fear River basin. We aim to protect and improve the water quality of the Lower Cape Fear River Basin through education, advocacy, and action. For more information, visit www.capefearriverwatch.org.