Environmental groups send letter to Virginia DEQ Director

The following press release comes from Wild Virginia and seven other Virginia environmental groups. Virginia DEQ Director David Paylor should listen to them and act accordingly.

On February 12, 2021, eight organizations, representing thousands of Virginians, sent a letter (attached) to Director David Paylor of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, asking to meet with DEQ officials and outlining important issues the agency must address in an upcoming regulatory review of the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s proposed actions.

Stymied by a stay of Corps of Engineers’ permits in its headlong rush to dig and blast across hundreds of waterbodies, MVP has chosen a new approach. The company has alerted the DEQ that it will now seek an individual Clean Water Act section 401 certification from Virginia, which is a prerequisite to an individual permit from the Corps. We urged both MVP and DEQ to conduct this kind of detailed, stream-by-stream analysis years ago and both rejected the idea. Now it is clear that this is the only valid approach.

The DEQ faces difficult issues that it must resolve quickly to preserve Virginia’s right to protect our waters and make sure all necessary information is required of MVP so a rigorous technical review can be made. If DEQ fails to act within required time limits, it risks giving away its rightful authority and, as the letter states this abdication of its duties in this instance would be “unconscionable.”

Further, DEQ must require MVP to provide up-to-date and complete data and analyses, to meet the state’s stringent requirements. If Virginia looks at all appropriate information and applies the science and the law, we believe it is clear that MVP’s plan cannot meet Clean Water Act and state law requirements.

David Sligh
Conservation Director
Wild Virginia

The groups signing the letter are:
Wild Virginia
Appalachian Mountain Advocates (Appalmad)
Preserve Craig
Preserve Roanoke
Preserve Bent Mountain
Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights (POWHR)
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Virginia Chapter, Sierra Club


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