Regulators decline to reconsider water permits for pipelines
A regulatory panel has declined calls from environmental groups, landowners and others to reconsider important water-quality permits for two natural gas pipelines.
The State Water Control Board met Tuesday in Richmond to consider public comments it solicited earlier this year about the permits granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines.
Staff from the Department of Environmental Quality gave an overview of the thousands of comments received, and the board also heard from attendees of the packed hearing, which was raucous and contentious at times.
Critics have argued the Corps' review process is overly broad and have pushed for additional protections. DEQ has defended the process, and both pipeline companies say the review has been rigorous.
The move comes after the 4th Circuit
issued for the project by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. National Parks Service. Days after the ruling, FERC
of the 600-mile natural gas pipeline.
Conservation groups said they believe FERC "rushed through its decision to permit a pipeline that we don't need."
The board considered a motion to re-evaluate or revoke the permits but voted it down.
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