[Note from Bold: Richard’s family are landowners on the Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipeline route in Virginia, and are deeply involved with other landowners in Bold’s federal litigation targeting FERC’s eminent domain abuse.]
Fellow Pipeline Fighters —
This is the fight of our lives, and we are winning.
This is an appeal to raise money for the legal defense of all of our property rights, and I’ll explain why this specific fight is worth your support and investment.
We are seeing great success in the courts thanks to the tireless work by dozens of attorneys at Appalachian Mountain Advocates, Sierra Club, Southern Environmental Law Center, Wild Virginia, Appalachian Voices, and several landowner law firms. These organizations are heroes in this fight and deserve our support. The recent revocation of USFS and NFS permits opens the door to hold our agencies accountable to represent the people, and gives us time to have our day in court on fundamental critical issues that get the to very heart of our constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on our own properties.
The Bold Appalachia Landowners Alliance (BALA) is involved in multiple court cases to stop the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipelines.  One of those efforts — brought exclusively by BALA — is aimed at challenging the very root cause of this abuse at the federal level. BALA’s legal arguments in that lawsuit, currently in federal district court in D.C., include challenges to:
- the constitutionality of using eminent domain for private, for-profit motives (including gas exports by private companies) rather than for truly public interests;
- the power to seize land (including by so-called “quick-takes”) before giving landowners due process; FERC’s practice of issuing “conditional permits” that allow land seizures before the conditions — such as obtaining and maintaining state and federal permits — are actually met;
- FERC’s issuance of “blanket certificates” that allow the pipeline companies to take additional property rights without going the full FERC permitting process;
- and FERC’s interpretations of the Natural Gas Act, as FERC has applied this law in ways that allow and encourage abuses that Congress never intended.
These are BOLD arguments.
Winning on any one of them could change the law and forever stop the abusive practices of these energy companies nationwide. This BALA suit is not just for us; it is for every American citizen in the crosshairs of greed-driven, state-sponsored theft of our property.
Along with other parties, Bold has also appealed the issuance of the FERC certificates themselves.
The challenge to MVP’s certificate is currently in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and the appeal of ACP’s certificate is also in the works.
Bold’s legal team consists of FERC veteran Carolyn Elefant and constitutional law and eminent domain champion Chris Johns and his firm. Between them, they have donated hundreds of hours of time and billed us only a fraction of their rates because they believe in the justice of these claims and care deeply about our community and the importance of winning this fight.
Still, we cannot ask them to work for free. We need to raise $75,000 to support the legal battle on these statutory and constitutional issues through the courts of appeals.
The BALA lawsuit challenging the FERC system includes dozens of brave families whose land is directly in the path of the MVP or ACP and who have pledged to not settle at any price.
Can you help sponsor a family or part of a family in the BALA suit?
If we raised just $40 for every family whose land is directly affected along the route, we could cover BALA’s outstanding legal expenses to date.
There has never been a resistance so strong and so early in a pipeline fight. We have an unprecedented opportunity to take this case to the court of appeals now, before the pipelines have been built and even before they cut trees on hundreds of miles of private and public land.
This fight could save our precious resources and treasured properties and establish the legal basis to prevent this from happening to thousands of other Americans.
We are making history and showing that the people, not the corporations, indeed have the real power in a real democracy.
I thank you for your support.
Richard Averitt, landowner in Nelson County, Virginia for Bold Alliance
 “Landowners Sue FERC to Stop Eminent Domain for Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines,” BoldAlliance.org, 9/5/17.
 “Landowners v. FERC Litigation Update,” BoldAlliance.org, 10/3/18.