Dominion is gaming the system and the McAuliffe administration’s DEQ is playing along.
Just as we feared, the DEQ has now initiated a public comment period without providing access to the project details required for objective review.
We don’t know if the DEQ has obtained erosion and sediment control and stormwater management plans or if it intends to review those plans prior to 401 Water Quality Certification. It may be that the DEQ plans to review those specific plans after the certification has been issued. That would indeed be gaming the system. First, because those plans provide the information needed for a meaningful analysis of water resource risks and mitigation measures. And second, because once the DEQ has issued a 401 Water Quality Certification, it has effectively exhausted its authority. Virginia’s best leverage on FERC-controlled projects is its power under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act; it may be the only significant authority states have that supersedes FERC dictates.
We have to ask:
As we have noted previously: