At its meeting on Tuesday in Richmond, after reviewing public comments, listening to staff presentations and members of the public, the Virginia State Water Control Board (Board) passed a motion upholding its approvals for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).
The unanimous vote by the Board came after DEQ’s evaluation of more than 13,000 public comments received regarding the sufficiency of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) to protect stream crossings impacted by the MVP and ACP projects. The Board also heard DEQ staff reports on the status of both projects regarding public complaints, inspections, compliance and enforcement.
The Board’s motion instructed DEQ to continue to aggressively hold both projects in compliance through inspections and enforcement activities to the maximum extent of the agency’s authority. In addition, the Board directed DEQ to share relevant information from the public comment period with the Corps for its consideration in administering and enforcing NWP 12 to ensure protection of state waters.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the Board also voted to defeat a motion to amend or revoke DEQ’s certification of the Corps’ NWP 12.“I was pleased the Board reversed its earlier decision and gave meeting attendees the opportunity to share feedback during the meeting,” said DEQ Director David Paylor, who sits on the Board as a non-voting member. “Through their actions yesterday, the Board sent a clear message to DEQ to continue to hold these projects accountable by monitoring and enforcing protective measures of Virginia’s waters to fullest extent of our authority.”
Three regulatory Boards – the State Water Control Board, the Air Pollution Control Board and the Waste Management Board – are responsible for authorizing many of Virginia’s environmental regulations. DEQ administers and enforces regulations as approved by the boards, which are comprised of Virginia citizens appointed by the governor for staggered four-year terms.
The Boards have statutory authority to enact regulations and approve certain permits, such water discharge permits, and seek information from the public, the regulated community and advisory committees.
The Board did not indicate any plans for additional actions or public hearings.
More information about the meeting and the State Water Control Board is available on the DEQ website www.deq.virginia.gov/PipelineUpdates.aspx