The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC) strongly expressed its deep concerns over the failure of Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to exercise its authority to review the water quality impacts of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). In a September 9 letter to Virginia Governor McAuliffe, DPMC’s David Sligh wrote:
We are raising an alarm – that Virginia’s responsibility to provide appropriate protections under Clean Water Act (“CWA”) Section 401 and state laws may be forfeited if you have not taken certain actions before September 16, 2016. Failure to meet this deadline would constitute a serious breach of the trust the public has placed in you. Therefore, we ask for immediate action to prevent this dire result.
The DPMC had – in April and again in June – written to Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources Angela Navarro and address Virginia’s role in the CWA process. Finally, on August 23, Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward provided a one sentence response:
Regarding your question on the Clean Water Act Section 401 review, DEQ is currently evaluating the scope of its authority under FERC requirements for this review.
Dominion had submitted its request for a water quality certification from Virginia for the ACP on September 15, 2015, which was received by the state the following day. The DPMC letter to the Governor and the earlier referenced correspondence is available here.
Since the DPMC letter to the Governor, Deputy Secretary Navarro provided assurances on September 14 that the DEQ will not abdicate its responsibilities to conduct a Section 401 review. For more, see this Recorder story.