Today, DPMC sent a letter to Governor Northam asking that he take swift and decisive action to restore integrity and transparency to Virginia’s regulatory reviews of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). We fear that, without prompt attention to the concerns expressed in the letter, Virginia’s environment and citizens face imminent threats.
DPMC is calling on the Governor to require his administration to take three specific actions, to meet the law and satisfy his stated intentions:
- His environmental officials must use their authority to review and approve or disapprove waterbody crossings covered by the Corps of Engineers’ general permit.
- His environmental officials must prohibit any and all activities related to construction of the pipelines that might affect water quality unless and until all requirements of the WQCs are met.
- His environmental officials must ensure that before the ACP certification is deemed effective:
- remaining plans submitted by the company are made available to the public for review and comment and that DEQ considers and addresses those comments,
- DEQ makes a final recommendation to the SWCB, based on its review of the final plans and of public submissions, and
- DEQ requests formal Board action on its recommendation.
The Northam administration now has the authority and duty to uphold the principles Mr. Northam previously outlined as the guide for determining whether the pipeline proposals were properly and fairly handled by the State of Virginia:
- that the outcome of those deliberations must be based on scientific evidence
- that proceedings must be conducted in a transparent manner, and
- that approvals must be denied unless actions can be fully protective of Virginia’s environment and its citizens.
Unfortunately, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has betrayed the principles the Governor has espoused. DEQ has also disregarded intentions and expectations the State Water Control Board (SWCB) expressed when it considered these proposals in December of 2017. (see DEQ Statement on Process)
We call on all Virginians to let the Governor know you support the principles he’s outlined for these processes and want his to make sure they are followed by DEQ. You can do so by emailing him c/o his Chief of Staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 804-786-2211.