Updated February 20, 2018
Thanks to several state leaders who understand the dire impacts of the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines on communities, landowners, our water, forests and climate, several legislative proposals in our favor have been introduced to the General Assembly this session.
Two bills from Senator Deeds (SB 698 on erosion and sediment control, and SB 699 on stormwater), and one from Senator Hanger (SB 950 on individual stream analysis), all passed the Senate and are now in the House of Delegates for consideration. On Feb. 20, all three had passed a House Agriculture subcommittee and could potentially be heard in the full committee on Feb. 21.
Appalachian Voices and other organizations are still working to improve the bills for the most beneficial impact.
There’s still time to contact your legislator and urge her or him to pass these bills.
To keep an eye on these bills and other important environmental legislation, check out Virginia Conservation Network’s bill-tracker.
On January 26, despite the objections of thousands of North Carolinians over the years, Gov. Roy Cooper approved a water quality permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. A major partner in the project is corporate giant Duke Energy, which operates in the Carolinas.
The Cooper administration had repeatedly compelled Duke Energy and Dominion Energy, the lead developer of the pipeline, to submit further information about the pipeline’s impacts. The state’s action allowing the project was a great disappointment to citizens, who nonetheless continue to oppose this risky, ill-conceived and unnecessary fracked-gas pipeline.
Read our January 26 press statement reacting to the governor’s announcement.
The W.V. Department of Environmental Protection waived its right to issue a water quality permit under the Clean Water Act for both the ACP and MVP, essentially giving the pipeline companies the go ahead.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October, 2017 issued the “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” for both interstate pipelines. In both cases, the agency said the pipelines can be built with minimal environmental harm. We strongly disagree with this assessment (read our press release for MVP and ACP).
Appalachian Voices and dozens of other public interest groups have filed legal challenges against those permits. Challenges have also been filed to other permitting agencies, including the National Park Service which oversees the Blue Ridge Parkway, for their recent approvals of the projects. In addition, landowners in West Virginia and Virginia have filed separate lawsuits challenging FERC’s authority to grant the power of “eminent domain” that allows the for-profit companies to take private property for their own gain.