Virginia & West Virginia Need to Protect Streams from Pipelines

by Duane Nichols on July 31, 2017

Subject: Protecting Water Quality in Name Only

Letter from Rick Webb, Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, July 26, 2017


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 VA-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 VA-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 VA-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 VA-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 VA-DEQ’s proposals to forego its responsibilities where others have fully exercised their authorities to protect their citizens and environments?”

VA-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.

For more information, see:

DPMC Press Statement

DPMC Letter to Governor

>>> Rick Webb, Program Coordinator
Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Duane Nichols August 7, 2017 at 10:33 am

Three Big Pipeliners Responsible for One U.S. Spill Per Week Since 2010

The three major pipeline companies now pushing to complete new infrastructure in Canada have collectively been responsible for one significant spill per week in the United States since 2010, according to a report and interactive map released last week by Greenpeace.

“Analysis of public data shows that the three companies proposing to build four tar sands pipelines—TransCanada, Kinder Morgan, Enbridge, and their subsidiaries—have seen 373 hazardous liquid spills from their U.S. pipeline networks from 2010 to present,” the organization reports. “Assuming these rates, the Keystone XL pipeline could expect 59 significant spills over a 50-year lifetime. Similarly, the Line 3 Expansion could see 51 significant spills over a 50-year lifetime.”

The study was based on data from the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. It showed that the three companies’ pipelines have released 63,221 barrels of hazardous material over the last seven years, including 20,082 barrels of diluted bitumen that Enbridge spilled into the Kalamazoo River in 2010. The U.S. Center for Biological Diversity published a similar analysis of PHMSA data in 2014.

“Despite industry claims to the contrary, history shows that there is simply no safe way to transport fossil fuels, and pipelines are no exception,” writes Greenpeace content producers Ryan Schleeter.

In fact, “the rate and volume of pipeline spills in the United States has increased in recent years, with devastating consequences for communities and our environment. In the past decade, U.S. pipeline spills have led to 20 fatalities, 35 injuries, US$2.6 billion in costs, and more than 34 million gallons spilled. That’s an average of 9,000 gallons of hazardous liquids spilled every single day for ten years.”

Kirk A Bowers, PE
Virginia Chapter, Sierra Club
Pipelines Program Coordinator
106 George Rogers Road
Charlottesville, VA 22911


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