This weekend, on Sunday, March 19th, Friends of Nelson will be holding a comment-writing workshop at the Rockfish Valley Community Center between 3:00 and 7:00 pm. Volunteers will be available to help you draft your comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and to help walk you through the process of submitting your comments online to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Remember, the deadline for submitting comments to FERC about the DEIS is April 6, 2017. You can submit as many comments as you would like to FERC, but they need to be submitted by the deadline.
FERC is also accepting comments on behalf of the Forest Service regarding the authorization of the ACP on National Forest lands and the proposed amendments of the Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMPs) that would allow the ACP to be constructed across the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests. The deadline for comments to FERC regarding the ACP on National Forest lands is April 10, 2017.
For more information about submitting comments to FERC, please visit our FERC page.
If you can’t make it to Friends of Nelson’s comment-writing workshop at RVCC, Wild Virginia will also be holding comment-writing workshops in Staunton on March 20th and in Charlottesville on March 27th.
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.
This weekend, two pipeline opposition events will take place in Charlottesville and Nelson County.
On Saturday, March 11th at 12:00 pm, the Central Virginia Environmental Coalition is holding a Stop the Pipelines rally at the Freedom of Speech Wall on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville. The rally is being held to demonstrate opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia, as well as the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.
On Sunday, March 12th at 7:00 pm, Friends of Nelson will be hosting a showing of “We the People: 2.0” at Bold Rock Cidery in Nellysford. “We the People 2.0” is the new documentary film about the loss of democracy in the United States, told through the eyes of the people who have faced decades of toxic dumping, drilling, mining, and pipeline infrastructure projects in their communities. The film demonstrates how we, the people, can turn this around and lay claim to our democracy. The film highlights the work of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) and Thomas Linsey, who spoke at Rockfish Valley Community Center last November. Tammy Belinski, who is a Virginia attorney and sits on the CELDF Board of Directors, will introduce the film and be available after for questions and answers. Come at 6:00 pm for food and refreshments before the film screening at Nelson County’s premier cidery.
For more information on these upcoming events, see our Events calendar.
Despite the Nelson County Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation (in June of 2016) to the Nelson County’s Board of Supervisors that they amend Nelson County’s Floodplain Ordinance to adopt crucial Higher Standards as recommended by The Federal Emergency Management Agency/National Floodplain Insurance Program, there is a distinct lack of action from the Board. Please call your Supervisor and urge them to take action! Click here for contact information for the Nelson County Board of Supervisors. If you are a resident of Nelson County and haven’t already signed our petition urging the Board to act on the amended flood plain ordinance, please take the time to do so.
The proposed amendments to the floodplain ordinance would give Nelson County the opportunity to lower floodplain insurance for its homeowners and business owners and would prohibit critical facilities, hazardous materials, and non-native fill in special flood hazard areas. Nelson County has six out of the eight “High Risk Flood Hazard Areas” defined by the American Society of Civil Engineers, including areas that are susceptible to flash flooding, mudslides, erosion, alluvial fans, ice jams, and high velocity flows, making it imperative that our Board of Supervisors take prudent action to protect Nelson County by adopting the amendments to our Floodplain Ordinance. You can read the proposed amendments in their entirety by clicking here.
Delaware Riverkeeper and Stop the Pipelines have launched a campaign to take advantage of the current lack of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) quorum by urging representatives to oppose the appointment of any new FERC commissioners until Congress holds hearings investigating the many problems with FERC and institutes reforms for the agency. You can write to your representative about this issue by using Delaware Riverkeeper’s easy online comment form: just fill in your contact information to immediately send a letter to your representative using Delaware Riverkeeper’s pre-written letter.
For more online comment forms and petitions that make it easy for you to make your voice heard on issues related to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, see our Petitions page.