Virginia water board certifies proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline
Virginia's Water Control Board has issued a certification for a proposed natural gas pipeline that will run through six counties in the state.
The board voted 5-2 Thursday to issue a water quality certification for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. At a public comment session Wednesday, most of the dozens of speakers expressed concerns about digging trenches for a 42-inch buried steel pipe to run along steep mountain slopes.
This was the second day of hearings on the pipeline.
The board was charged with determining whether there is "reasonable assurance" that water along the pipeline's route would not be contaminated during construction.
Melanie Davenport, the Director of Water Permitting for the Department of Environmental Quality, acknowledged opponents' concerns about the federal approval process, and fears about safety, but said her agency's focus is much narrower.
"What we're bound to do is look at the statutes and regulations that we have authority to implement and utilize," said Davenport.
The pipeline would move pressurized natural gas through the Roanoke and New River valleys.
Appalachian Voices, a nonprofit advocate for Appalachian communities, said in a statement it was disappointed by the decision.
The Chesapeake Climate Action Network used stronger language, condemning the decision:
WHSV has reached out to Dominion Energy for a statement on the decision as well.
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