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Southern terminus of Atlantic Coast Pipeline and industrial hub, USA

Safety concerns with existing and new infrastructure near the pipeline terminus and gas leaks


This point marks the southern terminus of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a project sponsored by electric utilities to transport fracked shale gas from the Appalachian Mountains to the east coast of the United States. The proposed pipeline route crosses through the largest indigenous population in the eastern United States. The federal government's environmental justice analysis identified 30,000 indigenous people living within one mile of the route. These people belong to the Lumbee, Coharie, Haliwa-Saponi, and Meherrin Tribes in the state of North Carolina and to other tribes in the state of Virginia.  Lands to be crossed by the pipeline have been occupied by these tribes since time immemorial, and tribes continue to live in tight-knit, rural communities within these territories today.  One such community is Prospect, the historic Lumbee community where a proposed industrial facility would mark the pipeline's southern terminus.  Although indigenous peoples make up less than 1% of the region's population, the government's analysis shows that they make up a much larger proportion of the population living along the pipeline route (>5% overall, 13% in North Carolina).  

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Southern terminus of Atlantic Coast Pipeline and industrial hub, USA
Country:United States of America
State or province:North Carolina
Location of conflict:Pembroke
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Shale gas fracking
Specific commodities:Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposes to transport 1,500,000,000 cubic feet of fracked shale gas per day, with an option to increase capacity to 2,000,000,000 cubic feet per day. Developers report that 80% of the gas will be used to produce electricity.

Project area:10,000
Level of Investment:7,800,000,000.00
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/01/2015
Company names or state enterprises:Dominion Energy from United States of America - Co-Owner
Southern Company Gas from United States of America - Co-owner
Duke Energy from United States of America - Co-Owner
Relevant government actors:United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
United States Environmental Protection Agency
North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Virginia Governor's Advisory Council on Environmental Justice
North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs Environmental Justice Committee
International and Finance InstitutionsBank of America (BofA) from United States of America
JP Morgan Chase (JPM) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:NAACP,
NC Environmental Justice Network:
Clean Water for NC:
Sierra Club:
Appalachian Voices:
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League:
Concerned Stewards of Halifax County
Nash Stop the Pipeline
Wilson County No Pipeline
Cumberland County Caring Voices
Concerned Citizens of Northampton County
Concerned Citizens of Tillery
No Pipeline Johnston County
Friends of Nelson County
Friends of the Earth
Natural Resources Defense Council
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Air pollution, Fires, Global warming, Noise pollution, Soil contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:EJ organizations affiliated with indigenous peoples request halt to pipeline activities until consultation takes place between tribal governments and federal/state actors. Other EJ organizations argue that project is altogether unnecessary and that alternative, renewable energy projects should be pursued instead of fossil fuels.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:There is currently no resolution to the allegations of environmental injustice. The matter is currently pending before the United States Court of Appeals. The project is currently suspended for non-EJ related permitting issues. State lawmakers have joined groups opposing the project. Project developers are contracting with local law enforcement and private security firms to surveil work sites.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

North Carolina Environmental Equity Initiative
[click to view]

US Federal Executive Order 12898
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

S. Wraight et al. Environmental justice concerns and the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline route in North Carolina. (RTI Press Publication No. MR-0037-1803), 2018, RTI Press. DOI: 10.3768/
[click to view]

R. Emanuel, Science, 21 Jul 2017: Vol. 357, Issue 6348, pp. 260 DOI: 10.1126/science.aao2684
[click to view]

Lumbee Tribal Council Resolution: Tribal Consultation and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
[click to view]

M. Finley-Brook et al. Energy Research & Social Science, 1 May 2018, In Press
[click to view]

Amicus brief on environmental justice filed in federal appeals court, April 2019
[click to view]

National Congress of American Indians Resolution: Support for the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe to Protect its Lands, Waters, Sacred Places and Ancestors
[click to view]

"Natural gas building boom fuels climate worries, enrages landowners" Center for Public Integrity / StateImpact Pennsylvania, 17 July 2017
[click to view]

"The South's Pipe Dreams" US News & World Report, 8 March 2018
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, Pipeline Airforce, Citizen Science Initiative
[click to view]

"End of the Line" Podcast series on Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines
[click to view]

"Robeson Rises" Short documentary on Atlantic Coast Pipeline opposition in Robeson County, NC
[click to view]

"Faces of Pain" Short documentary on Atlantic Coast Pipeline impacts on Monacan Tribe
[click to view]

Other documents

Letter from Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, May 2018
[click to view]

Report from Lumbee citizens to Lumbee tribal council on need for culturally-relevant impact assessment, November 2017
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Ryan E. Emanuel, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, ryan_e[email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
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