See below for a statement by citizen activists regarding yesterday’s public forum at the Bent Mountain Center in Franklin County, Virginia, featuring former – not reappointed/effectively removed by Gov. Northam back in November – State Water Control Board member Roberta Kellam.
Former SWCB Member Roberta Kellam Lends Her Voice to the Call for Stop Work
Bent Mountain, Virginia — On Wednesday, January 2, 2019, Roberta Kellam fulfilled her promise to see firsthand the harm to water resources caused by the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). Advocates and landowners showed the former State Water Control Board member sites where MVP has violated the terms of the 401 water quality Certification and polluted state waters. Kellam thanked the communities for their exemplary work documenting violations and called on Virginia officials to issue a Stop Work order for all MVP construction activities.
“I deeply appreciate the hard work and commitment of this community in their vigilant oversight of the MVP construction and the resulting harm to Virginia’s water resources. I wish I had the opportunity to visit when I was still a member of the SWCB.” Kellam said as she shared her concerns with the citizens at the Bent Mountain Center. “The Attorney General’s complaint against MVP alleges more than 300 instances of inadequate erosion and sedimentation control measures, and discharges from MVP construction impacted more than 9,400 linear feet of waterways in this community with anywhere from .5 to 11 inches of sediment deposition. Governor Northam should insist on a Stop Work Order and ensure full restoration of the environmental impacts to this community.”
Southwest Virginians from across the pipeline route gathered to hear Kellam publicly highlight that the State Water Control Board’s decision to reconsider the 401 Certification effectuates nothing without a stop work order. Russell Chisholm, Co-Chair of Protect Our Water Heritage Rights (POWHR) expressed gratitude on behalf of all who work with the Mountain Valley Watch monitoring program that Ms. Kellam kept her promise to observe the impacts despite her abrupt dismissal from service on the Water Control Board. “Ms. Kellam is rightly concerned about the continuing harm caused by pipeline construction while both the courts and now the State Water Control Board weigh significant questions.”