Letter to the Editor: Preserve Craig – Sustaining the Quality of Life We Value

Published at: https://www.newcastlerecord.com/opinion/letter-to-the-editor-preserve-craig-sustaining-the-quality-of-life-we-value/

This is the first in a series, intended to update Craig County about the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

In 2015 hundreds of Craig County citizens participated in numerous public meetings about the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Over 2000 county residents signed petitions and spoke out in opposition to this potentially devastating project. Thanks partially to all those efforts, the original route through the County was moved. The proposed new route slices through an edge of the County for about two miles.

But, most folks do not realize that this new path would do much the same harm to Craig County and our region as the previous proposed route. It would change our quality of life, our local economy and the security of our water supply, our citizens, our National Forest forever. It will cut a swath across our mountains, the Appalachian Trail, and Route 42, one of the two major roads providing transportation to our County. It would still cross Sinking Creek and take away land by eminent domain.

Most importantly, the need for this project has not been demonstrated, and does not benefit the public. This new route is not an appropriate site for a utility corridor for many reasons. The same reasons as we had before still stand: sedimentation of streams, disturbance of ground water in karst terrain on which 90 percent of residents depend for spring water, destruction of old growth forest and bear habitat, placing a scar on the Appalachian trail and its viewshed, and so much more. Not to mention the unbelievable damage it will do to our neighbors in the historic village of Newport, Virginia.

We at Preserve Craig are continuing the fight even though the new route does not dramatically bisect the county as the old one did. The reasons are numerous, including the fact that we are directly in the path of other proposed pipelines being located in a line from the fracking gasfields of upper West Virginia and the Coastal ports. We are working hard to stop this first pipeline, or there will be others in the near future.

The reasons to oppose this pipelines are clear, and the use of eminent domain for private gain is unacceptable to us. Objecting is the right thing to do and aligns with our mission. Preserve Craig is working with our local government and numerous other organizations on this effort. We have also joined forces with POWHR (Protect Our Water, Heritage, and Rights) and are now preparing to protect our quality of life in the courts. We are helping to fund legal efforts to oppose the use of eminent domain for private gain, protecting against damage to our water resources, our National Forest, and the Appalachian Trail.

Important events in August include:

August 7 is the deadline for submitting formal objections to the US Forest Service opposing their proposed unprecedented changes to Forest Management Plan. If implemented, this would reverse the 2002 Forest Service Record of Decision that Preserve Craig successfully won in 2002 after 11 years of efforts. Preserve Craig’s legal and science team has submitted a comprehensive Objection Filing.

On August 8 and 9 the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold hearings in Radford and Chatham about issuing water crossing permits to MVP. On August 10 DEQ will participate in an informal Town Hall meeting in Newport.

Preserve Craig, Inc. is a 501C3 nonprofit volunteer public charity formed in 1991 using volunteers and donations to protect our natural, historical, and cultural resources. Tax-deductible donations are welcome online at http://www.preservecraig.org or by mail to: Preserve Craig,Inc., PO Box 730, New Castle, VA. 24127. Phone: 540-309-9560. Email: preservecraig@gmail.com ;

More detailed information can be found at Preserve Craig’s website at http://www.preservecraig.org Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PreserveCraigCountyVirginia

-Submitted by Bill Wolf, Co-Chair, Preserve Craig, Inc.

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