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Virginia Water Control Board ignores citizen concerns, expert comments and approves controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline 


I can’t tell you how much this pisses me off. Check out the following statement from Appalachian Voices and Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights.

Virginia Water Control Board ignores citizen concerns, expert comments and approves controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline 

Today the Virginia Water Control Board approved the permit for the proposed fracked-gas Mountain Valley Pipeline that would run 300 miles from West Virginia through six counties of Virginia. The 5-2 vote came after a full day of public comment yesterday from about 85 people, almost of them of landowners and experts arguing against the pipeline based on its unprecedented impacts on streams, rivers, drinking water supplies, wetlands and groundwater. Communities and organizations have been fighting the controversial project since it first proposed in 2014.

Tom Cormons, Executive Director of Appalachian Voices, a leading nonprofit advocate for healthy communities and just economies in Appalachia.

“We are thoroughly disappointed by the board’s decision. Thousands voiced their opposition to this pipeline based on evidence that it cannot be built without violating the federal Clean Water Act and the board’s obligation under Virginia law. DEQ created a rushed, haphazard process, limited the scope of the board’s review, and abdicated the state’s authority to the Corps of Engineers for oversight of pipeline construction at almost 400 water crossings.

We applaud the efforts of several members who expressed concern that the draft permit would not provide reasonable assurance, as required by law, that water quality would be protected, and particularly we applaud members Nissa Dean and Roberta Kellam who cast the two dissenting votes.

“The board should have rejected the permit today because they lacked enough information to make a reasoned decision. Instead, it approved an utterly deficient permit.

“The record demonstrates this project would ultimately violate the law. We are considering all options and expect the outcome will be determined in the courts.

If the company breaks ground on the project, citizens along the entire route are prepared to watchdog every action, along every mile, every day of construction and afterwards, and compel agencies to act when violations inevitably occur.

“Next week, the board will be presented with an equally deficient permit for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and should exercise its full authority to reject the permit.”

Roberta Bondurant, steering council of Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights, a coalition of grassroots groups along the route of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline:

“The board failed in declining to exercise its authority of review and supervision in pumping the brakes on this process, so as to allow ample time to gather more information on which to make a decision.  The board’s inquiries today highlight the massive chasm of information and understanding lacking in its review process– which reaffirmed the imperative to deny the project  or opt for further inquiry. Grave concerns persist regarding water sources and geography implicated by proposed construction, of the proper use, benefit and details of water monitoring programs, and of the shocking lack of financial protection and bonding options for communities and individuals in this proposed project.

“The people of Virginia will continue to fight what amounts to a huge experiment of industrial development and the impacts on  land, water and people. No doubt the challenge to natural gas in Virginia is a marathon–there are other permits, legal challenges– a multitude of hurdles ahead for the MVP. For our great places, our clean water, our children and for generations after them–we will carry on.”

  • I had the same thought, but Brennan Gilmore’s tweets really nail it.


  • From Del. Sam Rasoul:


    ROANOKE, VA – Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke City) condemns the decision to approve the Mountian Valley Pipeline by the State Water Control Board.

    “The decision by the State Water Control Board abdicated their responsibility to protect Virginia’s water sources,” stated Rasoul. “The Mountian Valley Pipeline will cross the Roanoke River and its tributaries over 100 times. I am disappointed in their decision to overlook the safety of our drinking water as they are obligated to do per the Clean Water Act. I highly condemn their decision.”

  • dirich

    I arrived at 7 a.m. to stand in line to testify yesterday. Doors opened at 8:30, but we started lining up early to be sure to have a speaking slot. When I drove onto the meeting site, I couldn’t believe the number of police cars with flashing lights parked at all entrances and in the parking lot as well as a big black tactical vehicle several feet from the building. Police were running around dressed in black with weapons and shields. The average age of speakers was definitely over 60, and probably, over 65. Many were women. We sort of thought it was funny, but mainly we were indignant that we, average citizens of the state who want to protect our water, land, and health, were being treated as violent agitators. We asked the policemen why so many police, and his only answer was that he had to protect those of us who were there early from line-breakers. We were polite, but felt like laughing in his face. Good thing “bad guys” weren’t around watching this policing fiasco because it would have been a great time to commit crimes. Every Henrico cop and many Virginia State Police must have been assigned to the venue to “protect whom???” BTW, most of us knew the others in line since we have worked together for three years to try to get the state to protect our rights and our health, so line breaking wasn’t going to be a critical problem. And the police, while they were there, stood around in clumps and appeared to waste time talking to each other. Wonder if our Guv sent them, hoping there might be an incident that he could use to brand us as crazies.

    Speaking as a Democratic activist about the guv, he is living in a dream world if he thinks he will ever be considered for higher office. All of us whom he ignored and had his administration treat badly when we merely asked for fairness have long memories. Sure, there are other reasons why he would not be a good candidate such as his close ties with the presently unpopular Clintons and his reputation as a shady businessman, but there are many of us who are Democrats or progressives who not only will not vote for him, but also won’t ever lift a finger to help him.

    • Yeah, I certainly will NOT be supporting TMac for any future political office. And like you, I have a long memory….