A message and petition from Chesapeake Climate Action Network:
As you read this, Dominion and EQT are clearing trees across Virginia to make way for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines — WITHOUT EVEN HAVING ALL OF THEIR PERMITS!
It is imperative that Governor Northam know that this is unacceptable.
This past December, the State Water Control Board put the brakes on the ACP, requesting that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) provide karst mitigation plans, erosion and settlement control plans, and stormwater management plans before the Board would issue the 401 water permit. This crucial permit is necessary for the pipelines’ construction, and Virginia has the authority to reject it if the applicants (like Dominion and EQT) can’t prove that their projects won’t harm the state’s water quality. In the following weeks the DEQ announced that the same requirements would also bind the MVP.
Even though these plans are months away from completion, the pipeline companies are beginning to forward with construction — suing landowners, clearing trees, preparing to move in. Even worse, the DEQ announced on the final day of the McAuliffe administration that there would be no more opportunities for the public to review and comment on the requested information and that once the information is provided, the permits would be final (with no further action required from the Board).
In his final weeks in office, the McAuliffe administration signed two Memorandums of Agreement (MOA): one with Dominion and another with EQT. One agreement essentially sold off access to Virginia’s forests and waterways to the ACP to the tune of $58 million that would “fully satisfy any and all mitigation responsibilities related to and otherwise fully offsets” the direct or indirect forest-related and water-related damages of the pipeline. It has been referred to as a “pay-to-play” scheme because to some, it implies guaranteed approval for the contentious pipeline.1 It was announced shortly after that the McAuliffe administration made an almost identical deal with the developers of the MVP, selling off all responsibilities for the mitigation of damages to forests and waters for a mere $27.5 million.2
This insidious scheme is a raw deal for Virginians. That’s why we need to make sure these pipelines never get built.
Governor Northam has the rare opportunity to show true leadership to Virginians, but the time to act is quickly coming to a close. We Virginians need to let him know that we stand unified in opposition to these monstrous projects and demand that we are given transparency and justice.