Northam “Either Ill-Informed – Or He Is Lying”

Writing in Blue Virginia on May 13, 2018, Stacy Lovelace comments on the statement regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), released by the Governor’s office on May 8 and claiming that “…the Department of Environmental Quality is reviewing proposed land disturbance and construction activities along every foot of the pipeline routes, including each proposed wetland and stream crossing.”

But, she says, “By claiming that the DEQ is reviewing each wetland and stream crossing, the Governor is either ill-informed — or he is lying.”

She points out that, “Last year, the DEQ made the decision to waive its right to do site-specific waterbody analysis, and decided instead to utilize the blanket Army Corp of Engineers Nationwide Permit 12. DEQ Water Permitting Division Director, Melanie Davenport, admitted at the April 12 State Water Control Board meeting that the DEQ had not done a site-specific waterbody crossing analysis because the agency did not have the resources. At the same meeting, the State Water Control Board voted to open a comment period addressing the fact that site-specific waterbody analysis had not been done. And if that isn’t enough to prove the untruthful nature of the Governor’s statement, documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request provide tangible proof.”

As an example, using emails and documents acquired via the FOIA request, she compiles a timeline of certain stormwater management plans for the MVP during the weeks in March leading up to their approval.

Prior to the timeline she constructs and thus not included in it, “a document between the DEQ and the contracted engineers acknowledges that some of the karst regions of the pipeline spreads had only received a ‘desktop review.’ In other words, MVP did not go to the areas of karst and perform field evaluations before submitting water quality protection plans for those same areas.

“The DEQ has clearly not performed complete reviews for every foot of the Mountain Valley Pipeline route, much less every waterbody crossing. The agency is using the same frightening methods with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. In documents acquired via the same FOIA request, engineers’ comments indicate that (among other things), not all wetlands, stream crossings, surface waters, and karst features are included on plans. Again, these issues are occurring months after the DEQ advised to the State Water Control Board to grant the ACP’s 401 certification.”

Read the full Blue Virginia article here.

And send your comments on waterbody crossings and water quality standards to DEQ, urging them to require a stream-by-stream review – deadline is May 30, 2018. Instructions for commenting here.