Category Archives: DEQ

Urge DEQ to Require Site-Specific Reviews

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality must conduct a site-specific review everywhere the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would cross a Virginia lake, river, or stream.

Write to Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward and DEQ Director David Paylor:
Molly Ward:, 804.786.0044.
David Paylor:, 804.698.4020.

You can sign a petition to Governor McAuliffe and members of the State Water Control Board here:

Attend the Water is Life Rally & Concert on Saturday, December 2nd, in Richmond. Event details here.

Show up in solidarity and protest at the Virginia Water Control Board final hearings on the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines:

  • Mountain Valley Pipeline: 9:30 a.m.Wednesday, December 6, 2017, and Thursday, December 7, 2017. Location: Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA 23222.
  • Atlantic Coast Pipeline: 9:30 a.m.Monday, December 11, 2017, and Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Location: Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA 23222.

You can find the agendas here.

Keystone Pipeline Leaks 210,000 Gallons

The Washington Post reports that on Thursday morning November 16, 2017, the Keystone Pipeline leaked, spilling 210,000 gallons of oil southeast of the small town of Amherst in northeast South Dakota. “The spill comes just days before a crucial decision next Monday by the Public Service Commission in Nebraska over whether to grant a permit for a new, long-delayed sister pipeline called Keystone XL, which has been mired in controversy for several years. Both are owned by Calgary-based TransCanada. The spill on the first Keystone pipeline is the latest in a series of leaks that critics of the new pipeline say shows that TransCanada should not receive another permit.”

Imagine this from the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline into Virginia waters and wetlands. We hope DEQ is paying attention!

Read the full Washington Post article here.

Letter to Water Board: No Approval Without Critical Info

Lawyers for several key conservation groups sent a detailed letter on October 25, 2017, to the Virginia State Water Control Board laying out why the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline cannot be approved at this time by the Board due to numerous concerns about the impacts of the projects on water quality in the Commonwealth.

Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, the board cannot approve the pipelines without “reasonable assurance” that the pipelines would not violate Virginia’s water quality standards. As it stands, the board simply does not have enough information from the projects’ developers or from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to make that determination, the letter states.

In particular, the DEQ has excluded from consideration of the state water quality certifications the central problem of how the pipeline developers plan to address erosion and sediment pollution and stormwater management during the construction of the massive projects.

Organizations signing the letter were the Southern Environmental Law Center, Appalachian Mountain Advocates, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Wild Virginia, and Preserve Craig.

For details, see the press release from Appalachian Voices and the 17 page letter to the Water Control Board.

The Fight Continues

Pipeline opposition and challenges continue, despite FERC’s October 13, 2017, rubber stamp approval of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines, issued with a highly unusual dissenting opinion by Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur. The FERC permit is not the final word on the projects. VA, NC and WV must still issue environmental permits. The NC Department of Environmental Quality recently declined to issue water quality, soil erosion control permits for the project, requesting additional information from the pipeline. The WV Department of Environmental Protection recently vacated and remanded their water quality certification, saying they want to reevaluate the complete application. The VA Department of Environmental Quality has yet to make a decision, and will hold public hearings in December. Citizens still have the opportunity (and the responsibility) to express their concerns to DEQ (and may sign a petition to protect Virginia waters here).

The Wild Virginia Web page has concrete suggestions on how you can continue the fight against the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines.

“It’s only being built because Dominion and Duke Energy will make $2 billion off of it even if it never comes into service,” said Friends of Nelson President Ernie Reed when interviewed at the Nelson Farmer’s Market the morning after the FERC announcement. “We only need one Federal Agency or one State Agency to do the right thing or one judge to force them to do the right thing to stop this runaway train.”

Greg Buppert, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, called the FERC order a long-anticipated “rubber stamp” and said his organization intends to challenge the decision. “The utilities involved in the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline claim utility customers will save money, when in fact this pipeline will drive up ratepayers’ bills – and cause harm to national forests and to rivers and streams while threatening to commit our states to fossil fuels for decades to come,” he says.

Bold Alliance and more than 50 landowners, have a federal lawsuit challenging the use of eminent domain for private gain and intend to continue the fight for property rights in the court system.

Carolyn Reilly, impacted landowner and Pipeline Fighter with Bold Alliance, said, “Thousands of landowners and citizens have stood strong in the battle to defend land, protect water and preserve communities. FERC has, yet again, pulled out its rubber stamp and permitted two more risky, fracked gas pipelines that put our homes, our land, our water, and our communities at risk. But, our fight is far from over. The ACP and MVP are not a done deal; between the Bold lawsuit against FERC and water permits needed from West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, we, the people, press on and persevere to defend and protect what is sacred.”

In an interview with WVTF, Reilly said, “I think it’s been an amazing thing to see people coming together despite many differences and political affiliations. This is not a partisan issue, this fight. There’s environmentalists and there’s conservative property rights activists that are united in this fight to protect our homes, our lands, the whole Appalachia, and especially water.”

Yes, we are all still here, and the fight goes on!

DEQ to Make Pipeline Recommendations in December

On October 3, 2017, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality announced dates for town hall meetings before the State Water Control Board on the water quality certification applications, required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline. DEQ’s press release says:

The State Water Control Board plans to hold two meetings in December to consider additional Section 401 water quality certification conditions for the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.

Each meeting is scheduled to last about two days. On the first day of each meeting, those who made oral or written comments during the public comment period will have an opportunity to sign up to speak to the board under the board’s policy for public participation. The official agenda containing more details will be available in early November.

The schedule for the meetings (see linked pages for details on each meeting):

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will present a summary of the public comments it received and will make its recommendations to the board on the proposed additional conditions at each meeting. Also at each meeting, the board may approve, deny or amend the recommendations.

According to an extensive October 3, 2017, article on DEQ’s just-announced plans in the Roanoke Times, “The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality plans to disclose in December its recommendations to the State Water Control Board regarding water quality certification for two deeply controversial natural gas pipelines. DEQ said it will recommend conditions that the seven-member citizens board should consider attaching to any Clean Water Act 401 water quality certification the board grants the projects. Ann Regn, a DEQ spokeswoman, said it is also possible the agency will suggest that one or both projects not be granted certification.” The article also notes that “During the first day of each meeting, people who weighed in about the pipelines during a formal public comment period can sign up to address the board. As envisioned, Regn said, the second day of each meeting will feature DEQ’s recommendations.”