What Can I Do?

CITIZEN ALERT – IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED

Preserve Craig is urgently asking citizens to quickly submit specific comments to the Forest Service. You can send another comment even if you have already sent one. It has to be emailed or mailed by Friday, April 17, 2015.

You can email the Forest Service at: comments-southern-georgewashington-jefferson@fs.fed.us and include Attn: Mountain Valley Pipeline Survey Comments

Or mail to:
       USDA Forest Service
       George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
       ATTN: Mountain Valley Pipeline Survey Comments
       5162 Valleypointe Parkway
       Roanoke, VA 24019

Please send Preserve Craig a copy of your email at preservecraig@gmail.com
or mail a copy to Preserve Craig, PO Box 730, New Castle, VA 24127

Here are some tips on what to include in your email or letter:

  1. I am a supporter of Preserve Craig and I agree with the Preserve Craig Science Committee comments documenting why the Forest Service should deny the survey permit.
  2. I rely upon and trust the Forest Service to protect my interests and well-being, our natural resources, and the special environment of this area.
  3. Describe the economic damage (if you have any) that you may be experiencing as a result of the prospect of Forest Service approving a survey by Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

    We had relied on the Forest Service’s long-standing position that our Forest in Craig County is not an appropriate place for a utility transmission corridor.
    Be specific, such as:

    1. I have halted or delayed construction on a house.
    2. I have put off hiring help, improving my farm, planting fruit trees, or a project.
    3. Land sales have halted or declined. I am having trouble selling property.
    4. I contacted a realtor and was told that I should wait as it will be harder to sell land in Craig County right now.
    5. We suspended plans to open or expand our bed and breakfast, fishing business, etc.

  4. Describe the harm that will be caused to you personally if the Forest Service permits MVP to survey. Explain how the threat of the survey damages your sense of community and / or attachment to the land and how that is or will affect your life. Please describe your attachment to the landscape and how the National Forest lands influence your connection to the land. You can also describe how the landscape influences your sense of community. If you have had a sense that the Forest Service would never allow a utility corridor survey and that causes you distress, then express that to the best of your ability. You can be flexible with this part. Make it personal to you.

    Here are some examples:

    1. I have a homestead on Craig’s Creek and many of my family live here – grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, grandchildren. Along with many others in this valley who I know by name, we hunt, fish, hike, bike and work together on our land and in the National Forest. We are very upset that the National Forest is considering surveying our forest for the MVP pipeline. It may be just a survey, but we thought we were protected here and know that it may be just a start of the disruption to come.
    2. I moved to Craig County 25 years ago because of the National Forest. I wanted to be here because I knew that the land around me, because it was National Forest, would not be developed. I was willing to sacrifice many conveniences to be able to know my neighbors: to take care of each other when the power goes out, to share groceries when a flood closes the road, to know that people care. It is our attachment to the land that brings us together. It is common knowledge about the land that, over time, binds us together. We know when there is a threat of fire before the national weather service tells us, because we know our land. We know to look for that Great Blue Heron on the creek in April when he returns. We are a community and the Forest Service surveying the Jefferson National Forest for a pipeline brings fear into our hearts, that it is the beginning of a threat to our land.

      Describe specific ways you are affected. Some examples we have heard:

      1. I am stressed by the prospect of this project and my physical or mental health has declined. Give specifics if you can.
      2. I am now taking specific medicines prescribed by my doctor as a result of this proposal, and I didn’t expect the USFS to even consider surveying the Forest for this project.
      3. I am emotionally and/or physically stressed and my relationships with friends, neighbors, and family are suffering.
      4. I am missing days at work as a result of the fear that the USFS will not honor its promise to protect our natural resources.
  5. Our county government’s plans rely on the long-term USFS presence and its promise (through the 2002 Record of Decision) that the Jefferson Forest would be protected from utility corridors.

Background Explanation:

The National Forest is our most important resource in Craig County. Many of us, others around the region and others beyond the region use the forests for hiking, biking, hunting, bird-watching, fishing, etc. Our county government relies on the forest, through tourism, to make their county plan. We also rely on the forest for our land values and sense of community.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) owns 54% of the land in Craig County. However, over the last several years they have been cutting their support to our county. They closed their forest service office, reduced the number of rangers and over the years have cut back on the payments to the county in lieu of taxes. We can’t allow them now to neglect their remaining duty to protect our physical, financial and emotional connection to OUR forest.

We expect the Forest Service to stand by and reinforce the formal decision they made in 2002 (called a final Record of Decision) that said that Craig County Jefferson National Forest, was not an appropriate place for a utility corridor!

The line that was proposed in 2002 was a 765 kV electrical utility line. Now we have the MVP alternate 110 route natural gas line. Next, it could be another gas or other utility line. So, it is important to get the Forest Service to agree not to survey, because surveying would begin the process of permitting the MVP line. Instead we ask the USFS to stand firm in their earlier decision that the Jefferson National Forest is again, not an appropriate place for a utility corridor!

MVP made the statement in their survey application to the USFS that “The proposed surveys will not affect the population of the area, their economic aspects, or the rural lifestyle.” You, Preserve Craig and its other supporters know that this is not true and that MVP is wrong.

We ask you to quickly (the deadline is Friday, April 17) write an email or letter to the USFS and explain how the Forest Service’s plan to consider or approve a survey through our Jefferson National Forest would be harmful to you. Because of the method the USFS uses to make its decisions and the possibility that we may have to take our fight to the courts, it is important to put specific details in your email or letter about how the survey itself will cause harm.

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