Virginia environmental groups holding online hearing on Mountain Valley Pipeline permit request
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Three environmental groups will hold an online hearing Monday night for people in Virginia and West Virginia to give their input on the Mountain Valley Pipeline Clean Water Act permit.
Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC has requested a permit from the Virginia Water Control Board to cross through hundreds of water bodies along the pipeline’s path across the two states. Installation of the pipeline began back in 2018 but thus far has only been allowed to take place underground in areas with no water.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality previously held two in-person hearings on the proposal, but now Wild Virginia, Appalachian Voices and the POWHR (Protect Our Water Heritage Rights) coalition are partnering to offer an online option for those across the state who couldn’t attend.
Wild Virginia says it’s concerned about the amount of pollution the construction would bring.
“They will release sediments, it’s a question of can they protect these streams adequately and we believe, especially for some of the most sensitive ones and some where there are rare species that they cannot do it safely,” said David Sligh, conservation director for Wild Virginia.
If the permit is approved, new stretches of pipeline would be installed in Giles County, Montgomery County, Roanoke County, Franklin County and Pittsylvania County, as well as a number of West Virginia counties.
“This is probably one of the biggest and most impactful proposals for affecting and polluting water in Virginia in decades, maybe ever,” said Sligh.
While none of the pipeline will be built in the Shenandoah Valley, Sligh says those concerned about the project should still make their voices heard.
“People throughout the Shenandoah Valley, people throughout the state who have concerns about the soundness and the integrity of our regulatory system have to be concerned because if it won’t work here it might not work the next time a project is proposed through your backyard or through your favorite stream,” said Sligh.
The public comment deadline for the Clean Water Act permit is Wednesday October 27. All comments at the hearing will go to the Virginia DEQ which will bring them before the Water Control Board.
The Water Control Board will make a final decision on the permit request in December.
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