National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Compliance
Forest Service, USDA.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (Agency) is proposing revisions to its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. The Agency proposes these revisions to increase efficiency in its environmental analysis while meeting NEPA’s requirements and fully honoring its environmental stewardship responsibilities. The proposed rule would contribute to increasing the pace and scale of work accomplished on the ground and would help the Agency achieve its mission to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Public input has informed the development of the proposed rule, including through an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The Agency is now requesting public comment on the revisions in the proposed rule. The Agency will carefully consider all public comments in preparing the final rule.
Comments must be received in writing by August 12, 2019.
Please submit comments via one of the following methods:
1. Public participation portal (preferred): https://www.regulations.gov/.
2. Mail: NEPA Services Group, c/o Amy Barker; USDA Forest Service, 125 South State Street, Suite 1705, Salt Lake City, UT 84138.
3. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Action Alert: Tell WVDEP to Hold the MountainValley Pipeline Accountable for Water Quality Violations – WV Rivers Coalition
Comments Period EXTENDED to JULY 18
Don’t let Dominion change the rules to fix its pipeline problems
The proposed route for Dominion’s 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been a mess from the beginning. It carves its way through family farms, steep mountain ridges, and public water supplies, and it is slated to cross the Appalachian Trail on U.S. Forest Service land, a move that federal judges say is not legal.
Rather than reconsider its poorly-planned project, Dominion is asking Congress to change laws to solve its own permitting problems.
Contact your senators and representative in Congress today, and ask them to oppose legislation that makes way for the unneeded Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Here’s what is going on:
Dominion is in trouble. It’s been nearly five years since the company announced that it would build a high-pressure natural gas pipeline from West Virginia, across the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, into North Carolina. Today, the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline is broadly unpopular, 50 percent over budget (now a shocking $7.5+ billion), and two years behind schedule.
In December 2018, a federal court in Richmond said that Dominion’s plan to cross the Appalachian Trail was not legal, and it overturned the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of the crossing. Dominion is calling on Congress to come to its rescue, asking senators and representatives to change the law and undo the court’s ruling.
The Appalachian Trail crossing is one of seven permits that federal courts have overturned or put on hold, all because of Dominion’s careless route selection and rushed permitting. And it’s increasingly clear that the pipeline is not needed to meet electricity and gas demand. Worse, electricity customers in Virginia and North Carolina would be on the hook to pay for the costly new pipeline.
Tell your senators and your representative in Congress that you oppose legislation that would change the rules to make way for Dominion’s unneeded and destructive pipeline.
Submit comments now on this devastating rollback to the Clean Water Act! Click here to make your voice heard.
Action Alert: Comment On Pipeline Stream Crossing Permit by 3/4
WVDEP is proposing to change requirements for an important permit that regulates pipeline construction activities in streams and wetlands.
The WVDEP agreed to permit the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline through streams and wetlands according to a permit called the Nationwide 12 issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
WV Rivers and our partners called into question the validity of this permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline when we discovered it was not in compliance with permit requirements established by WVDEP last year.
Now, rather than requiring massive pipeline projects to meet the stream and wetland crossing requirements in the Nationwide 12, WVDEP is proposing to change the permit conditions. The proposed modifications are now out for public comment through March 4.
For recent pipeline news, check out WV Rivers’ pipeline webpage. There you’ll find violation updates and breaking news.
Phone calls needed for Modern Jobs Act
West Virginia Environmental Council
Feb 4, 2019
HB 2589, (A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §24-2-20, relating to siting certain solar energy projects on formerly mined land in West Virginia; authorizing transmission or wheeling agreements to transmit the electrical output from certain solar energy projects to large energy consumers within West Virginia; making legislative findings; defining terms; creating an exception to the general regulatory structure for solar energy project owners or operators and large energy consumers purchasing the output therefrom so that they are not deemed public utilities; authorizing affected electric utilities to recover reasonable charges for transmission, distribution, and other related services; and authorizing the promulgation of rules exempt from the regular legislative review process.
The Modern Jobs Act (MOJO Act), would enable large energy producers to access cheaper renewable energy so they can create and protect manufacturing jobs in the state. It would also invite modern tech companies to the state who have renewable energy targets.
We need help getting this bill out of committee. If you have a few minutes, please call the committee chair and let him know that you would like him to put the bill up for a fair vote.
Jim Butler is the chair. You can reach his office at 304-340-3199, and send him an email at email@example.com.
West Virginia Environmental Council
P.O. Box 1007
Charleston, WV 25324
firstname.lastname@example.org (304) 414-0143
The WV Legislature Can Ensure Our Water Is Protected – But They Need To Hear From You!
January 21, 2019
After a public listening session on West Virginia’s water protections, it’s clear that West Virginians want the state to do its part to ensure our water is safe!
Our water protections are now in the hands of the WV Legislature. We expect the Senate Energy, Industry & Mining and Senate Judiciary Committees to vote on revisions to West Virginia’s water quality standards – the rules that protect our water – very soon. These committees have the opportunity to listen to citizens of West Virginia and update WV’s water quality standards with EPA-recommended human health protections.
It is critical that members of these committees hear from you! Ask them to protect public health and adopt the EPA-recommended human health criteria updates that strengthen our water protections. Send a letter here.
Why is this so important?
Every three years West Virginia’s water quality standards undergo a revision. It is supposed to be a straight forward and transparent process, involving public input every step of the way. But this year a last minute amendment pushed by industrial polluters bypassed the public comment process and made its way into the rule legislators will vote on. Learn more here.
The amended rule removes updates to the portion of our water quality standards that set limits on the toxins most harmful to human health. These limits, known as human health criteria, are currently based on science conducted prior to 1985. In 2015, EPA recommended that West Virginia update its human health criteria to reflect more recent science. WVDEP proposed some of these updates in their originally proposed revision, but a legislative committee approved an amendment to remove them at the request of the WV Manufacturers Association. View our fact sheet on the amendment and how it puts our health at risk here.
The legislature has the opportunity to ensure our water is protected, but they need to hear from you! Send a letter asking members of the WV Senate to adopt the EPA-recommended human health criteria updates that strengthen our water protections!
Jefferson County, WV: Comment on the Water Quality Impacts of the TeMa Facility by December 7
This December, the WVDEP is accepting comments on water quality permits for two industrial facilities in Jefferson County – TeMa and Rockwool. Comments on the TeMa facility’s NPDES permit are due December 7, and comments on the Rockwool NPDES permit are due December 23. This week, we’re sharing how you can comment on the TeMa permit. Stay tuned, we’ll share our fact sheet on the Rockwool permit soon!
The TeMa plant is located in the Burr Industrial Park and would produce insulation and drainage systems.
WV Rivers is concerned by the potential impacts the TeMa facility could have on drinking water. The facility would be constructed on karst topography and located near a number of drinking water sources. Because of these sensitive water resources, additional scrutiny of this facility and its potential impacts on water quality is warranted.
View our fact sheet and suggested commentsHERE.
Submit your comments. WVDEP is accepting comments on the facility’s NPDEP permit through December 7. We made it easy for you to comment HERE.
For more information visit WV RIVERS
Comment to WVDEP on the Water Quality Impacts of the Hammerhead Pipeline by December 13.
Monongalia, Marion and Wetzel Counties
You can submit comments to WVDEP on the Hammerhead Pipeline, a 25-mile, 30-inch gathering line in Monongalia, Marion and Wetzel Counties. The pipeline would impact 500 acres and approximately 128 streams and wetlands.
On Monday, December 3, the WVDEP will be holding a public hearing on the proposed pipeline at the Morgantown City Council Chambers from 6:00-8:00PM where you can submit comments on the project’s stormwater and sediment control permit. This permit regulates polluted runoff from oil and gas development. Learn more about stormwater permitshere, and view our fact sheet and suggested comments here.
WV Rivers reviewed the Hammerhead Pipeline’s stormwater permit application and found that it lacks critical information the WVDEP needs to certify that the project will be able to meet permit requirements. Thorough scrutiny of stormwater permits is critical for the protection of WV’s streams.
In addition to the public hearing, you can submit comments online by emailing email@example.com, with the permit number WVR311199 in the subject line. Read our fact sheet submit your comments to WVDEP by Thursday, December 13.
Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative
- Work independently or with other organizations to observe and report incidents of both downstream surface water impact and noncompliance with construction requirements.
- May be organized by coordinators affiliated with local or other regional organizations.
- Access for viewing pipeline construction areas will ordinarily be limited to public roads or other public vantage points.
- General guidance for citizen observers is provided on the Pipeline CSI website.
- Can submit incident reports to CSI Central by using methods provided on the Pipeline CSI website or by methods provided by other organizations.
Stream Monitoring Program Volunteers
- Participate in monitoring programs managed by local watershed groups and regional programs such as the Trout Unlimited/West Virginia Rivers Pipeline Monitoring program or the Isaak Walton League Save Our Streams program.
- Take part in training and certification conducted by the monitoring programs.
- Follow protocols and reporting methods established by the monitoring programs.
- Can submit incident reports to CSI Central using methods provided on the Pipeline CSI website or by methods provided by the stream monitoring programs.
Research and Administration Volunteers
- Monitor ACP filings to FERC including the Environmental Compliance and Weekly Status Reports.
- Monitor FERC docket for inspection reports, variance requests, and other ACP construction-related documents.
- Review construction-related documents provided by regulatory agencies in response to FOIA requests.
CSI First Responders
- Teams dispatched by CSI Central to investigate reported incidents of surface water impacts or noncompliance with pipeline construction requirements.
- Recruited based on professional or scientific background related to water resources or erosion and sediment control and stormwater management.
- Collect data and investigate reported incidents following Pipeline CSI protocols.
Pipeline Air Force
- Pilots recruited and trained to fly routine pipeline surveillance flights and incident response flights.
- Photographers recruited to obtain aerial imagery of pipeline construction areas.
- Drone operators recruited and trained to obtain aerial imagery of pipeline construction areas.
- Pipeline Air Force participants will follow Pipeline CSI protocols
CSI Incident Review
- Provide input to the Pipeline CSI Environmental and Forensic Review Teams evaluating incidents of surface water impacts or noncompliance with construction requirements.
- Access to review information will be provided through the online CSI Mapping System.
- Review assistance is requested from professionals with erosion and sediment control and stormwater management backgrounds, as well as from other knowledgeable individuals.
- Training will be scheduled for interested participants, and information concerning regulatory and technical requirements will be provided through the Pipeline CSI website.
YOU CAN HELP!
FILL OUT VOLUNTEER FORM HERE
For more information please visit Pipeline Update HERE
Motion for Stay
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Judge Irons’ court
Summers County Courthouse
Please join us and attend the Hearing before Judge Irons for a Stay on MVP construction to cross the Greenbrier at Pence Springs: Tuesday, September 18, 2018, at 10:00 am. The hearing will be held at the Summers County Courthouse in Hinton, in Judge Irons’ courtroom.
Please share with your friends who love the Greenbrier River!
The hearing for the Motion for Tuesday, September 18, 2018, at 10:00 am.
The hearing will be held at the Summers County Courthouse, in Hinton, in Judge Irons’ courtroom.
The motion for stay is related to a pending appeal of WVDEP having issued a Natural Streams Preservation Act permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) to cross the Greenbrier River, and to tree felling which began Friday on Ashby Berkley’s property and a variance request filed last week for an additional ATW on an adjacent property. This is the site of MVP’s crossing of the Greenbrier River in Summers County.
Attorneys for the appellants have filed a motion for a stay on construction on the Greenbrier River pending resolution of an appeal challenging the denial by the WV Environmental Quality Board of a petition that the permit granted by WVDEP to cross the Greenbrier River did not meet the requirements of the Natural Streams Preservation (NSP) Act. The Greenbrier River is the longest free flowing river on the East Coast. The NSP designation acknowledges the stretch of the River that MVP proposes to cross as valuable to the citizens of the state as a natural resource supporting recreation and tourism.
Appellants are Greenbrier River Watershed Association, lead appellant, and Ashby Berkley, Indian Creek Watershed Association, and Ty and Susan Bouldin. The motion for stay was filed yesterday in the Circuit Court of Summers County.
Support Clean Water in Your Community at No Cost to You!
Blued Trees Symphony Painting Project ~ Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Pence Springs, Summers County
The Blued Trees Symphony is an intercontinental artwork initiated by internationally recognized ecological artist Aviva Rahmani in 2015 to be installed in corridors where natural gas pipeline expansion is planned. Across America, natural gas pipeline corporations have been seizing personal property for private profit under eminent domain law, by claiming their expansions are for public good. The United Nations recognizes a people’s entitlement to cultural aspirations and earth rights as much as financial concerns. The public good the “Blued Trees” protects is clean water, essential to a safe environment. Teams from local communities in several states and Canada have been painting miles of individual trees, in specific patterns, in the proposed corridors. The artist copyrights the artwork, paving the way to contest the takings, save their trees and protect the artwork.
Interested parties should join us on Wed., July 19th, at 11 a.m. on Ashby Berkeley’s property on the beautiful Greenbrier River. For more info please check Facebook page HERE
VIRGINIA DEQ ANNOUNCES PUBLIC COMMENT PERIODS FOR ACP AND MVP,
JULY 3 – AUGUST 22.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2017
Contact: Ann Regn
RICHMOND, VA. — The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public comment period, including five public hearings around the Commonwealth in August, to receive comments on draft water quality certifications designed to protect water quality along the routes of the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.
Two hearings will be held for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and three will be held for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The public comment period to receive written comments on both pipelines will run from July 3 through August 22, 2017.
“These hearings and the comment period are very important to helping DEQ meet its goal of protecting water quality,” DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. “The pipeline construction is a complicated process, and we look forward to receiving valuable public input as these projects proceed.”
The public hearings schedule for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is:
— 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.
The public hearing schedule for the Mountain Valley Pipeline is:
— 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.
The documents on which DEQ is seeking comments are referred to as “401 certifications.” These draft 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.
Additional information is available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov.
Water Quality Survey
The Division of Forestry and Natural Resources at WVU is conducting a survey of West Virginia residents about the quality of drinking water and surface water. Please consider taking the survey and sharing your opinions.
Both the House and Senate of the WV Legislature have introduced similar bills that would allow more toxins in our waters. SB 246 and HB 2506 have both been referred to their respective judiciary committees for consideration, check out our summary on the bills. Now is the time to let those committee members know that you want them to say “no” to dumping more dangerous toxins and cancer-causing chemicals in our drinking water supplies. Click here to send your message today.
Let legislators know that more toxic pollution is not what we want for the future of West Virginia.
More information HERE
WV Rivers Coalition
The 2017 legislative session began last Wednesday and already the attacks on water have started. Make sure you sign-up for our weekly Water Policy Updates so you can stay informed and take action on water issues – http://eepurl.com/_KUd9.
Community and Conservation Groups Blast FERC
Findings on Fracked-Gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline
America’s next big pipeline fight is emerging in the mountain towns and farming communities of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. With federal regulators poised to rubber-stamp the proposed fracked-gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline, landowners, community leaders and their allies are taking inspiration from the water protectors at Standing Rock and vowing to stand together to stop it. In response to requests from numerous elected officials and organizations, FERC has extended the usual 45-day period for public comments; the deadline is April 6, 2017. PRESS RELEASE WITH CONTACT INFORMATION
North American Security and Infrastructure Act
A bill moving in Congress called the North American Security and Infrastructure Act, commonly referred to as S2012 will greatly expand fracking, fast track pipelines and LNG ports, and expand access to both tribal lands and national parks by fracking infrastructure. Needless to say with all these provisions climate change will be exponentially exacerbated. The implications of this massive 792 page bill has not been properly assessed by lawmakers and there has been little public awareness about its imminent adverse impacts. Even with a lame duck Congress this bill could move very quickly within the next two weeks, so it is imperative that we make our opposition known and felt immediately. Any group fighting any type of fracked oil or gas infrastructure will face even greater challenges if this bill becomes law.
Support Clean Water in Your Community with Kroger Rewards
Kroger Community Rewards donates to your designated non-profit organizations with 5% of your purchase amount. This does not affect the fuel points that you earn on your Kroger card or cost you anything extra. For more information visit Kroger Community Rewards
Sign up for a Kroger Plus card and then sign up for the Community Rewards program, naming Greenbrier River Watershed Association as the organization you want contributions to go to. This must be renewed once a year for Kroger to continue making these contributions.
To sign up: (If you already have a Kroger card, go to step 2.)
1) Get a Kroger Plus card, either, a) by going to a Kroger store and asking for one at the customer service desk, or
- b) Go to Kroger.com and click on “Register” and fill out the information and click “Create Account.” Next, add a Plus Card by clicking on “Get a Digital Plus Card online today,” fill in your name, and enter your ten-digit phone number where it says “Alt ID”, and click “Save.”
2) If you already have Kroger Plus card, but have not created an account on-line, go to Kroger.com and click “Register” and enter your existing Kroger card number, the number below the bar code on your card. Click “Save.”
3) After you click on “Save” in one of the above, an “Account Summary” screen will come up. At the bottom of that screen is “Community Rewards.” Click “Enroll” and fill out the required information there, click “Save”, and it takes you to a new page, where you enter 83802, the number of Greenbrier River Watershed Association, then click “Search” and click on button in front of Greenbrier River Watershed Association, then click “Enroll.”
Thank you for your support of Greenbrier River Watershed Association!
No Mass Permits for Pipelines
CLOSED We became aware of the intention of the US Fish And Wildlife Service to consider issuing a “mass permit” for nine companies looking to build pipelines across our neighborhoods. We think this might be a very bad idea. When we hear “streamlining” we think that means “Look out, communities!” Comment submission: Comments accepted only if received or postmarked on or before December 27, 2016.
Huge Thanks to everyone who commented on this! Comment to FERC on Environmental Impacts
The public has an opportunity to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Study until December 22, 2016. CLOSED