Author Archives: Ellen Bouton

Tell Wild Virginia How You Use Water

Wild Virginia is filing comments with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and you can help. They are calling on the DEQ to use their power to protect our water from both the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines.

They can use the stories you provide as part of their legal evidence against the pipelines.

Tell them your stories. Send photos of your streams and give them your written testimony describing the values they hold for you. Describe how sedimentation, the noise and disruption of digging and blasting through streams, removal of forest areas and trees in the floodplain and riparian areas will harm the things you care about. Read more here about how pipelines can harm our national forests.

Please send them your evidence and stories by Sunday, August 20th so they have time to add them to our submission. Email all materials to:

The ways you use and enjoy Virginia’s water are important. All beneficial uses you make of any stream must be protected by the DEQ. Water quality standards must be met so that pipeline construction does not damage these uses. The companies and DEQ describe some of the degradation that will happen in streams as temporary and pretend such damages are acceptable. But water quality standards allow no impairment of your beneficial uses.

In your story you could…

  • Describe ways you use water for recreation:  If you enjoy fishing, swimming, boating, wading, or other activities in a particular stream that would be impacted by either pipeline, please describe how you use that water.
  • Talk about your drinking water supply:  If your water supply flows downstream from potential pipeline construction areas, this may affect the quality of your drinking water, even if it is some distance from the work area or pollution source. Describe how vital your water is and the risks the pipelines pose to the water and your family.
  • Describe your aesthetic enjoyment:  Does a stream or reservoir border your land, a public area you visit, or merely a place you view on a regular basis? If so, you have an interest in the quality of that waterbody. Aesthetic qualities of waterbodies are protected under the Clean Water Act.
  • Talk about how you depend on a stream for a commercial purpose:  Do you have an economic interest in the quality of the water? This could include resort areas, vacation rentals, float guiding, fishing guide operations, etc.

If you prefer, you can also send your comments directly to the DEQ:
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting comments through August 22.

Submit comments for ACP to:

Submit comments for MVP to:

Don’t know what to say? Use the above guidelines to talk about your personal uses of water or see more sample comments here.

Blue Virginia Articles: Doing the Math, Approval Process a “Sham”

Two recent articles from Blue Virginia are particularly interesting:

  • 8-10-17  Dominion Fracked Gas Pipeline Approval Process All a Big “Sham”; “The propaganda of big business is just overpowering.”  The article includes full audio of an August 10, 2017 conference call organized by Interfaith Power and Light about Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, with Rev. Laura Martin, Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ (Arlington), Jamshid Bakhtiari, Virginia Field Coordinator at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), Rev. Morris Fleischer, Newport-Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church (in the path of proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline), and Pastor Paul Wilson, Union Hill & Union Grove Baptist Churches (Buckingham County, in the path of proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline). The article summarizes the comments of the participants and includes a link to the full audio.
  • 8-11-17  Doing the Math: Dominion’s and FERC’s Own Numbers Tell Us the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a Budget Buster. “You don’t need to rely on environmentalists’ climate calculations to know the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is carbon budget buster. Just look at the numbers provided in the past month by Dominion Energy Virginia and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. On July 14th, Dominion responded to interrogatories filed in the matter of the power company’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) now being considered by its regulator, the State Corporation Commission. In its responses, Dominion provided estimated carbon-pollution emissions through the year 2042 for eight different scenarios, Plans A – H. Dominion disclosed that its 2017 carbon pollution emissions will be 40 million tons per year, and that every one of its eight alternative plans will increase carbon pollution over the next 25 years.”

Hands Across the Appalachian Trail

Join us for Hands Across the Appalachian Trail – Blue Ridge Parkway, Saturday August 19, 2016, 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Humpback Rocks Visitor Center, sponsored by the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter and Wild Virginia.

Join hands to protect our land, communities and the Appalachian Trail from the unnecessary and unwanted onslaught of natural gas pipelines. This event features the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s vision to “connect the human spirit with nature – preserving the delicate majesty of the Trail as a haven for all to enjoy.” Everyone should have the opportunity for that experience.

More information here.

Submit Your Comments to DEQ

If you didn’t make it to one of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) hearings, please submit your comments to DEQ on Virginia water quality certifications for the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. Comments will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. on August 22, 2017. There are several ways to submit comments:

Or send comments using multiple methods!

DEQ has posted guidelines on its website about what topics will be considered in written comments.

Need talking points? See the suggested talking points developed by ABRA members Wild Virginia and the Sierra Club – Virginia Chapter.

Harrisonburg DEQ Hearing on ACP 401 Permit

Photo by Lee WIlliams

Around 500 people came to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) hearing in Harrisonburg on the deeply controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline. DEQ recently announced it would require certification of the pipeline under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act rather than just relying on a nationwide permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The draft 401 Certification would establish additional conditions “for activities in upland areas that are located near state waters and that may indirectly affect state water along the route of the project,” conditions including such things as engineering and best practices for steep slopes and slide-prone areas, and environmental monitoring and inspections. State erosion and sediment control and storm water management requirements also must be met by the proposed ACP.

The hearing was the first of three scheduled to take place during the public comment period, which ends August 22, 2017. DEQ says the 50-day comment period is 20 days longer than required. Comments may be made by email or by letter before August 22.

Approximately 100 people signed up to speak, but time allowed for only 89 speakers. Although the hearing was specifically for comments about the water permitting, almost all of the 15 or so pro-pipeline speakers talked about jobs, and did not mention water, ignoring the fact that the E in DEQ stands for Environment and not Employment. [We suspect that’s because it is difficult to make a persuasive case for construction procedures which pollute water supplies.] A number of the pro-pipeline speakers were from out of the area: Chesapeake, Fairfax, Henrico, etc.

See below for media reports documenting that the vast majority of people who came to Harrisonburg opposed Dominion Energy’s destructive pipeline.

See also the sampling below of Facebook videos of Harrisonburg speakers. The first three videos were made by Jennifer Lewis of Friends of Augusta, the fourth is from Walking the Line.

Other Hearings

A DEQ ACP hearing was held in Farmville on August 10. Here are a few Facebook videos from Farmville:

DEQ hearings for the Mountain Vally Pipeline were held in Radford and Chatham on August 8 and 9. The final ACP hearing will be in Alberta on August 14.

Some general comments on the hearings by our friends from Free Nelson:

  • The audience was reprimanded for applause only when that applause was offered for remarks by Water protectors/anti-pipeline citizens; never when it came in support of pro-pipeline speakers.
  • The rules changed from hearing to hearing. In Chatham poems and singing were banned, but we could have water bottles. In Farmville, poetry was allowed as long as you didn’t have an empty plastic water cup, but if you did, you were removed from the building. In Radford, poetry in any form landed you in poetry jail and therefore removed from the hearing.
  • Both Dominion and EQT made sure they had pro-pipeline folks to represent their viewpoints. Those who arrived en masse by bus, or who received gift cards were obvious plants by the industry. Their speeches also gave them away: repeated phrasing and sentences taken from industry brochures and advertising.