Will McAuliffe’s Administration Protect Virginia Waters Only “In Theory”?

The latest from Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC):

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has indicated that applications for water quality certification of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) could be denied “in theory.” We are calling on Governor Terry McAuliffe to take action now to ensure that DEQ’s enforcement of the law is more than theoretical; that the certain damages these proposals would cause to hundreds of our streams and wetlands be honestly acknowledged by DEQ and prevented.

In a letter to the Governor dated July 25, 2017, the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC) described how the Governor’s top environmental officials have skewed the regulatory reviews of these major pipeline proposals. State records and public statements clearly show that DEQ has failed even to acknowledge its duty to deny water quality certifications for the ACP and MVP, despite the Clean Water Act’s mandate that DEQ do so.

Other states have faithfully fulfilled their Clean Water Act duties to reject proposals when pipeline builders failed to meet their burdens of proof and show that their projects could meet all water quality requirements. As DPMC’s letter asked the Governor: “Do Virginian’s deserve less protection than our fellow citizens? Will you accept DEQ’s proposals to forego its responsibilities where others have fully exercised their authorities to protect their citizens and environments?”

DEQ’s resistance to considering rejection of threats to water quality is not in line with actions it has taken on proposals by other parties. The Department has rejected permit applications for facilities such as wastewater discharges and held other construction projects to stringent stormwater control requirements. In stark contrast, the pipeline companies have gotten special deals. Certainly, other applicants for State approvals will be dismayed to know they’ve been treated differently than the politically-powerful sponsors of ACP and MVP.

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