Category Archives: Natural Resources

West Virginia Waives 401 Review for MVP

In a November 1, 2017, statement released by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection announced permit adjustments for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, saying the State Stormwater Permit includes enhanced inspection and enforcement, stronger environmental guidelines for project.

The statement said, “West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) Cabinet Secretary Austin Caperton announced today that the agency has lifted the suspension of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) state Stormwater Permit. The suspension of the state Stormwater Permit was put in place in September to allow the agency to properly respond to all public comments received.

“Additionally, the state has chosen to waive the individual 401 Certification of the federal permits for the MVP. The Army Corps of Engineers recently reissued, with provisions that are specific to West Virginia, the Nationwide 12 permit which is used for stream crossings. These new conditions, when combined with specific requirements that are included in the state’s storm water permit, will allow for better enforcement capabilities and enhanced protection for the state’s waters.”

Read the full statement from WVDEP here.

In a Sierra Club press release, Sierra Club West Virginia Chapter Gas Committee Chair Justin Raines said, “Instead of protecting West Virginia’s water, DEP has sold us down the river. They had one job to do and they failed to do it, leaving our water in the hands of the federal government and out-of-state corporate polluters who are more interested in making money than protecting West Virginians. If we can’t trust our own state to protect our water, health and tourism, who can we trust to do it? Governor Justice and his DEP have let us all down by abandoning the responsibilities we trusted them with.”

DEP had previously certified the MVP, but Appalachian Mountain Advocates brought a lawsuit on behalf of a coalition of environmental groups, and on October 17, 2017, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals set aside that certification and allowed DEP to start over. Just two weeks later, in response to the WVDEP’s November 1 announcement, Derek Teaney, Senior Attorney at Appalachian Mountain Advocates, said, “This is an outrageous and unprecedented dereliction of duty by DEP. After assuring a federal court that it was committed to reconsidering whether the MVP would degrade the hundreds of streams that it would impact, DEP has thrown up its hands and admitted that it is not up to the task of protecting West Virginia’s environment. This action suggests that DEP does not believe in the laws–including the antidegradation policy–that it is charged with enforcing. It also makes you wonder whether DEP intends to give the Atlantic Coast Pipeline–the other ill-conceived pipeline project it is currently reviewing–the same free pass it has just given to MVP.”

Read the full Sierra Club press release here.

See WDTV5 coverage, Environmental organizations outraged at WVDEP decision.

Old Growth Trees on the Proposed ACP Route

Video from the October 27, 2017, hike along the proposed pipeline route among old growth trees on Bill Limbert’s Bath County property. Here landowner Bill talks about the springs and streams on their property. All threatened by construction and blasting causing sedimentation, pollution, forever changing underground channels and streams. He also talks about being in karst geology and why that matters.

NRDC Outlines 10 Reasons to Stop MVP and ACP

In an October 23, 2017, blog post, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says, “The National Environmental Policy Act requires that agencies undertake a robust analysis of reasonable alternatives before making a decision about a proposed project. In the case of these two pipelines, it’s been clear since the beginning that there are cleaner, safer, less destructive, and less expensive alternatives available.  Our list of concerns about these two pipelines is long, but here is an overview of the top ten, with more details to come in future blog posts.”

The top ten list is below – see the NRDC post for detailed explanations of each of the ten.

  • Corporate self-dealing
  • No documented need for either pipeline
  • Consumers will pay for these pipelines
  • No analysis of reasonable alternatives
  • No consideration of existing excess pipeline capacity
  • There will be severe risks to clean water
  • There are serious threats to air quality
  • Countless dangers for forests, endangered species, fish nurseries, and public lands that are used for recreation and other purposes
  • Environmental justice is at risk
  • Farmers and other landowners will lose their land

Virginia River Healers Raise Banner in Richmond

The Virginia Water Solidarity Banner was lifted over the James River on Friday evening, September 8, 2017, by over 40 water protectors. The banner was spread across the Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge in downtown Richmond, VA and graced the river with the words “Our water is greater than pipelines.” The banner drop was organized by Virginia Water Healers to support kayakers and paddlers who were part of Journey the James. They started up river from Richmond on September 4 at the point where Dominion Energy and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline propose to horizontally drill under the James River between Nelson and Buckingham counties. The Virginia River Healers assert that the construction process threatens the source of drinking water for Richmond and over 2.5 million people.

The Virginia Water Solidarity Banner is a 35′ long anti-pipeline banner that includes a 30′ two headed fish for the public to write down comments and sign their names. The banner travels the state, joining impacted communities at public hearings, standing with water protectors on the front lines, and being strung across threatened rivers. These actions of water solidarity are a call for all Virginians to rise and protect the many river basins the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines threaten.  Read more on the Virginia Water Healers Web page.

TV Ad from NRDC

Here’s the new TV ad that the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is running this week in the Richmond, VA market. While this ad targets Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the call for clean water protection is the same request we have for Mountain Valley Pipeline.

And here is a second video also from NRDC.  The ACP could increase electricity rates in order to transport natural gas that we don’t even need, while threatening drinking water, forests, waterways, wetlands, fisheries, and endangered species in three states. Yeah, it’s that bad. Tell state regulators to kill it.  Send a message here to David K. Paylor, Director, VA Department of Environmental Quality, and Governor Terry McAuliffe asking them to stop the ACP.


Pipeline Battle

An extensive article in Virginia Business reviews the three year battle over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It covers discussion over environmental impact, questions of pubic need, Dominion donations, water quality, Governor McAuliffe’s support of the ACP, and a variety of aspects of the casefor and against the ACP.

Read the full article here.