Pipelines deserve attention
Published 10:22 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018
To the editor:
The Virginia Water Control Board will be meeting on April 12. Neither the Mountain Valley Pipeline nor the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is on the agenda. They should be.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has issued a water quality certification for the Mountain Valley Pipeline and will likely issue the same for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the near future. The DEQ should not approve these certifications.
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DEQ’s statement that they have a reasonable assurance that there will be no violations of Virginia water quality standards from these projects flies in the face of all scientific evidence, and DEQ knows it.
Neither pipeline can be built without very serious water quality violations, due to their massive size and the extreme conditions in which they would be built. Drinking water from wells and springs in the large areas of karst terrain that these pipelines would pass through are particularly vulnerable. Residents in these areas could lose their water.
These projects need state of the art controls and discrete small grading units to reduce pollution and flooding. Instead, we suspect that DEQ is waiving basic controls for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, putting our streams and our drinking water at greater risk.
DEQ advises that when they approve the plans and karst studies, the water quality certification for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is final, without allowing the public to review the large amount of new information in them. This is unacceptable.
The Water Control Board should assert its authority, allow further public review and comments on the new information, review those comments directly, without those comments being filtered by DEQ, and then vote on the water quality certification.
Fifteen government officials in Michigan have been indicted on criminal charges for their involvement in the Flint drinking water debacle. The same could happen in Virginia.