The editorial writers of the Richmond Times-Dispatch go to extremes in their support for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Their April 8th editorial, Time to move forward on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, is a classic.

DPMC Investigator, David Sligh, provided the following response (published in the RTD on April 15th).

Your editorial, “Time to move forward on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” makes incorrect assertions and belittles Virginians who are defending our rights and precious water resources — our common wealth.

The editorial says “DEQ has chosen to subject the pipeline to a stream-by-stream, puddle-by-puddle analysis of the project’s effect on water quality, rather than follow federal rules that allow blanket permitting.” Since when did The Times-Dispatch believe Virginians should meekly accept decisions by federal bureaucrats? Congress explicitly reserved our rights to resist impositions from “the feds” to protect our waters.

In saying DEQ wants “puddle-by-puddle” analyses, you either fail to understand how state water quality enforcement works or make a poor attempt at humor. You criticize stream-by-stream analyses, seemingly comfortable with DEQ ignoring huge differences between mountain streams, Piedmont rivers, and tidal waters. We who depend on these waters in our backyards and communities won’t accept broad-brush analyses or decisions.

You assert that Dominion “already received a green light,” ignoring the word “draft” preceding the words “environmental impact statement.” That document included descriptions of environmental impacts and preliminary findings but invited the public and agencies to provide information and opinions, to which FERC must respond. DEQ’s April 6 comments show threats to groundwater were not adequately assessed, and streams and wetlands were not described in necessary detail to ensure their survival as functioning ecosystems.

You state: “opponents of the pipeline would be happy if it never received any permits, and would love to use the permit process to prevent its construction. But that is not how the law works in America.” I and others intend to use the permit process to reveal the truth — that these pipelines cannot be built as proposed and meet Virginia water quality standards. That’s exactly “how the law works in America.”

David Sligh