The NC Alliance to Protect Our People and the Places We Live was formed in late 2016.
Our first project in November of 2016 was helping organize a day of simultaneous marches in Nash, Cumberland, and Robeson Counties (NC) in opposition to the pipeline.
APPPL’s goal at its founding was to facilitate statewide resistance to Duke Energy’s and Dominion Energy’s joint Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. Duke Energy, the world’s largest utility after its merger with Progress Energy, has for years provided North Carolina with reliable electricity. But in that time it has also corrupted NC politics. Duke has inflicted environmental damage across the state through its dumping of toxic coal ash from its many coal fired power plants, thereby poisoning rivers, public water supplies, wells, and families and communities. As a regulated monopoly Duke has been allowed to extract huge profits from ratepayers (the public) and these profits in turn have allowed it to develop a stranglehold over state government. In 2012 a former 28-year Duke employee, Pat McCrory, was elected governor while other former Duke employees were elevated to important roles in state regulatory agencies. Tax credits for wind and solar installations, which compete with Duke, have been eliminated while third party sales of electricity remain illegal.
In the last few years Duke has announced plans to install approximately 12,000 megawatts of fracked gas power plants which will wed the state to fossil fuels for another half century, well past the time when climate change and global warming will become irreversible. In order to supply gas for the new plants Duke has (falsely) claimed that it must build the $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline. During construction the ACP will disturb over thirteen thousand acres of land, including farms, wetlands, rivers, mountains, and public parks and forest land. And once built it will endanger homes, churches, schools and businesses along its 550 mile route. Duke has also falsely claimed that fracked gas is “cleaner” than coal. While it is true that gas burns cleaner than coal, because of methane leaks in extraction, transport and combustion, the gas turns out overall to be a more potent driver of climate change than coal.
APPPL’s Next Large Project Was A Walk Along The Pipeline’s Entire Proposed Route
In March 2017 we organized a two week, 180 mile walk from the Virginia border to the ACP’s nominal end in Robeson County. A core group completed every step of the journey and were joined by more than three hundred day walkers along the way for shorter sections. Walkers staged public rallies and educational events in communities along the path and received coverage from local and national media.
We built upon relationships we developed during the Walk in the eight directly impacted counties (Northampton, Hallifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland, and Robeson) and helped to facilitate landowner contact with the newly installed Cooper administration. We also dug into the minutiae of the ACP’s required water permit application to the state Department of Environmental Quality.
In September of 2017 APPPL took dramatic action on DEQ’s front doorstep in Raleigh with a two week long, continuous water-only fast dubbed the “Fast To Support DEQ”. Rain or shine, our fasters on the sidewalk spoke each day with reporters, DEQ staff, and Cooper administration officials, making the case for denial of the ACP’s 401 water permit application.
Our Current Work
The ACP’s permit applications are entering their final phase with a final decision expected from the state by May or before. We will continue to pressure state officials to deny these permits. APPPL is also exploring other avenues for slowing or halting the ACP including supporting those seeking legal relief and, if necessary, nonviolent direct action. No matter the state’s decision this spring, our efforts to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will continue.