DEQ to Make Pipeline Recommendations in December

On October 3, 2017, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality announced dates for town hall meetings before the State Water Control Board on the water quality certification applications, required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline. DEQ’s press release says:

The State Water Control Board plans to hold two meetings in December to consider additional Section 401 water quality certification conditions for the proposed Atlantic Coast and 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 official agenda containing more details will be available in early November.

The schedule for the meetings (see linked pages for details on each meeting):

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will present a summary of the public comments it received and will make its recommendations to the board on the proposed additional conditions at each meeting. Also at each meeting, the board may approve, deny or amend the recommendations.

According to an extensive October 3, 2017, article on DEQ’s just-announced plans in the Roanoke Times, “The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality plans to disclose in December its recommendations to the State Water Control Board regarding water quality certification for two deeply controversial natural gas pipelines. DEQ said it will recommend conditions that the seven-member citizens board should consider attaching to any Clean Water Act 401 water quality certification the board grants the projects. Ann Regn, a DEQ spokeswoman, said it is also possible the agency will suggest that one or both projects not be granted certification.” The article also notes that “During the first day of each meeting, people who weighed in about the pipelines during a formal public comment period can sign up to address the board. As envisioned, Regn said, the second day of each meeting will feature DEQ’s recommendations.”