Will Fracked Gas Pipelines Spoil “Wild Wonderful West Virginia”

by Duane Nichols on March 19, 2018

Rover Pipeline in Tyler County could be your backyard

“Stick this in your pipeline”

Editorial of Morgantown Dominion Post, Sunday, March 18, 2018

The cliche goes, hope springs eternal. Perhaps never more than when winter winds down and we can work and play outside, again. Yet, somewhere between the first buds of spring and the still-leafless trees, our hopes are dashed.

When we begin looking around outside to see how wild, wonderful West Virginia fared, we’re often shocked.

Litter, trash dumps, debris in our waterways and other scars on the landscape become painfully evident. Soon, another not exactly aesthetically pleasing sight will be visible threading through our state: Pipeline construction.

On March 5, one such pipeline was slapped with a cease-and-desist order by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Rover Pipeline traverses part of Doddridge County, the width of Tyler County and a corner of Wetzel County before crossing the Ohio River.

It is intersected in Ohio by a similar span from southwestern Pennsylvania, then slices diagonally across Ohio and on into Michigan. The DEP also cited this pipeline project owners in July for other violations, but apparently our regard for our state didn’t take hold.

This 713-mile project is reportedly 99 percent complete, but until it resolves the latest cluster of 14 violations, construction on the West Virginia section is halted.

It’s important to note here, this action by the DEP comes as two other major pipeline projects — the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley — get set to begin construction on their 300- and 600-miles lengths, respectively. At least one more major pipeline project is on the drawing board too, and not far behind.

These pipelines transport massive amounts of natural gas daily from processing plants in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Some of our state’s residents and even one longtime extraction industry often don’t bat an eye at environmental devastation. However, we warn pipeline construction companies that their excesses will be noticed and they should comply with regulations, or else. Or else this newspaper and other media outlets, nonprofits, citizens and, we hope, our state’s regulators will keep them under a microscope.

The construction of these pipeline projects was inevitable, but there can be no doubt, either, that they are built and maintained responsibly. No corporation and no one has the right to break state and federal rules that serve to protect our state.

We live here and we value our environment as much, or maybe more, than we do our natural resources, including natural gas. Keeping West Virginia wild and wonderful in the face of vast pipeline construction will not be easy.

But this recent skirmish should signal these corporations that the whole state is watching.


Volunteer Pipeline Visual Assessment Program

Free Webinar: Learn to Detect and Report Water Quality Impacts from Pipelines

The Volunteer Pipeline Visual Assessment Program was developed by Trout Unlimited and West Virginia Rivers Coalition to support and train volunteer citizen observers to identify, document and report pollution incidents associated with large-scale pipeline development.

Through a series of free webinars, volunteers will learn about erosion control best management practices used in pipeline development, specific examples of pollution to look for, and how to best document those problems. After the webinar, volunteer observers will be able to report pollution incidents to TU and WV Rivers. To learn more, visit the program webpage.

To participate in the program, please register for one of our free webinar trainings. Register for the webinar in the state you plan to monitor:
WV Specific Webinar: Tuesday, March 27th – 7:00pm-8:30pm.

Register here.

For more information, please contact Jake Lemon, TU’s Eastern Angler Science Coordinator, at jlemon@tu.org.


West Virginians for Public Lands Volunteer Workshop – WV Rivers


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