Forest Service Objection Filings needed

Pipeline_ConstructionPRESERVE CRAIG IS ASKING YOU TO SUBMIT A SPECIFIC LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE FOREST SERVICE DRAFT RECORD OF DECISION ABOUT MVP.  WE NEED AS MANY SUBMITTED AS POSSIBLE. SEND A COPY TO PRESERVE CRAIG AT PRESERVECRAIG@GMAIL.COM. DOWNLOAD A SAMPLE LETTER AND INSTRUCTIONS. ADD ADDITIONAL OBJECTIONS AND COMMENTS AS YOU WISH.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU TAKE THIS ACTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! SUBMISSIONS REGARDING THIS OBJECTION SHOULD BE SENT TO THE FOREST SERVICE BY JULY 31, 2017.  PLEASE HELP TO PROTECT OUR WATER, FOREST AND MOUNTAINS FROM DEVESTATION BY A PRIVATE COMPANY.

As background, here’s the situation: The review and next steps toward licensing the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) were announced on June 23, 2017 by both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and “our” National Forest.

The FERC decision was not a surprise. The FERC routinely approve all gas pipelines, even though a project of this scale has never been attempted through the fragile and scenic karst of our mountains. Leading experts confirm that it will dramatically harm our water and soil resources as well as the Appalachian Trail (AT). However, the US Forest Service (FS) has changed its procedures and schedule without reasonable notice and issued a Draft Record of Decision that flies in the face of the data we all have been submitting to them for several years. It also overturns the 2002 Forest Service Record of Decision that this area is not an appropriate site for a utility corridor. Craig County has relied upon that decision for decades to build the economic plan, destination-based recreation, and support the social fiber of our community.

Your Preserve Craig leadership team continues to work diligently to preserve and protect our way of life and our beautiful mountains and resources against this and future threats. Our efforts include monthly reports to our Board of Supervisors and providing extensive scientific, regulatory and legal information to the FERC, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, our legislators, attorneys, local governments, and other organizations about the inaccuracies of the MVP submissions and risks that this project poses.

During July we will need to celebrate the founding of this great country by coming together to again communicate with our representatives and submit important objections to the various agencies involved. Please call us at 540-309-9560 or email preservecraig@gmail.com if you can help raise money, write letters, or share important information with your neighbors.

Here is a summary and links to the current status of MVP:

The US Forest Service intends to amend the Jefferson National Forest Plan to allow MVP construction on very steep slopes (adjoining wilderness), massive erosion, cutting of old growth forests, damage to the AT and viewsheds, increasing invasive species problems, among other things. The surprise Record of Decision can be viewed here.

Page 33 describes how to submit objections within 45 days of the original filing, to be received no later than August 7, 2017.

Note that the FS is claiming that you have to have already commented (either on FERC record or to FS) since release of the DEIS specifically regarding the Jefferson National Forest and MVP in order to be eligible to object. Preserve Craig objects to this limitation and is currently researching the legality of such a restriction. The Forest Service failed to provide a public comment period, hold any public meetings, or place their proposal on the FERC docket, instead placing a Notice in the Federal Register on June 5, 2017, 82 Fed. Reg. 25761.

For further guidance on the FS claimed objection process.
More FS documents about MVP.

FERC summary and links The FERC issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on June 23, 2017. Within 90 days, the FERC commissions are expected to vote on whether to issue a certificate and what conditions and restrictions may be required. The Commission does not currently have a quorum, pending Senate confirmation of two new nominees.

The file is massive and the 930 page long summary can be found here. If you would like to see the entire FEIS summary with appendices, you can access them here.

DEQ schedule and links

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality can deny MVP permits under, water protection laws regardless of any possible FERC certification.

We are asking the DEQ to thoroughly review and reject MVP’s construction plans under the Clean Water Act Section 401. DEQ is holding the following hearings:

  • July 19: Water Control Board hearing in Richmond, VA

Public Hearings About the MVP:

  • August 8: 801 East Main St., Radford, VA, 5 to 10 PM
  • To Be Announced: Chatham, VA

Preserve Craig signed on to a letter requesting DEQ to do its job and protect Virginia waters. The letter, addressed to the Governor, the State Water Control Board and DEQ Director Paylor, urges the Commonwealth to use the full scope of its authority to assess the impacts of the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines. We are asking Department of Environmental Quality and the State Water Control Board to conduct a thorough and transparent review of stream and wetland crossings, as well as all upland activities, and ensure that Virginia water quality standards are met.

Roanoke Times June 18, 2017 Article: Virginia DEQ pledges thorough review of pipeline impacts

Links to other Recent Articles of Interest:

Legislative Contacts:
Please continue to contact your state, federal and local leaders.

Legislative contacts action list with names, addresses and phone numbers provided by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

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