Atlantic Coast Pipeline Threatens Shenandoah River

The proposed construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would impact the headwaters of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.

Earlier this spring, Dominion asked the Virginia Outdoors Foundation to abandon its stewardship role on 10 protected private properties (totaling 4,567 acres) in western Virginia to make way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. This is a transmission line to get fracked gas out of Pennsylvania and West Virginia and ship it down to North Carolina and Portsmouth, Virginia. If constructed, this pipeline will traverse the South River, one of two rivers that join up down by Waynesboro to form the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. 

We are opposed to the construction of the pipeline because we do not believe it can be built without hurting the habitat of a number of endangered species including the Virginia Big-Eared bat and the habitat of several other species by fragmenting the forest, isolating populations and increasing forest edge that threaten the survival of these species. This fragmentation also promotes invasive species and the spread of disease in the George Washington National Forest.

Finally, sedimentation caused by construction could threaten the water quality especially those of special concern such as native brook trout streams and the headwater streams that supply the water used by the Shenandoah Valley as well as destroying what makes the Shenandoah Valley so beautiful and special.

In its 50 year history, Virginia Outdoors Foundation has only granted such diversions 14 times. These tend to be very small acreages for projects that are clearly in the public interest, such as a sliver of land for VDOT to create a turning lane or replace a dangerous bridge.

Dominion has gone too far with this unprecedented request. Virginia Outdoors Foundation should not be asked to allow destruction of conservation values on these properties and risk damaging its relationship with current and future easement landowners to build an unneeded pipeline that offers no local benefits and puts special cultural and ecological landscapes at risk.

Opposition to ACP is Building

For a project this big, it takes several organizations, businesses, and people across two states to organize an opposition. The Allegheny Blue-Ridge Alliance (ABRA) is a coalition of 50 organizations founded in September 2014 to oppose the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Shenandoah Riverkeeper, James River Association, and Waterkeepers Chesapeake are active in this coalition. Visit ABRA’s website to follow the latest developments:

The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC) is an organization of citizen volunteers, conservation groups, and environmental scientists convened in response to Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline across the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests and the adjacent mountains and valleys. Its primary focus is the approximately 120-mile segment of the proposed pipeline route from the Tygart River in Randolph County, West Virginia to the James River in Nelson County, Virginia. DPMA has produced a series of story maps on the negative impacts of the ACP. For more info, visit:

What You Can Do

Urge Virginia Outdoors Foundation to:

  • support the clean water, wildlife habitat, working farmland, rural character, and scenic views protected by the conservation easements, and
  • preserve the essential trust that exists between landowners and VOF, critical to the future of land conservation in Virginia.

Send a copy to your state legislator. Comments must include the sender’s name, address, and daytime phone number for VOF to include in public record. Visit DPMC’s story map on Dominion’s Pipeline Threatens Protected Private Land.

Ms. Stephanie Ridder, Chairman
c/o Brett Glymph, Executive Director
Virginia Outdoors Foundation
39 Garrett St., Suite 200
Warrenton, VA 20186

UPDATE [09.12.2016] A new study of the mid-Atlantic’s demand for natural gas reveals that two proposed and highly controversial interstate pipelines are not needed because existing pipelines can supply more than enough fuel to power the region through 2030.