PRESERVE CRAIG – Sustaining the Quality of Life We Value – December 13, 2017
State Pressures Water Board to Issue MVP Permit
DEQ Colludes with Convicted Polluters to Force Approval of 401 License
Last Thursday, December 7 was Pearl Harbor Day. While we will forever remember those who lost their lives on that infamous day, we may now have a more recent undeclared attack on some of the citizens of Virginia by our own government.
The State Water Control Board was forced by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Attorney General’s office to vote to approve a permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) prematurely, without adequate data or time to evaluate it.
MVP claiming the pipeline won’t harm waters (with State Police behind).
The two-day public meeting December 6 & 7 was guarded by numerous heavily armed State Troopers and local police. On day one, the Board heard requests from several County governments, legislators, scientists, and citizens to deny the permit without prejudice. Compelling evidence showed that Virginia’s waters will be harmed and more study is required before a 401 Water Quality Permit could possibly be justified. Several Board members were leaning toward denying the permit pending more data — or postponing the vote.
Then, in a stunningly unfair format for a public meeting, day two was dedicated to coercing the Board to approve the permit. The first wave attack was by MVP – with promises and slide shows to allay the Board’s doubts. Interestingly, citizens were specifically prohibited from showing slides the day before and could only speak for three minutes, and only if they had previously submitted written comments.
DEQ’s Melanie Davenport pressing Board to issue permit to MVP.
The second attack on our citizens and water came from a state employee, Melanie Davenport, head of State permitting for DEQ. She presented extensive arguments and slides as to why 8000 written and the previous day’s verbal comments were without merit. She even explicitly reported that she had spent the last two years working with MVP to get them a permit, apparently at the direction of Governor McAuliffe.
Preserve Craig Attorney Belinsky showing risk to water at the hearing.
There was still a desire for more information and the possibility that it would not pass. This triggered the third wave of attacks when another state employee, David Grandis, Assistant Attorney General, instructed the Board that they needed to vote now, without providing accurate guidance on their duties or options.
Late on day two, v some Board members were still expressing doubts about the safety of this massive project, so the Chair and Melanie proposed a recess to craft amendments to the permit. Melanie called a private meeting with agents and attorneys for MVP as well as Board members. The Board reconvened and Melanie presented new language that DEQ claimed would solve any objections.
The Board immediately voted in a split decision 5 to 2 to approve the revised permit before the public could fully comprehend what was happening.
The final unannounced attack of the day came when 40 State Troopers dressed in combat gear forced the public to leave the building and grounds the State had rented for the meeting, only moments after the vote was completed. MVP personnel remained inside with the Board and DEQ staff.
The same schedule and permit approval process was planned for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline this week. In a surprise move by Preserve Craig’s attorney, Tammy Belinsky returned to Richmond and presented testimony at that hearing this Monday questioning the procedures and instructions being used. She also used the opportunity to formally file a Petition for Reconsideration of the 401 permit.
Just as after Pearl Harbor, our resolve to fight and defend our country, our people, and our waters is strengthened, and we will win.
You can help protect our way of life and our beautiful mountains and resources:
- Preserve Craig has collected over $13,500 of its initial $30,000 goal for the Forest Service legal fund to oppose MVP. Tax-deductible donations to Preserve Craig are needed now.
- Write to our representatives. Information on our legislators is on our website and at the Appalachian Trail Commission website.
In other MVP news:
On December 1 Joby Timm, Forest Supervisor, signed a Record of Decision revising the Jefferson National Forest Management Plan to allow MVP to build on steep slopes, damage viewsheds and the Appalachian Trail, permanently erode soil, pollute public waters, remove old growth timber, and build in roadless areas. Preserve Craig is taking legal action to oppose this decision and protect the County, our water, and our National Forest.
We hope you are enjoying this holiday season. Thank you again for your support!
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 www.preservecraig.org or by mail to: Preserve Craig, Inc., PO Box 730, New Castle, VA. 24127. Phone: 540-309-9560. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org