Category Archives: Water Quality

Needed Scrutiny of the ACP

Needed scrutiny of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the December 4, 2017, editorial in the Raleigh NC News and Observer says it all:

“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will face many hurdles from gaining permits to burrowing through 600 miles of terrain from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina. But its biggest obstacle may be time. The project is already more than a year behind schedule and now faces further delays as it waits for environmental permits. The project’s backers don’t like it, but the delays are a helpful test. If the project is truly needed, time should make that clearer. If it’s not – as many argue – then time will reveal that as well. …. There’s no doubt North Carolina needs reliable sources of energy, but there is doubt about whether it needs a massive new pipeline carrying natural gas from fracking operations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Whether it does will become clearer as DEQ and the public has time to assess the environmental and economic impacts of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”

We hope the Virginia DEQ & Water Control Board take heed of North Carolina’s caution: ask the questions now so your negligence doesn’t cause disaster later.

End of the Line: Episode 10, Watershed

End of the Line:  Episode 10, Watershed.  The State Water Control Board will vote on water certification for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines during the week of December 6-12, 2017. In this episode, we visit Bottom Creek, one of the few Tier 3 streams in Virginia which would be crossed by the MVP. Additionally, we look at whether the DEQ’s process has really been “scientific and transparent” for the public. Original Air Date: 12/01/17

Have you missed previous episodes? Find links to all of them here.

State Water Control Board Hearings


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:

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.

Water Is Life Rally and Concert!


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.

Can We Trust the VA State Water Control Board?

In the coming two weeks the Virginia State Water Control Board will hold hearings (agendas here) on both the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. A November 29, 2017 article in Blue Virginia says, “One would think that because the SWCB’s function is to make independent decisions on Virginia water quality, the SWCB and Dominion wouldn’t have any connection outside of ‘independent’ decisions made by the SWCB involving Dominion projects. But upon taking a closer look at individual members of the SWCB, a stunning and disconcerting number of ties between board members and Dominion can be found.”

Can we trust the SWCB to make truly independent decisions?

NC Officials Ask ACP for More Details

The Raleigh NC News & Observer reported on November 29, 2017, that the “N.C. Department of Environmental Quality on Wednesday sent the [ACP’s] developers a fourth round of questions about the economic benefits and environmental risks of the project,” giving pipeline developers 30 days to respond, after which the agency would have 60 days to review the response.

The NCDEQ wants “details on economic benefits to specific areas along the pipeline’s route, as opposed to generalizations about economic benefits. The agency wants a forecast of future economic conditions with the pipeline and without the pipeline, along with an analysis of the two forecasts, and an explanation of the logic on which the analysis is based. The agency also wants additional information on the pipeline’s end point, which was originally proposed in Robeson County. Atlantic Coast Pipeline officials later suggested that the pipeline would be extended to South Carolina at some point.”

The article reminds readers that, “The agency is asking for information previously requested but not adequately answered by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”