Preserve Craig Files to Block Forest Service Permits
This week we’ll hear from Gordon Jones. His statement to the US Court of Appeals as part of Preserve Craig’s lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service (FS) asks the court to block Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) from harming our mountains and waters and way of life. The Jones family has lived on Sinking Creek for seven generations. In addition to harming the historic properties and civil war cemeteries, MVP would forever take away the peace and security the Jones’ and all of us have a right to expect. And just for private profit to export fracked gas overseas?
DECLARATION OF GORDON JONES
I, Gordon Jones, do hereby affirm and state:
- I am of legal age and am competent to give this declaration. All information herein is based on my own personal knowledge unless otherwise indicated.
- I give this declaration for use by Preserve Craig, Inc., in its legal challenge of the decision of the United States Forest Service identified as “Mountain Valley Project Land and Resource Management Plan Amendment for the Jefferson National Forest, Monroe County, West Virginia, Giles and Montgomery Counties, Virginia.” Preserve Craig also challenges the “Record of Decision: Mountain Valley Pipeline Project Decision to Grant Rights of Way and Temporary Use Permits, Monroe and Braxton Counties, West Virginia, Giles and Montgomery Counties, Virginia” by the United States Bureau of Land Management for which challenge I also give this declaration.
- I am a member of Preserve Craig, Inc., a group of Craig County citizens whose mission is to preserve the essential ecological, historical, and cultural resources of our county.
- I am the sixth generation of my family, residing peacefully on my family farm on Sinking Creek, in Craig County, with mailing address of 641 Stevers Gap Trail, Newport, VA 24128. This land has been in my family since the 1700s.
- My farm adjoins Jefferson National Forest. The National Forest is upland of my farm on Sinking Creek Mountain, also locally known as Gap Mountain. The two springs that serve my family farm and feed the creek on my farm are protected by and fed by the watershed of the National Forest.
- This is fragile Karst land. There are sinkholes and fissures that connect our underwater springs. My water supplies and farm livelihood can be harmed by weakening the Management Plan of the National Forest to allow for construction on the very steep slopes where MVP is proposing to build very nearby.
- I have enjoyed the Jefferson National Forest all of my life. I am 63 years old and have been hunting, trapping, and hiking in the Forest since I was a young child. I do not know any other lifestyle and the Jefferson National Forest is an inherent part of my life. The construction and maintenance of a right-of-way and pipeline through the forest will permanently harm the forest my enjoyment of the woods and my ability to share it with my children and grandchildren.
- My wife, Donna, and I have lived peacefully on our family farm all of our lives, raised two children, the seventh generation, and now have a grandchild, the eighth generation.
- The Forest Service decision to modify its management plan is a threat to our very livelihood, our way of life, our attachment to the land, our family traditions, our viewsheds, and our peace and quiet.
- I am aware that the Forest Service issued a Record of Decision in 2002 that this area was not an appropriate area for a much less damaging right of way for a power line. That decision has not been reversed and had given us peace of mind that we could rely on the Forest Service to keep its promise to protect the Forest.
- The proposed pipeline route also goes through my property before it leaves the valley and turns up the very steep mountainside to cross into and permanently damage the Jefferson National Forest. The path of the pipeline would travel directly below my home, crossing over one Spring and the branch that is the water supply for my livestock and my fields.
- I understand that if the appeals of the decisions to amend the Land and Resource Management Plan and/or to grant the right of way to construct the Mountain Valley Pipeline through the Jefferson National Forest then the government will have to reconsider its decisions. Any cause for reconsideration would somewhat lessen my concerns. If reconsideration leads to the rightful conclusion that the 42-inch high pressure gas pipeline cannot be built on the proposed route without unacceptably degrading the National Forest and the Forest Service declines to change the management plan or the Bureau of Land Management denies the right of way then my fears and concerns will be eliminated.
I declare under penalty of perjury pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746 that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Signed by Gordon Jones on February 17, 2018