On August 25, 2021, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released a draft decision on a request for a water quality certification for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). This certification request is made under section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and a certification is required before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) may issue a permit for MVP to cut and blast through hundreds of streams and wetlands. Under state law, the certification is in the form of a Virginia Water Protection Permit.
The DEQ’s recommendation, presented as a draft permit, is that the State Water Control Board (Board) issue the certification and allow destruction of our waters and further damage to properties and communities along MVP’s path. This proposal is an abdication of DEQ’s duty to protect Virginians and our precious resources.
We now call on the citizen-led State Water Control Board to reject DEQ’s recommendation and deny the certification.
The Board must deny the certification for two reasons:
- The construction to date has already proven that this project is harming our waters, which is all the evidence the Board needs to reject the permit; and
- because MVP has failed to submit a large body of necessary information about possible impacts on water quality from this destructive project. Without this information, the Board cannot assure that state water quality standards will be met – the legal standard that must guide the Board’s decision.
Send a comment! Comments will be received until October 13th.
Where to send Comments:
DEQ re: Draft decision 401 permit
Comments can be submitted to Steve Hardwick via postal mail at DEQ Central Office, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond VA 23218, email at MVP@deq.virginia.gov; or fax at 804-698-4032.
Oral comments can be made at two public hearings:
Sept. 27 at the Pigg River Community Center in Rocky Mount and Sept. 28 at Radford University’s Kyle Hall. Both hearings will start at 6 p.m.
The draft permit can be viewed at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/10518/637654889508463767
Show up -you need not speak but you can wear something to show your opposition to the pipeline – TShirt, button, or even “no pipeline” on a piece of tape applied to your shirt. Be creative!
What can you say in a letter to DEQ?
- The full impact on streams and wetlands has NOT be addressed. Further and complete analysis is imperative before any permit is issued in order to prevent irreparable harm to our waterways.
- I am very concerned that sedimentation and erosion will harm our water supply. There are over 1100 water body crossings! Full assessment is mandatory
- The proposed pipeline crosses steep mountain slopes. The threat of contamination from sedimentation is high. Construction would disturb over 5,000 acres of soil classified as having potential for severe erosion
- The route will cross many miles of Karst terrain which typically contains sinkholes, springs and vulnerable underground aquifers. Many residents rely on wells and springs. Damage to the aquifers puts peoples’ access to fresh water at risk.
- People in the Roanoke area rely on Spring Hollow Reservoir for water. Damage to the watershed imperils the water supply of thousands of people in the Roanoke and Salem area.
- It worries me – as it should worry all of us – that this company has NO Experience in a project of this magnitude or in this type of topography. No amount of penalties or fines could ever compensate the damage that would very likely occur.
Citizen letters are powerful They need not be lengthy, 2 or 3 paragraphs are adequate.
Be sure to include your name, address, email and phone number.
More actions and information are available at these excellent organizations:
We hope you will check them out!
wildvirginia.org * (online petition available)
preservecraig.org (online donations accepted to fund the legal efforts and has historical science data)