Mountain Valley Pipeline
I oppose the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. While most every energy project has both pros and cons, in the case of these two pipelines, the benefits accrue almost entirely to a few large energy firms, leaving farmers, residents and ratepayers with little more than risk and harm. Specifically, I have spoken out against the MVP and the ACP because:
- Farmers and landowners should not be forced to give up their private property unless a project has clear and widespread public benefit. Neither the MVP nor the ACP meet this standard, so the use or threat of eminent domain has been unjustified.
- In addition to the loss of farmland, forest land, and other private property, the pipelines also present threats to our water supply and damage to tourism resources. The track records of some of the companies involved with these pipelines – substantial erosion, sedimentation and other damage that was not properly mitigated – should have been a red flag for Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality.
- Because of the guaranteed ‘return on investment’ which FERC provides to investors in pipeline projects, there is a strong likelihood that ratepayers will pick up the tab through higher utility bills.
- Spending nearly $9 billion dollars on gas line infrastructure for which there is no clear demand or public benefit is more than wasteful. This massive outlay will be a “sunk cost”, one that the utility companies will almost surely use both to justify higher rates and to delay serious investment in renewable energy and changes to the grid needed to expand renewables.
As a congressman, I will work to bring more transparency to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, along with other changes to FERC:
- Insist that pipeline projects be reviewed not in isolation, but together, in order to determine when such projects really are necessary and in the public benefit
- Reduce the guaranteed rate of return provided to utility companies and investors to ensure that they too share in the risks, rather than being assured profitability
- Reduce the ‘revolving door’ at FERC, so that Commissioners cannot leave their role as public regulators only to assume high paying jobs with the gas and energy firms they had been, theoretically, overseeing
- Push for expansion of renewable energy, and much needed changes to our electric grid to both expand local jobs and reduce the vulnerability of our grid