The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC) has filed an eight-page objection to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ’s) Water Quality Certification proposal that would allow all utility projects in Virginia to be regulated under a generalized Nationwide 12 permit. The DPMC argues that the issuance of the proposed Water Quality Certification would be illegal, because the DEQ has not conducted the required analysis of the impacts on water quality standards; furthermore, the generalized conditions under the Nationwide permit cannot possibly protect the great variety of waters that would be affected across the state by utility projects, nor can they account for the large variation in project conditions encountered by the many different utility line projects (ranging from small to very large) that would be covered under the general permit.
Bold Alliance has created an online petition by which you can add your name to the DPMC’s objection to the DEQ’s Water Quality Certification proposal. The petition is an easy way for you to voice your concern for the protection of Virginia’s streams and wetlands during construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and other utility projects across the state.
The Virginia DEQ is currently accepting comments on the proposed Water Quality Certification, but the deadline is this Friday, March 17th! Be sure to sign Bold Alliance’s online petition by this Friday. You can also submit comments to the DEQ regarding the Water Quality Certification by email: Comments should be submitted to Steven.Hardwick@deq.virginia.gov. Again, the deadline for comments is this Friday, March 17, 2017 by 11:59 pm.
To learn more about the proposed Water Quality Certification, read our earlier post here at Friends of Nelson or read the DPMC’s detailed post about this issue, “Permission to Pollute.”
The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC) reports this week that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is considering a proposal to issue a Water Quality Certification (WQC) that would allow parties to build utility lines, including large gas pipelines, through streams and wetlands across Virginia with only the limited, generalized requirements for waterbody crossings that are stipulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide permit (NWP 12). According to the DPMC, such generalized conditions under the Nationwide permit cannot possibly protect the great variety of waters that would be affected across the state by utility projects, nor can they account for the large variation in project conditions encountered by the many different utility line projects (ranging from small to very large) that would be covered under the general permit.
Despite the fact that the DEQ is charged with ensuring that all Virginia water quality standards are met for such utility projects, the DPMC reports that the DEQ has performed no analysis to look at the impacts of NWP 12 activities on water quality standards. The DPMC requested all supporting documentation for the DEQ’s proposed regulatory action and received only five documents that show that no analysis of impacts was even attempted, let alone completed.
The DEQ has suggested that it may attempt to cover the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline under this generalized WQC if the Corps of Engineers deems them eligible for coverage under NWP 12. The DPMC asserts that such an action would be illegal and argues that this proposal cannot be justified on legal or scientific grounds even for the many smaller utility projects that the WQC would cover.
The Virginia DEQ is currently accepting comments on the proposed Water Quality Certification, so you have an opportunity to make your voice heard on this issue. Contact the DEQ and tell them to reject the Water Quality Certification of the Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide 12 Permit. Comments should be submitted to Steven.Hardwick@deq.virginia.gov. The deadline for comments is this Friday, March 17, 2017 by 11:59 pm.
To read the DPMC’s full statement on its position regarding the DEQ’s consideration of the proposal to issue a Water Quality Certification that would allow parties to build utility lines through Virginia’s waterbodies under a generalized Nationwide 12 permit, click here.
Thomas Hadwin, who spoke on February 12, 2017, in both Buckingham and Nelson Counties, has kindly shared his PowerPoint presentation from the workshop in Buckingham, “New Pipelines: Do We Need Them?” (the answer is no!), as well as two other documents he has written, “Purpose and Need for the ACP,” and “The ACP in a Nutshell.” In “The ACP in a Nutshell” he carefully refutes Dominion’s inflated claims of local economic benefits, reminds us that, “The Department of Energy states that adequate capacity exists in the existing pipeline system to serve this region throughout the multi-decade planning horizon of their studies,” notes that, if built, “ratepayers would pay higher transport fees for the ACP compared to existing pipelines,” and concludes that eminent domain requires landowners “to sacrifice their individual interest in order to serve the greater public good. In this case, the greater public good is better served both economically and environmentally by using existing pipelines.”
For additional information and resources by Thomas Hadwin, see “Atlantic Coast Pipeline: A Question of Need.” This story map posted by Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition includes detailed charts and information.
[Photo by John Claman: Piney Mountain,Three Ridges, Reed’s Gap]
The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition has submitted a report to FERC on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed ACP and the proposal to drill through the Blue Ridge Mountains at Reed’s Gap, going under the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the National Forest.
The report, A High Risk Proposal: Drilling Through the Blue Ridge Mountains for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, points to the many ways in which the information provided in the DEIS is insufficient to support evaluation of the proposed Blue Ridge drilling operation. It details missing information as well as MISinformation. For example:
- The scale of excavation is not fully disclosed or considered, and the results of critical geophysical investigations have not been provided.
- Identification of geohazards and evaluation of mitigation measures have been deferred until later, precluding a meaningful opportunity for informed review of the project.
- The published DEIS fails to meet the information needs of of the public or the governmental agencies that have responsibilities related to the ACP project.
DPMC says FERC must release a revised DEIS to:
- prove that boring through the Blue Ridge is a practicable option, by providing reliable and complete geophysical data
- disclose the real extent of land disturbance and water quality damage the proposal would create
- include detailed, site-specific plans and pollution control measures for all alternatives for crossing the Blue Ridge
The pipes for the proposed ACP are being fabricated in Pennsylvania, but the Richmond Times Dispatch reported on January 30, 2017, that “the Dominion-led pipeline company acknowledged Monday that it is purchasing heavy-duty steel for the project from a company in South Korea. ‘Some of the large-diameter, heavy-walled pipe we needed was simply not available domestically at the specifications we require for the project,’ said Aaron F. Ruby, spokesman for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC and Richmond-based Dominion, the managing partner for the $5.1 billion project. The pipeline company is buying the steel from POSCO, a multinational company based in Pohang, South Korea, for fabrication by Dura-Bond in Pennsylvania. Dura-Bond began building 30- and 42-inch-diameter pipe at the end of 2015 under a $400 million contract that the company called the single biggest order in its history.”
Read the full article here.
The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club issued a statement on January 26, 2017, on the inclusion of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the President’s executive order on infrastructure.
“Once again, Donald Trump is looking to take credit for something he had no part of, only this time, it’s a dirty and dangerous project that will deliver pollution to our communities. There is no need for this project, and it is baffling to include an enormous 42-inch fracked gas pipeline in a proposal of general infrastructure projects. Clean energy investments would create more long-term career jobs in our communities throughout Virginia and wouldn’t require large swaths of private property to be taken through eminent domain.
“Dominion Resources’ stranglehold on Virginia’s energy policy has been unacceptable for decades, and Dominion should not be given the opportunity to dictate our national energy policy as well.”
See our earlier post on the executive order here.