The Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) is a project of the NC Alliance to Protect Our People and Places We Live.

LEAF was established to support APPPL’s ongoing mission of halting the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline through the empowerment of local communities to protect their homes and environment. LEAF’s purpose is to provide funding for legal education and action on the local level to help accomplish APPPL goals.

In APPPL’s view, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a massive fracked gas project that would condemn North Carolina to at least thirty years’ energy dependence on methane, an uneconomic, price-volatile fossil fuel whose continued development will result in unavoidable climate change and extreme weather. There will not be sufficient incentive for North Carolina to move rapidly to clean and renewable sources of electrical power if a second major gas pipeline is built here.

The incentive for the creation of LEAF is the need for effective community response to aggressive and coercive tactics of the pipeline’s developers, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy, to force landowners to sell land or otherwise lose the value of homes and property as a result of the abuse of eminent domain laws. LEAF’s creation is also a result of the two companies’ applications for major infrastructure features (i.e, metering stations, towers, compressor stations) along the pipeline route.  These proposed facilities cannot meet all four legal criteria and requirements for conditional and special use permits in North Carolina. In spite of this, permit applications for the pipeline and the additional structures are not being appropriately reviewed based on findings of fact through approved processes in a quasi-judicial manner as required by law. In response, the first local petition and lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of Robeson County on October 6, 2016 against the Robeson County Board of Commissioners and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Funds raised through LEAF will be used to support this first legal action. In the future, LEAF will continue to help educate and protect the public from further deployment of unnatural, fracked methane gas infrastructure. This may include subsidizing legal assistance and advocacy as well as educating landowners and communities about their right to resist the misuse of eminent domain laws by public utilities seeking to take land, homes, and buildings involuntarily. Challenging conditional use and special use permit applications by companies championing harmful industrial development is a major interest of the fund.

For more information, contact APPPL by email at info@apppl.org.