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Letters to the Editor for Friday, January 31, 2020

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Writer: Need for ACP vanishes

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring recently filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Fourth Circuit court’s decision that vacated the permit allowing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail. All Virginians concerned about the serious harms the ACP would have for the environment, electricity ratepayers and property owners should join me in thanking Attorney General Herring.

Herring’s brief goes straight to the heart of the matter: whether the gas the ACP would transport is needed. In its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Dominion claimed that demand for gas for generating electricity, the stated purpose for most of the gas in the ACP, would grow by 6.3 percent annually between 2014 and 2050.

Herring’s brief notes that in the years since Dominion filed for a FERC permit, reputable analyses have undercut this claim. It points out the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2017 prediction that demand for natural gas for generating electricity would actually decrease until 2020 and not return to 2015 levels until 2034. Dominion’s prediction of rapidly and steadily rising demand was further weakened in 2018 when the State Corporation Commission forced the utility to use the lower projections of the regional grid manager (based on observed trends) in its annual planning report. This unprecedented action strongly called into question Dominion’s story about the ACP.

And yet, despite losing its justification for need as well as eight permits, the ACP continues to linger, threatening all in its path. At a time when climate change has finally emerged as a high-priority policy concern, when solar and wind are cost-competitive with coal and gas, when utility stakeholders at all levels are clamoring for renewable energy and when the worldwide investment community is moving away from fossil fuels ... at a time like this, why is Dominion still pushing the pipeline? The obvious answer: It’s hard to stop doing the things that have produced so much profit for so many years.

This misbegotten project should be stopped. Please join me in thanking Attorney General Herring for this important step in the right direction on ACP.



Council applauded on 2A vote

In her excellent Jan. 21 letter, Penny Millson-Martula wrote that The News & Advance article on the Jan. 14 City Council meeting on a “Second Amendment sanctuary” resolution “makes it appear that they [pro-gun attendees] are the majority of voters in this issue regardless of what may or may not be the case.”

Taking this a step further, the best measure of Lynchburg opinion on this issue is the November 2019 legislative elections.

It was known that if Democrats took control of the legislature,they would pass new gun laws. Democratic candidates contested three of the four districts that are partly in Lynchburg (Senate 22, House 22 and House 23). Although Democrats did not win the three districts, two of the Democratic candidates won the most votes in the parts of their districts in Lynchburg. Adding together the Lynchburg votes in all three districts, the three Democratic candidates combined won more votes than their opponents combined.

There is no evidence that the pro-gun speakers and attendees at the City Council meeting spoke for a majority of Lynchburg voters. On the contrary, the best evidence we have is that a majority of Lynchburg voters are likely to support new gun laws.

Statewide, in the Dec. 16, 2019, Christopher Newport University poll, 86 percent of voters support background checks on all gun sales, 73 percent support a “red flag” law and 54 percent support banning assault-style weapons.

Five members of City Council voted against making Lynchburg a “Second Amendment sanctuary city.” If this is an issue in future City Council elections, Lynchburg voters are more likely to support those five members, as they should.



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