Gaslight: The Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Fight for America's Energy Future

Regular price $ 30.00

by Jonathan Mingle

Island Press

5/9/2024, hardcover

SKU: 9781642832488


Imagine one day you receive a letter in the mail that informs you that a large energy company is planning to build a massive pipeline through your property. That surveyors will be coming out soon. That they have the legal right to do so, whether you like it or not, because this project is in the "public interest"--because the pipeline will be carrying natural gas, the so-called "bridge fuel" that politicians on both sides of the aisle have been peddling for decades as the path to a clean, green energy future.

This was the gist of the letter that Dominion Energy sent to thousands of residents living along the path of its proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in 2014, setting off an epic, six-year battle that eventually led all the way to the Supreme Court. That struggle's epicenter was in the mountains of Virginia, where communities stretching from the Blue Ridge foothills to the Shenandoah Valley and the Allegheny highlands became Dominion's staunchest foes. On one side was an archetypal Goliath: a power company that commands billions of dollars, the votes of politicians, and the decisions of the federal government. On the other, an army of Davids: lawyers and farmers, conservationists and conservatives, scientists and nurses, innkeepers and lobbyists, families who farmed their land since before the Revolutionary War and those who were not allowed to until after the Civil War.

At stake was not only the future of the communities that lay in the pipeline's path but the future of American energy. Would the public be swayed by the industry's decades-long public relations campaign to frame natural gas - a fossil fuel and itself a potent greenhouse gas - as a "solution" to climate change? Or would we recognize it as a methane bomb, capable of not only imperiling local property and upending people's lives, but of pushing the planet further down the road towards climate chaos?

Vivid and suspenseful, gut-wrenching and insightful, Gaslight is more than the chronicle of a turning point in American history. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the dark, overlooked story of America's "favorite fossil fuel," and the immense future stakes of the energy choices we face today.


"A stirring account of an epic battle--and a profound glimpse into this crucial moment, when the world is poised between two energy systems. This fine book makes the biggest questions on our planet very local, immediate, and understandable." -- Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

"[This] riveting report on a successful effort to thwart the construction of a natural gas pipeline from West Virginia's fracking fields across Virginia to North Carolina.... [is an] illuminating background on the fossil fuel industry... [and] an impressive account of a David-vs.-Goliath struggle." -- Publishers Weekly, starred

About the Author:

Jonathan Mingle is an independent journalist. He has written about the science and politics of climate change, energy, technology, public health, and other subjects for The New York Review of BooksThe New York TimesUndark MagazineYale Environment 360SlateThe Boston Globe, and other outlets. He is a recipient of the Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism and the Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship. As a 2020 APF fellow, he reported on the political, legal, and grassroots battles over new natural gas (aka methane) infrastructure, and its local impacts and global climate consequences. His first book is Fire and Ice: Soot, Solidarity, and Survival on the Roof of the World.