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Virginia State Legislators File Comments Urging State Water Control Board to Conduct Stream-By-Stream Analysis of Gas Pipelines’ Impacts on Water Quality

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From Del. Mark Keam’s office, the following is great to see…the letter in particular is superb, really don’t see how anyone can disagree with it! The only thing I’d add is that there should be a lot more than 16 state legislators signing this letter. For instance, where are all the delegates and State Senators from Arlington and Alexandria (other than Del. Alfonso Lopez)? Hampton Roads? Hello? (note: of course, it’s possible that some of these folks weren’t contacted or are on vacation – what a concept, huh? LOL)

Virginia State Legislators File Comments Urging State Water Control Board to Conduct Stream-By-Stream Analysis of Methane Gas Pipelines’ Impacts on Water Quality

RICHMOND – On Friday, June 15, 2018, sixteen members of the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates jointly filed comments with the State Water Control Board in the pending regulatory proceeding on the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposals.

In an unprecedented move, the group representing more than ten percent of the 140 combined members of Virginia’s state legislature expressed “serious concerns about how these projects would have severe negative impacts on Virginia’s water resources.”

These legislators believe that the Commonwealth should fully utilize the legal authority it has under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to protect the water quality in Virginia, rather than simply rely upon the Nationwide Permit 12 issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Nationwide Permit 12 are generally used by the federal  government to handle routine projects that have only minimal effects on water quality.

“Some supporters of pipelines assert that these projects are already approved by the federal government, and so our state has no role,” stated Delegate Mark Keam who helped draft the public comments.  “But the facts and the law are clear – the Commonwealth is responsible for protecting Virginia waters, not some bureaucrats in Washington who have never even visited the hundreds of rivers and streams that these pipelines will cross.”

Keam and other legislators urge the Water Board and the Department of Environmental Quality to conduct stream-by-stream analyses of all proposed crossings in Virginia and to require all necessary standards to protect Virginia’s water uses from dangers of the pipelines, including aquatic life, recreation, wildlife, and drinking water supplies.