The Forest Service has new plans to permit MVP construction and has a very short comment period. The deadline for comment is this coming Monday, November 9. Please submit a comment now!
Background: After years of silence, the Forest Service has opened a short comment period on proposed changes to their management plan and a new Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that would grant permission for MVP to cross the Forest and the Appalachian Trail on Sinking Creek Mountain and allow construction in Craig County. The 4th Circuit had voided the original permit and ordered the BLM and the USFS to revise the sediment analysis, seek a “no action” or an alternate route, and required proper public comment. This is that attempt.
Some objection points for comments:
IMPACTS TO SOIL HEALTH (Amendments to: FW-5, FW-8, FW-9, FW-13, FW-14 and 11-003)
● Riparian zones should be protected because of their unique ability to buffer waterways from sediment and nutrient runoff, stabilize banks, shade and regulate stream temperatures, and provide much of the food sources for river ecosystems.
● Compacted soils alter root growth, increase runoff and are difficult to mitigate
● Allowing clearing and construction of riparian zones in the streamside corridors significantly increases the possibility of continued water quality degradation
● Altering the soil structure in the path of the pipeline would cause permanent changes in the way the soil holds water.
WHY OLD-GROWTH FOREST SHOULD BE PROTECTED (Amendment to: 6C-026)
● There are few old-growth forests left in the Eastern United States – impacts should be considered very seriously.
● Old-growth forests are beneficial to us as they are one of the few areas of land where topsoil is created
● More carbon and nitrogen is retained than in younger forest stands.
● Allowing a permanent right of way through old growth forests could harm vulnerable interior forest species by creating edge habitats.
IMPACTS TO SCENIC VIEWSHED STANDARDS (Amendment to: 4A028)
● The SEIS minimizes the severity of impacts on public resources.
● Boring under the trail would negatively impact groundwater supplies.
● The listed “minor” temporary adverse effects from noise, dust and visual intrusions are more harmful than summarized.
UTILITY CORRIDORS AND LACK OF NEED (Amendment to: FW-248)
● MVP wants to alter amendment FW-248 (utility corridors) of the National Forest Management Act by stating that the economic benefit of the pipeline will balance out the damage done to our national forests.
● MVP’s purported need has not surfaced, as domestic demand for gas continues to be flat.
● This could set a precedent for more unneeded fossil-fuel infrastructure, which could lead to cumulative impacts on the waterways and soils in our national forests.
Additionally, the environmental harm could be greater than what MVP is projecting. To date, improper and inadequate sediment and erosion control practices during construction along the route of the MVP have led to more than 350 water quality violations in Virginia and West Virginia