Public Comment Period and Hearings by Va. DEQ for 401 Certification Process Related to Proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Natural Gas Pipelines: Comment Period July 3-August 22, 2017; Hearings in August 2017

On June 30, 2017, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced the public comment period and a series of public hearings on the 401 certification process for water-resources impacts of the proposed Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines.  “401” refers to the relevant section of the federal Clean Water Act.

According to the DEQ’s news release on the public comment period,  “The documents on which DEQ is seeking comments…referred to as 401 certifications…will place conditions on activities in upland areas that are near state waters and that may indirectly affect state water along the pipeline routes.  These certifications are in addition to the requirements imposed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, by the Commonwealth of Virginia for stormwater, erosion and sediment control, and by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for wetlands and streams.  The conditions address, among other matters, impacts to public water supplies; engineering and best management practices for steep slopes and slide-prone areas; environmental monitoring and inspections; and development and implementation of plans and procedures for karst mitigation, spill prevention control, water quality monitoring, and protection of riparian buffers.”

The public comment period ran July 3-August 22, 2017.

The public hearing schedule was as follows:
Atlantic Coast Pipeline
— August 7, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. — James Madison University, Festival Conference and Student Center, Grand Ballroom, 1301 Carrier Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22807.  Parking is in Lots C11, C12, and D3.

— August 10, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. — Longwood University, Jarman Auditorium, 201 High St., Farmville, VA 23901.  Parking is in Wheeler Lot, Crafts Lot, High Street Lot, Randolph Lot or other university-owned lots.

— August 14, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. — Dinwiddie High School Auditorium, 11501 Boisseau Road, Dinwiddie, VA 23841.  Parking is only in designated areas on school property.

Mountain Valley Pipeline
— August 8, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. — Radford University, Preston/Bondurant Auditorium, 801 East Main St., Radford, VA 24142.  Parking is only in Lot A, or Lots E and U.

— August 9, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. — Chatham High School Auditorium, 100 Cavalier Circle, Chatham, VA 24531.  Parking is only in designated areas on school property.

Also, on August 10, 2017, the DEQ attended informal public meetings at 1 p.m.  at the Newport Community Center, 434 Bluegrass Trail in Newport (Giles County), and at 5 p.m. at Cave Spring High School, 3712 Chaparral Drive in the City of Roanoke.  These meetings were organized by Virginia House of Delegates members Greg Habeeb and Joseph Yost.  Verbal comments at these meetings were not recorded or considered submitted.

Public comment period and public hearings scheduled on draft water quality certifications for proposed natural gas pipelines, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 6/30/17).
DEQ agrees to add informal meetings on Mountain Valley Pipeline, Roanoke Times, 7/18/17.
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, “Water Protection for Pipelines,” online at

For more details on developments around the DEQ’s 401 certification process for the proposed pipelines, please see this Water Central News Grouper post.

News Accounts of the Public Hearings

Atlantic Coast project:
Pipeline meeting draws project supporters, opponents, WHSV TV-Harrisonburg, 8/8/17.
Hundreds attend DEQ hearing in Harrisonburg on Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Lynchburg News & Advance, 8/8/17.
Pipeline opponents demand action from state at DEQ hearing, News Leader, 8/8/17.
At Pipeline Hearings, Voices of Protest and Support, WMRA FM-Harrisonburg, 8/7/17.

Mountain Valley project:
Public hearing in Radford on environmental impacts of Mountain Valley Pipeline, WSLS TV-Roanoke, 8/9/17.
Pipeline proponents, opponents sound off at public hearing in Radford, Roanoke Times, 8/8/17.
Dozens speak out for and against MVP water regulations, WDBJ TV-Roanoke, 8/8/17.

August 8, 2017, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality public hearing at Radford University.

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