Friends of the Earth and Lumber Riverkeeper call on Army Corps of Engineers to stop construction of Robeson LNG Pipeline
WASHINGTON – Friends of the Earth and Lumber Riverkeeper, a part of Winyah Rivers Alliance, are demanding that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers immediately issue a stop work order for the construction of the Robeson LNG (RLNG) Pipeline Project. In a letter sent today to the Corps, the two groups highlight the lack of valid authorization under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The groups also provided written notification to the project proponent, Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. (PNG), a wholly owned subsidiary of Duke Energy.
If built, the RLNG pipeline would be a one billion cubic foot peaking and storage facility located in Robeson County, North Carolina, in a geographic area that is 87.9% Indigenous (predominantly Lumbee) as well as African American.
“The Robeson LNG Pipeline Project stands on very shaky legal ground, and we intend to topple it,” said Donna Chavis, senior fossil fuel campaigner for Friends of the Earth and an elder of the Lumbee Nation “This facility is being built on a foundation of environmental racism during a climate emergency, when investments in fossil fuel infrastructure make no sense financially or ecologically. We are fighting to ensure that Duke Energy’s RLNG meets the same fate as their failed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”
The courts of the United States have explicitly vacated Nationwide Permit 12, a controversial water-crossing permit program, as it relates to the construction of new oil and gas pipelines and have indicated that there is no realistic prospect of reversal. The groups’ letters state that PNG cannot lawfully proceed with dredge and fill activities for construction of the RLNG pipeline and that further authorization fulfilling all applicable environmental laws, including formal Endangered Species Act consultation, will be needed.
“Our communities are already worried about impacts on drinking water from hurricane flooding, industrial pollution, and animal agriculture,” said Jefferson Currie II, the Lumber Riverkeeper with Winyah Rivers Alliance and member of the Lumbee Tribe of NC. “Piedmont Natural Gas’ unnecessary Robeson LNG Project just dumps more pollution in our backyards and waterways. The wetlands in our watershed help decrease flooding from extreme weather events, but the Robeson LNG and four-mile pipeline spur make flooding worse by destroying both swamps and seasonal wetlands. There is no justice when the majority American Indian, African American, and Hispanic communities impacted by the project have been silenced and ignored throughout the process.”
The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina issued a resolution against the Duke-PNG facility in June that stated, “The Agriculture/Natural Resources Committee and the 2020 Lumbee Tribal Council do hereby support the landowners in District 5 of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina in their efforts to preserve their land, their waterways and future generations from the impacts of the placement of the LNG facility.”
Contact: Erin Jensen, (202) 222-0722, [email protected]