A Chance for Water Protection by Virginia’s DEQ

READ: Insist that Virginia protect its water, by Nancy Sorrells

State Water Control Board (SWCB) Meetings set for ACP – December 11 and 12

If you commented during the official public comment period, you’re eligible to speak to the board during this meeting.

Both meetings will be held at Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond and sessions will begin at 9:30am each day. The meetings the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines are each two days long. On first day of each meeting DEQ staff will present a summary of public comments collected during the official public comment period earlier this fall. After the summary presentation, folks who submitted verbal or written comments during the official comment period will be allotted 3 minutes to respond to the summary. The SWCB is scheduled to consider the MVP and ACP applications on the second day of each meeting respectively.

Official public comment period closed August 22, 2017 – BUT YOU CAN STILL WRITE TO THE WATER CONTROL BOARD (see first link below).
Take Action Handout w/ State Water Control Board Contact Information
Find sample points for your comments here. (thanks to our partners at Wild Virginia!)
Understand why DEQ’s process is flawed.

Write a letter:

  • Mail to: DEQ, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218
  • Email to: comment-acp@deq.virginia.gov

Under the Clean Water Act, Virginia has the power to grant or deny the water certifications for the pipeline. These are the certifications that would allow Dominion to cross streams and wetlands and to potentially impact all of the above ground and below ground waters in Virginia that are located along the pipeline route. In Augusta County alone that translates to 189 stream and 43 wetland crossings. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) makes recommendations to the State Water Control Board (SWCB) about the permits and then the State Water Control Board decides whether or not to issue these permits. (Photo courtesy of Bradley Striebig).

In May DEQ announced it would abdicate most of this power to the federal Army Corps of Engineers broad Nationwide Permit 12 and then scheduled a rushed public comment period in August, seemingly to keep with Dominion’s timeline. Our fear is that a rushed process will fail to adequately analyze the inevitable impacts to our state’s water resources. The fear is amplified by the fact that DEQ has decided to look at Dominion’s erosion and sediment control and storm water management plans outside of this certification, excluding the State Water Control Board and the power of the Clean Water Act.

It is difficult to overstate the adverse impacts the ACP would have on Virginia’s water resources. The ACP would:

  • Be the single largest impact to wetlands in Virginia since the Clean Water Act was enacted
  • Cross more than 700 rivers and streams across Virginia, many of them on extremely steep slopes with highly-erodible soils
  • Require in-stream blasting and trenching in native brook trout streams
  • Cut through some of the most unstable areas of karst topography in Virginia, where large sinkholes regularly close Interstate 81
  • Put public and private water supplies at risk

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