Calgary-based AltaGas subsidiary a partner in building the Mountain Valley fracked gas pipeline in the United States

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Ojibwe water protector Tara Houska locked on to construction equipment at a Mountain Valley Pipeline site, October 16, 2023.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is a 482 kilometre (300 mile) pipeline being built across West Virigina and Virginia to transport fracked gas. WGL Midstream, a subsidiary of Calgary-based AltaGas, owns 10 per cent of this USD $6.6 billion pipeline.

The Natural Resources Defense Council says: “It has been estimated that the full life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (excluding construction emissions) generated by the MVP mainline alone would be almost 90 million metric tons annually. This is equivalent to the emissions from 23 average U.S. coal plants.”

We note that Appalachians Against Pipelines has posted:

Their tweet includes this link that provides information on Project Partners, Top U.S. Banks Behind MVP, Top Investors, and Main Contractors.

The Appalachians Against Pipelines webpage notes that MVP is a joint venture between 5 corporations that includes: “WGL Midstream/AltaGas. They have 10% ownership over the project. WGL Midstream is a subsidiary of Canadian company AltaGas.”

This relationship is confirmed in this July 2018 media release: “AltaGas Ltd. (AltaGas) (TSX: ALA) announced today the closing of its approximately $9 billion acquisition of WGL Holdings, Inc. (WGL), creating a North American leader in the clean energy economy.” The AltaGas website also notes: “In the northeastern U.S., our Midstream segment also includes investments in the Mountain Valley Pipeline (currently under construction).”

Protests against the construction of the MVP pipeline

On September 8, 2023, The Guardian reported: “According to Scientist Rebellion, a coalition of scientists who are actively protesting against climate change, over two dozen work stoppages such as lockdowns, rallies and walk-ons have taken place at the Mountain Valley pipeline construction site in the past two months.”

That article in The Guardian noted the arrest of two people that week, including climate scientist Rose Abramoff, who “is believed to be the first American climate scientist to risk a felony in an act of climate protest against fossil fuel projects.”

The following month, on October 16, 2023, three people were arrested including Ojibwe water protector Tara Houska, who was charged with trespassing.

MVP and white phosphorous

Appalachians Against Pipelines photo: “MVP would supply gas to the Pentagon and the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, which is operated by BAE Systems – a corporation that supplies Israel with white phosphorus & other weapons.”

CBS News has explained: “Because of its incendiary effects, the use of phosphorus in war is supposed to be tightly regulated under international law — but it is not banned. Phosphorus is not classed as a chemical weapon under the Chemical Weapons Convention. When used as a weapon, it can cause fire to rain down on targets, inflicting indiscriminate damage. It is illegal, therefore, for phosphorus to be used near civilians, because international law requires that combatants distinguish between civilian and military elements.”

In mid-October, Amnesty International stated: “Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Programme gathered compelling evidence documenting the use of white phosphorus artillery shells by the Israeli army in densely populated civilian areas in Gaza, many of which may be considered unlawful indiscriminate attacks.”

MVP and US military bases

This Mountain Valley Pipeline fact sheet says: “Mountain Valley Pipeline is proud to transport natural gas supplies that can be used as an energy source for various U.S. military locations … The Radford Army Ammunition Plant is within 10 miles from MVP’s route and can be directly served by the pipeline or through the local gas distribution company.”

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has also noted: “The Radford Army Ammunition Plant (RAAP) in Radford produces rocket and gun propellants. …The plant is the only active military propellant manufacturing center in the country.” And the Virginia Mercury has previously also reported that “BAE Systems, the private contractor that operates the plant — regularly listed as Virginia’s biggest polluter”.

BAE says: “The Radford Army Ammunition Plant is capable of producing mass quantities of solvent and solventless propellants to support direct fire, indirect fire, and rocket applications. The facility uses a variety of ingredients in its propellant-making process, including nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose.”

Tracing white phosphorous

BAE Systems says: “We do not manufacture white phosphorous and have confirmed our intention to cease the supply of products containing white phosphorous to customers.” They do not elaborate further on their “supply of products containing white phosphorous.”

Earlier this month, the Arkansas Times reported that “Arkansas’s Pine Bluff Arsenal [is] the only remaining manufacturer of white phosphorus munitions in North America.”

That article also references this Amnesty International report from October 11, 2023, that includes this image:

This month, The Jacobin reported: “Unionists from the Catalan Trade Unions Association protested Israel Chemical Limited–Iberia, a subsidiary of ICL Group, which provides Monsanto (now Bayer) with phosphates to produce white phosphorus for the US military, which in turn supplies it to Israel.”

Workers in Palestine has also further elaborated: “Israel Chemical Ltd (ICL, now ICL Group) provides Monsanto (now Bayer) with phosphates for the production of the white phosphorus chemical provided to Pine Bluff Arsenal (PBA) near Little Rock, Arkansas, for filling.”

We continue to follow this with concern.

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