Atlantic Coast Pipeline Hearing at Virginia Water Control Board

The Virginia State Water Control Board (SWCB) will hold meetings in December to consider the applications for water quality certification for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The consideration is part of the process required under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act. The meetings are scheduled for:

• Mountain Valley Pipeline. 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, December 6, 2017, and Thursday, December 7, 2 017. Location: Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA

• Atlantic Coast Pipeline. 9:30 a.m., Monday, December 11, 2017, and Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Location: Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA

On the first day of each meeting, those who made oral or written comments during the public comment period will have an opportunity to sign up to speak to the board under the board’s policy for public participation. Agenda can be found here: http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/GetFile.cfm?File=C:\TownHall\docroot\\meeting\103\26648\Agenda_DEQ_26648_v1.pdf

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will present a summary of the public comments (included in the Agenda document) it received and will make its recommendations to the board on the proposed additional conditions at each meeting. DEQ issued in July an initial recommendation that both the ACP and MVP be certified. The SWCB may approve, deny or amend the recommendations.

Pipeline resistance HQ during the meetings

Partners, allies and friends opposed to the pipelines will have our own space just across the street from the Trinity Center. Please be sure to stop by to get information, print out your comments, grab some snacks to fuel you throughout the meetings days, and say hello!

  • First Union Baptist Church (across the street from the Trinity Center), 3510 Dill Road, Richmond, VA 23222. We will be in the Fellowship Hall 8:30-4:30 every day of the water board meetings!

Frequently Asked Questions

The Virginia DEQ website has a lot of updates on what you should know about the upcoming state water control board meetings and we strongly encourage you to review the water board meeting agendas and DEQ’s summary of water quality comments, but if you don’t have time for that, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  1. Can I comment at the upcoming water board meetings?

Only those persons who commented during DEQ’s official water quality certification public comment period (July 3, 2017 – August 22, 2017) may speak. These persons may speak for up to 3 minutes to respond to the summary of the prior proceedings, including DEQ’s summary of comments received during the public comment period.

If you did any of the following, you CAN give a comment at the upcoming water board meetings:

  • provided spoken comment at the recent DEQ public hearings back in August,
  • sent in a written comment during the public comment period,
  • and/or signed an organization’s petition to the DEQ during the comment period.
  1. When do I need to arrive to comment at the water board meetings?

You need to arrive before 9:30 AM (as early as 8:30 AM) on the first day of the meetings (Dec 6 for the MVP and Dec 11 for the ACP) to sign up to comment. A speaker can only register to sign up for herself/himself/themselves.

If you need a place to stay in Richmond so you can be at the Trinity Center early to sign up, see lodging options.

  1. How long do I have to comment?

3 minutes to comment! If you would like to volunteer to pool your comment time with another speaker, see question number 4.

  1. Can I give my time someone else (like a directly impacted landowner or water expert)?

Yes you can! You MUST attend the state water control board meetings in person and note that you are giving your time to someone else when you sign in. If you wish to pool your time, please sign up below and one of our partners will be in touch with you to coordinate this effort further.

MVP volunteer your time sign up

ACP volunteer your time sign up

  1. Can I share materials when I am giving my comment?

Yes, you may! If you have material that you want to share with the Board, the DEQ staff will distribute to them, but you will need to bring at least 12 copies. Also, remember that comments at the Board meeting are limited to responding to the summary of the July 3, 2017 – August 22, 2017 public comment period that has been provided by the Department to the Board.

  1. Is there opportunity for any audio or visual materials (for example, a powerpoint presentation) to be used during the comment period?

Unfortunately, we do not know if this is an option. Come prepared with hard copies of resources and photographs you wish to share.

Developing Your Comments

As we mentioned before, it is very important that you review the VA DEQ’s summary of the prior proceedings including DEQ’s summary of comments received during the public comment period and respond to them in your comments.

Section 401 Certification

Under the Clean Water Act, Virginia has the power to grant or deny water quality certification for the pipelines. The pipelines would cross streams and wetlands all along their routes, potentially impacting all of the above ground and below ground waters in Virginia that are located along the pipeline routes.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) makes recommendations to the State Water Control Board (SWCB) and then the State Water Control Board decides whether or not to grant certification. The SWCB is expected to vote at the December 2017 meetings (details below) to approve, deny, or delay the 401 water quality certification for both proposed pipelines.

Virginia State Water Control Board Meetings

The Virginia State Water Control Board, a citizen board that has authority over certain permits affecting Virginia’s waterways, will hold meetings this month on permit applications for the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast fracked-gas pipelines. Citizens who previously submitted comments to the State Water Control Board—by signing an organization’s petition, or by writing their own comments, or by speaking at the August public hearings—will be given the opportunity to testify and comment one final time at these meetings. Comments must focus on the VA Department of Environmental Quality’s summary of comments citizens made during the public comment period in July and August.

Public comments will only be received on the FIRST DAY of these two-day meetings. DEQ will present on the second day, after which the Board will consider the permits.

Further analysis of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the 401 issue in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, go to:

https://www.abralliance.org

https://www.southernenvironment.org/inthepath/