State Water Board makes DEQ open new stream crossing comment period
MVP will have to stop construction if a new review of current general permits to cross all streams leads to their withdrawal. A new public comment period opened because of concern about the safety of the project. Comments must be submitted this month to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), specifically addressing the risks to Virginia waters if MVP crosses hundreds of our streams. The State Water Control Board, at its April meeting, expressed surprise that DEQ had approved MVP Erosion & Sedimentation Control plans without consultation. They also questioned DEQ’s lack of oversight by accepting a blanket national permit and demanded a full review of stream crossing impacts. Links and details about how to comment by May 30 are on Preserve Craig’s website.
In other news, the first arguments in federal lawsuits against MVP will be heard, May 8 in Richmond. If you want to attend, please get in touch. The Fourth District Federal Court has consolidated several cases for review next Tuesday morning and will listen to legal briefs against the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the DEQ, for a range of violations of regulations and laws. Preserve Craig is a participant in the consolidated cases. Our environmental attorney, Tammy Belinsky, indicates the court will take some time to issue decisions on these cases.
And, last week Senator Tim Kaine renewed his criticism of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permit, demanding they reconsider the private company’s license to take private land. He called the approval process flawed. He also asked that protesters be treated with respect. There are tree-sitters in their own private property in Franklin and Roanoke County and Forest Service land in Giles and Monroe County. Their supporters, attempting to deliver supplies, are being arrested. Although Kaine wasn’t encouraging tree-sitters to defy court orders, he said the protests should come as no surprise. “And so sadly, I think this was predictable that you’re going to have some significant concern about a decision when people question its legitimacy,” Kaine told reporters during a teleconference Wednesday. “And that’s why the FERC process needs to be reformed.”
“The [tree sitters] generally represent the interest of the public and the environment, such as the interest in protecting the waters underlying Peters Mountain, its flora and fauna, its view shed, the ANST, and similar interests that will or may be destroyed, if this request for a preliminary injunction is granted, and the project proceeds before the public interest is considered at a trial on the merits. These interests may suffer irreparable harm if the preliminary injunction is granted.” Judge Irons’ Ruling in April against MVP.
We need help to protect our community
We must fight these horrendous precedents or there will be more intrusions on our rights and quality of life. Show our Muscle. Preserve Craig is appealing illegal FERC, DEQ, Forest Service and BLM decisions, all based on faulty MVP claims and misuse of eminent domain We need your donations to protect this special place.
Bill Wolf, Co-Chair, Inc.