Wild Virginia response to McAuliffe pipeline announcement

virginia-newDespite strong opposition from landowners and the citizens of Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe made statements today in support of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposal, previously the “Dominion Southeast Reliability Project.”

“The governor’s support of this pipeline runs contrary to his previous support of a ban on fracking in the George Washington National Forest (GWNF)”, said Misty Boos, Wild Virginia’s Managing and Development Director.  “It represents a huge increase in gas infrastructure that will, in the long term, increase pressure to begin fracking in the George Washington National Forest.”

The pipeline would go through ~50miles of the most sensitive areas of the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests.  It would also cross the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail–two national treasures known for their one of a kind views and beautiful natural forests.

The pipeline would have to be constructed in severely challenging mountainous terrain and through unstable karst formations that dominate the topography of Highland and Augusta Counties. Karst is characterized by sinkholes and sinking streams that greatly increase the likelihood of accidents, leaks and dangerous fractures.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would also disturb the headwaters of major watersheds that provide high quality drinking water for much of Virginia and the District of Columbia. The George Washington National Forest is the headwaters for the Chesapeake Bay, the james river and over 4 million of water users. Shenandoah Valley residents rely on mountain forest headwaters or wells for their drinking water. The pipeline would cross almost four hundred streams in Virginia and destroy the riparian buffers and wetlands that protect them. The Shenandoah, Rockfish and james river watersheds would suffer from heavy sedimentation caused by pipeline construction and maintenance. An accident or a significant weather event could destroy almost Staunton’s entire water supply.

“Building the pipeline means clear-cutting our forests and threatening streams, rivers, and our drinking water. It means leaving a permanently cleared scar through our forests for invasive species to invade sensitive ecosystems.   Building the pipeline means telling landowners that their personal property rights and conservation can be easily trumped by business interests” said Boos.

Dominion and their partners declared today that they intend to submit a pre-filing request application to FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission). Wild Virginia is ready to stand with our members, partner organizations, landowners, and Virginia citizens to stop this destructive pipeline plan.

“This is most certainly not over,” said Boos.