Wild Virginia Sues Virginia State Water Control Board Over Approval of MVP Permit

Press Release from David Sligh, Wild Virginia, December 8, 2017

Today, Wild Virginia has joined allies in filing suit to challenge the legality of the State Water Control Board’s decision to issue a water quality certification for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The lawsuit, filed by attorneys with Appalachian Mountain Advocates in Richmond’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, asserts that the Board has failed base its decision on adequate and complete information and, therefore, lacks a rational basis for its action. All parties admit that vital information and analyses were missing at this time yet the Board endorsed DEQ’s recommendation to approve the rushed permit decision.

“The Board and DEQ cannot determine that the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline will not violate Virginia’s water quality standards without doing detailed and cumulative water quality analyses,” said Misty Boos, Wild Virginia’s Director.

Members of the Board did express doubt that DEQ’s proposal to rely on the Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide 12 permit for protection of water quality at stream and wetland crossings would be adequate to meet state standards. However, the Board’s revised certification, which attempts to reserve its authority to address those concerns through another, separate certification process is inadequate. That decision still sidesteps the real issue – that the Board had a responsibility to protect our waters from the whole range of damages this pipeline would cause,” Boos stated.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline project would send fracked gas from West Virginia to southern Virginia through a 42-inch pipe and would involve blasting and excavating through hundreds of streams, including some of the most sensitive and high-value aquatic habitats in the region. It would slice through the headwaters of the Roanoke River watershed endangering water supplies for Roanoke City and Roanoke County and threatens to pollute and disrupt flows in wells and springs that thousands of rural residents rely on.

“The DEQ’s erosion and sediment control plans and stormwater control plans are incomplete and have not been presented to the Board,” said David Sligh, Wild Virginia’s Conservation Director. “Karst analyses are incomplete. Data related to specific waterbody crossings is non-existent. The Nationwide 12 permit has not yet been authorized and determined to be applicable. The procedure is not based on sound science and is legally flawed. We cannot accept this betrayal of our trust and our rights without challenge,” Sligh stated.

Appalachian Mountain Advocates is representing Wild Virginia in the lawsuit along with the Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, the Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resource Defense Council and Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

See the Petition to the U.S. Court of Appeals (Fourth Circuit) here.


Misty Boos, Director
Wild Virginia, P.O. Box 1065
Charlottesville, VA 22902



Frack Free North Carolina has Factsheets & Reports

North Carolina Pipeline Blows Another Deadline

From an Article by John Murawski, News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), December 7, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. — The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, already more than a year behind schedule, missed another deadline Wednesday when North Carolina regulators said they would not issue an environmental permit by December 15th as had been expected.

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality sent the pipeline’s developers a request for more information on Monday, saying the request indefinitely suspends the December 15 deadline to issue an air-quality permit for a planned compressor station that will push the natural gas downstream through the underground pipeline. The date to issue a decision on the air-quality permit will now depend on the promptness of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s responses and the amount of time it takes state officials to review the materials.

The Department of Environmental Quality, part of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration, had previously submitted four rounds of questions seeking additional information from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s developers. The agency is headed by career environmentalist Michael Regan, a former Southeast Regional director of the Environmental Defense Fund and a former official in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a partnership of Charlotte-based Duke Energy and Richmond, Va.-based Dominion Energy, was slated to begin construction in early 2018. Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby said the latest hiccup doesn’t affect the project’s schedule.

“The air-quality permit only relates to the compressor station and doesn’t have any impact on our pipeline construction schedule,” Ruby said. “We don’t plan on beginning construction on the compressor station until spring or summer.”

Dozens of organizations have lined up against the project, saying it poses environmental risks and will effectively commit North Carolina to fossil fuels, as opposed to renewable resources, for decades to come. Duke Energy has said it needs the pipeline to import natural gas from the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale formations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to operate more than a dozen natural gas-fueled power plants, some already built, others under development and still others projected in the future.

The proposed 600-mile underground pipeline would cross West Virginia and Virginia, traversing eight largely rural counties in North Carolina along the Interstate 95 corridor. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline issued a statement Wednesday saying that environmental regulators in West Virginia waived a water-quality certification for the project, removing one regulatory obstacle to full approval in that state. The Sierra Club denounced the decision as a “dereliction of duty.”

In North Carolina, the project requires numerous permits. It will need an air-quality permit to operate the compressor station in Northampton County; under state law, the permit decision must be issued within 30 days of the public hearing, which took place November 15. Now the state agency says its request for more information stops the clock indefinitely until regulators are satisfied with responses and materials, which will require computer modeling and other advanced analyses.

The project also requires a water-quality permit to let the pipeline cross several hundred creeks, brooks and other waterways. It also requires two storm water permits, as well as two approvals for sediment- and erosion-control plans.

On Wednesday the North Carolina agency said it approved one of the sediment and erosion plans, with modifications.


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