The Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA) has prepared a two-page document to aid those who will be presenting comments next Monday before the Virginia State Water Control Board as it considers whether to grant certification under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The guidance document is based on the October 25, 2017, letter from the Southern Environmental Law Center, Appalachian Mountain Advocates and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to the Virginia State Water Control Board.
The Board will meet Monday and Tuesday, December 11 and 12, 2017, regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline certification. Both meetings begin at 9:30 am at the Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA. The first-day agenda calls for a summary presentation by staff of comments made during the public comment period and hearings, followed by an opportunity for those who commented at the public hearings or filed comments during the public comment period to respond to the staff summary. Board consideration of the pending applications are slated to occur on the second day (December 12). Three-minute time limits will be imposed on those making comments, though it is possible for eligible commenters to sign-up and allot their time to another speaker. It is very important that a strong turnout of opposition comments to certification for the ACP be made next Monday. Make your voice count by showing up in Richmond next Monday!
[Note: Based on the December 6-7 hearings for the MVP, attendees next week should be prepared to see an extremely heavy Virginia State Police presence both inside and around the meeting venue.]
Late on December 2, 2017, Blue Virginia posted commentary as well as a set of videos and photos from the Water Is Life rally that afternoon in Richmond. Over 800 Virginians from all across the state joined with elected officials, a statewide coalition of environmental advocates, and indigenous tribal leaders (and a giant water puppet!) for a historic demonstration against the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. Also included in the Blue Virginia article is a press release from the groups who organized the rally. Other early press coverage included articles in the Augusta Free Press and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Here’s a video of the activities from the Water Is Life folks:
And here’s a video from CCAN showing protesters and organizers assembling a human chain in a huge circle around the State House and the Governor’s Mansion, the entire perimeter of the Capitol grounds – a first for any rally in Richmond.
The Virginia State Water Control Board will hold meetings during the first two weeks in December on the water quality certification applications, required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, for the proposed Atlantic Coast and the 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 meetings are public, and, if at all possible, we urge you to be there to speak (if eligible) and to support those opposing certification.
The official agenda is here.
The schedule for the meetings:
- 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.
The first-day agendas for both pipeline meetings call for a summary presentation by staff of comments made during the public comment period and hearings, followed by an opportunity for those who commented at the public hearings or filed comments during the public comment period to respond to the staff summary. Board consideration of the pending applications are slated to occur on the second day (December 7 for MVP; December 12 for ACP). Three-minute time limits will be imposed on those making comments. The Department of Environmental Quality posted this week a two-page guidance document setting forth procedures for the meetings, including the following instructions for speakers:
- Only those persons who commented during the official public comment period (i.e., July 3, 2017 – August 22, 2017) may speak for up to 3 minutes to exercise their rights to respond to the summary of the prior proceedings including DEQ’s summary of comments received during the public comment period.
- Speakers must register. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. A person can only register for him or herself.
- Persons may pool their minutes to allow for a single presentation to the Board that does not exceed the time limitation of 3 minutes multiplied by the number of people pooling minutes, or 15 minutes, whichever is less.
ABRA has prepared a two-page summary on major points that should be made to the State Water Control Board. It is based on the October 25 letter sent to Board members by Appalachian Mountain Advocates, Southern Environmental Law Center and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Saturday December 2, 2017, Richmond: Assemble at the Bell Tower on the Virginia Capital Grounds for the Circle of Protection Rally starting promptly at 1 pm. Together, we will encircle the entire capital grounds to protect Virginia’s water as well as the courage and integrity of its newly elected leaders. Bring a blue ribbon, scarf or fabric to create the waves of our circle. Wear your No Pipeline shirts.
Rally participants, along with the 60′ Water Spirit puppet and the ARTivists who will accompany and perform her, will then walk together on the sidewalk a few short blocks up to The National for a concert, keynote speaker, participatory water is life ritual, drinks, and opportunities to prepare for a revived and powerful presence at the upcoming Virginia State Water Control Board hearings.
The concert at the National features Lobo Marino, The No BS! Brass Band, The Wild Common and The First Nations Voices.
Bill McKibben of 350.org invites you to join the rally in Richmond to take a stand against the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. One day, once voice, rising to stop the ACP & MVP.
Take the bus to Richmond for the Water Is Life Rally and Concert! Two buses are chartered to travel to Richmond on December 2nd for the Rally and Concert. There are 40 free bus tickets available for people to travel to Richmond. Bus stops in Harrisonburg, Staunton and Charlottesville for riders.
Go here for tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/water-is-life-rally-and-concert-central-virginia-buses-tickets-39961174950
Kay Ferguson with ARTivism speaks about the December 2, 2017 Water is Life Rally and Concert