Category Archives: Virginia government

In May 2017 Northam Pledged Stream by Stream Review

What happened to that pledge?

On April 18, 2018, Blue Virginia writes, “For the record, here’s what Ralph Northam said in May 2017 about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: 1) we need to be ‘very cognizant’ of property rights; 2) ‘we need to be environmentally responsible;’ 3) he supposedly got the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to move to stream-by-stream, ‘site-specific permit’ system, that ‘anywhere there’s a stream or a river, that there will be a site-specific permitting;’ 4) ‘we will use science and transparency if the pipeline moves forward.’ Also for the record, the state certainly has NOT been ‘very cognizant’ of property rights when it comes to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (or the Mountain Valley Pipeline); has NOT been ‘environmentally responsible’ on either pipeline; has NOT moved to a ‘site-specific permit’ system on either pipeline; and has NOT used ‘science and transparency’ on either pipeline in this entire process.”

Failing grade for Northam on his campaign promises!

State Water Control Board Approves 30-Day Comment Period

ACP and MVP opponents have continually and vigorously objected to Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality decision a year ago to cede its authority to review the hundreds of spots where two controversial natural gas pipelines will cross state waterways to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

As reported by Robert Zullo, writing for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “the State Water Control Board cracked open the door for more review of those water crossings. The board on Thursday [April 12, 2018] approved a 30-day period to solicit comment on whether the approvals the corps granted for the projects under Nationwide Permit 12 are adequate to protect Virginia waterways from the blasting, drilling and trenching that crossing them could entail.”

Opponents of the blanket approval believe it allows degradation of waterways that are not permitted under Virginia water regulations. Board member Robert Wayland, said, “I watched the nationwide permit scope get significantly ratcheted down over a period of time. Quite frankly, we felt, and the Army agreed, it had been ‘Honk if you want a permit.'”

The Board agreed on a 30-day comment period, with the possibility for a further meeting at a later date.

In December the Board had issued a conditional certification for the ACP and a certification for the Mountain Valley Pipeline that was aimed specifically at attempting to preserve the board’s authority over water crossings – but those certifications were issued before DEQ finished reviewing the pipeline builders’ plans to manage erosion, sediment control and stormwater along the proposed pipeline route through miles of extremely steep terrain.

At the meeting, Board member Roberta Kellam cited Dominion’s self-reported violations of tree-cutting restrictions. “We’re talking about a violation before even the plans that they’re required to submit to perfect the certificate have even been approved,” she said. “That would seem to me potentially grounds for revoking the certificate or at least reopening discussions.”

Mr. Zullo, the Times-Dispatch reporter, noted, “About 15 seconds of silence followed that remark.”

Read the full article here.

10,000 Petitions Delivered to Northam

A March 27, 2018, press release from Appalachian Voices describes the delivery of petitions to Governor Northam, asking him to protect citizens from the impacts of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.

“Citizens representing Virginia landowners, the faith community, scientists, people of color, water protectors and clean energy advocates today called on Governor Ralph Northam to protect Virginia’s waters by taking immediate action on the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines. The action comes the morning after Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality approved key environmental plans for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, paving the way for its construction.

“At a press conference at the Bell Tower on Capitol Square, citizens presented the Northam administration with more than 10,000 petition signatures from petitions signed by more than 10,000 Virginian residents. The signatories call on the governor to protect the drinking water supplies of countless Virginians from the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines, which would cross streams and other waters more than 1,400 times across the state.

“The group also presented a petition from with more than 62,000 signatures from other concerned citizens from around the country calling on Governor Northam to reject the pipelines. In addition to the projects’ tremendous climate impacts that affect all Americans, the projects bisect national treasures including the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, and many miles of national forest land.”

Read the full press release here.

VA DEQ Approves Plans for MVP

Press Release from DEQ
Contact: Ann Regn
March 26, 2018
804) 698-4442

DEQ Approves Erosion and Sediment, Stormwater, and Karst Plans for MVP to Protect Water Quality

RICHMOND, VA. – The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has approved the Erosion and Sediment Control, Stormwater Management, and Karst Protection Plans for the Mountain Valley Pipeline effective today, March 26, 2018. These detailed site plans specify engineering designs that will protect water quality in all areas of Virginia, including karst, during and after construction of the pipeline project.

DEQ began its plan review in March 2016, which continued with a more thorough review beginning in June 2017 by EEE, an independent consulting firm. Today’s approval authorizes MVP to begin land disturbing activities in Virginia consistent with these plans. No changes to the plans may be made without obtaining prior approval from DEQ. The basis for the design specifications for the plans are contained in Virginia’s erosion and sediment control and stormwater management regulations.

“Protecting water quality and water supplies is our greatest concern,” said David K. Paylor, DEQ Director. “We required MVP to submit detailed plans for every foot of land disturbance, and we carefully reviewed all aspects of these plans.”

Draft plans were posted for the public for input in September 2017, and the final plans are now available to view at

In response to public interest, DEQ has sent a report to the State Water Control Board (Board) detailing the approval of the Erosion and Sediment Control, Stormwater Management, and Karst Protection Plans, which are required by regulation to protect the Commonwealth’s waters.

“DEQ’s enhanced review, along with our new stop-work authority, gives the agency a variety of tools to protect water quality across the range of pipeline activities and ensure developers comply with Virginia’s rigorous regulatory requirements,” added Paylor.

Citizens can direct questions and pollution complaints to For more information, including the report to the Board, visit

Tell Northam: Keep Virginia’s Water Clean

Pipelines are a threat to the clean water Virginians depend on. A recent study,  Threats to Water Quality from Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline Water Crossings in Virginia, confirms that the proposed pipelines will cause massive disruption to streams and wetlands, pollute the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and threaten crucial drinking water supplies. Why should Virginians pay billions of dollars for pipelines that could pollute our water? Virginia governor Ralph Northam has promised to hold these projects to the “highest environmental standards” and that individual reviews of their pollution impacts are needed. Call the Governor at 804-786-2211 and tell him to stay true to his word and keep Virginia’s water clean.

Northam Announces Additional Powers to Protect Virginia Waters

In a press release from his office on March 16, 2018, Governor Northam announced emergency clauses added to SB698 and SB699 allowing DEQ to issue stop work orders on all or part of land-disturbing activities associated with natural gas pipeline construction that may have adverse effects on water quality.

For Immediate Release: March 16, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel,

Governor Northam Announces Additional Powers To Protect Virginia’s Clean Water

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today announced additional powers to expand the Commonwealth’s ability to protect clean water. SB698 and SB699 establish processes in state law to allow the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to issue a stop work order on all or part of land-disturbing activities associated with natural gas pipeline construction if DEQ determines those activities have caused, or will imminently cause, a substantial adverse impact to water quality. On Saturday, the General Assembly accepted Governor Northam’s amendment adding an emergency clause to each bill and the measures are currently in effect.

“I want to thank Senator Creigh Deeds and the Department of Environmental Quality for working together to empower the Commonwealth to halt construction on the pipelines if there is a serious threat to water quality,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, and all the rivers and streams in between, our water quality is of paramount importance to our health and our economy and I will protect it as long as I am Governor.”

“If the pipelines go forward, it’s imperative that DEQ have the tools it needs to assure the people of the Commonwealth that water quality will not be compromised,” said Senator Creigh Deeds. “Thanks to DEQ staff for their tireless work to help get these bills through the legislative process, to Governor Northam for his timely amendments and for signing the bills, and to the conservation groups who added their voices to this important conversation.”

“We are pleased the General Assembly agreed to give DEQ the additional authority to protect water quality, and we will use these tools to exercise rigorous enforcement to ensure our water is protected and our natural areas are preserved,” said DEQ Director David Paylor.