Is the pressure against Dominion Power’s proposed natural gas pipelines – Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast – working? According to Mike Tidwell of the kickass Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), massive public pressure on “huge supporter” Terry McAuliffe and other has led to a “basic concession” by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality — which “has finally agreed to conduct individualized reviews of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline to determine whether they comply with state and federal water quality standards.” Remember, these pipelines are bad ideas from almost any perspective you look at them: 1) the are strongly opposed by Virginians, according to this poll; 2) they are a massive boondoggle of new, potentially “stranded” fossil fuel assets; and 3) they are environmentally a really bad way to go, given the nasty impacts of fracking on the environment.
Today we heard good news in the fight against the massive fracked gas pipelines proposed for Virginia. The Department of Environmental Quality, under Governor Terry McAuliffe, has finally agreed to conduct individualized reviews of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline to determine whether they comply with state and federal water quality standards. Importantly, these individual reviews will allow citizens and experts to be heard as part of the process.
Governor McAuliffe, unfortunately, is a huge supporter of these controversial pipelines. And his DEQ — until today — has shown very little interest in doing anything but rubber stamping the pipelines. But today, after enormous pressure from landowners, legal experts, environmental groups, and others, the DEQ has relented. It is incredible that is has taken years to get DEQ to commit to this basic public right. But as of today DEQ will review each pipeline’s impact to water quality while also allowing the public to weigh in. (See below).
We are confident that a full-fledged review of the projects will show that there is no way they can be built and operated without harming water quality. Allowing public input will further highlight the enormous public opposition to the MVP and ACP. Learn more about the dangers of these pipelines here.
Rest assured that, without the growing public movement to stop these pipelines over the past 2.5 years, this basic concession from the Governor and DEQ would not have happened. Many thanks to everyone who’s worked to bring environmental justice to these massive and misguided pipeline proposals.
We look forward to the public comment process and will keep you informed on all fronts.
Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
April 6, 2017Contact: Bill Hayden
RICHMOND, VA. — In keeping with Governor McAuliffe’s commitment that the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines will be constructed in the most environmentally protective manner, the Department of Environmental Quality has notified ACP and MVP that in addition to utilizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers nationwide permit 12 for wetland and stream crossings, DEQ will be requiring individual 401 water quality certifications for each project.
These certifications will ensure that Virginia water quality standards are maintained in all areas affected by the projects. The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on these certifications and the conditions required to protect water quality. DEQ also will hold public hearings on the draft certifications. Once the comment period has concluded the proposed final certifications will be brought before the State Water Control Board.