Letter: Is pipeline ‘too big to handle’ for DEQ?

Is the Atlantic Coast Pipeline permit too big to deny?  Maybe keeping track of the ACP’s 1,989 water body crossings by our DEQ is just too big a job, even if it is their job.

pipelineThe Natural Gas Act specifically preserves state authority to approve or deny a Water Quality Certificate for pipelines under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.  Virginia’s DEQ is handing over that responsibility, given to them by both the Clean Water Act and Virginia law, to the ARMY Corp of Engineers under the nationwide blanket Permit 12, which can approve thousands of water body crossings at once, all without any site-specific review.

The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, in a suit filed on June 7, says that the DEQ cannot hand off their responsibility to the Army Corp of Engineers unless they first determine the Corp’s requirements comply with Virginia’s water quality standards for these particular projects.  Virginians need assurance that pipeline activities covered by the permit issued by the Corp. will not cause serious damage and will not violate Virginia standards.

A national association, representing 1,000 businesses in 27 states, just called for Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates to embrace “transformational change,” focusing on renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grids, and  energy storage.  No water crossing permits or use of eminent domain needed.

If protecting our water is just “too big to handle” for our DEQ, the administration should take up the call for transformational change.

Letter from Jane Twitmyer

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