The Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is aiming to rubber-stamp permit applications for “utlilty” projects like the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipelines, and eliminate any state-sponsored environmental review of simiar large-scale projects that are abusing eminent domain for private gain, and threatening Virginia’s streams and wetlands.
The state has proposed issuing an all-encompassing “Water Quality Certification” permit that would rubber-stamp any project that has received a controversial “Nationwide Permit 12” (NWP 12) from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — including the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines.
But the “NWP 12” itself has been criticized as a “de-facto federal authorization of the project” that elimiates any meaningful review that would normally be mandated under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Virginia’s water resources must be protected not exploited, and this rubber-stamp by the DEQ fails to assure the protection of water quality standards throughout Virginia:
- The proposed WQC issuance is illegal: the DEQ has not conducted the required analysis
- The blanket WQC for projects across Virginia cannot protect the wide range of water bodies that might be affected
- This proposal must be rejected: it would allow damage to waters we care about that must be preserved for future generations
Virginia’s DEQ has been empowered to issue such a “fast-track” past environmental reviews only if the DEQ can ensure that all Virginia water quality standards will be met.
The already significantly weakened and toothless NWP 12 environmental review does not meet the standards established by Virginia to protect the great variety of waters that would be affected across the state.
The Army Corps openly admits that aquatic life and recreational uses will be damaged or eliminated, sometimes for years and sometimes permanently — even if the NWP 12 permit requirements are met. These damages cannot be allowed under Virginia’s water quality standards.
We must protect Virginia’s waters from this rubber-stamp approval of pipelines and “utility” projects.
The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition will submit an eight-page objection to the DEQ’s proposed Water Quality Certification on Friday, March 17, and Bold Alliance and local groups including Wild Virginia have signed on. Your signatures here will also be included along with the official objection submitted to DEQ.
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