“Dominion/ACP’s lack of transparency and responsiveness in providing requested information to the Forest Service” has been cited as a strong concern in a report by a consultant to the U.S. Forest Service who has been contracted to assist in the agency’s evaluation of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Dr. James A. Thompson, Professor of Pedology and Land Use at West Virginia University, in a February 22 letter to Monongahela National Forest Supervisor Clyde N. Thompson (no relation), said:
The Forest Service has made repeated requests for information to Dominion/ACP over the course of several teleconferences and in-person meetings; however, Dominion/ACP has not yet adequately responded to these requests. The conference call on February 17, 2017, is just the latest example of what I conclude to be Dominion/ACP’s unwillingness to respond to what I consider to be reasonable requests and, more generally, an inability to work collaboratively with the Forest Service to ensure that this review process progresses in an efficient and effective manner.
One of the stated purposes of the current discussions, which began last year, is for Dominion/ACP to present its proposed “Best in Class” Steep Slopes Program and solicit Forest Service feedback. At a November 21 meeting, the Forest Service requested “that Dominion/ACP develop site-specific stabilization plans for two areas along the project right of way to serve as a proof of concept for how anticipated hazards would be specifically addressed during construction and reclamation.”
A subsequent December 8 meeting failed to provide satisfactory information, and the February 17 meeting had similar results, Dr. Thompson reports:
Surprisingly, during the meeting on February 17 Dominion/ACP indicated that they were not planning on providing construction narratives and seemed unaware that they had previously agreed to prepare and provide construction narratives following the meeting on December 8. This is but one of a series of instances where Dominion/ACP has minimized, obfuscated, or ignored critical issues related to compliance with Forest Plan Standards and Guides. . . there continues to be no resolution on this fundamental issue even after three meetings on the subject because Dominion/ACP has chosen to not provide the requested evidence or substantive justification.
Dr. Thompson’s letter concludes: “If Dominion/ACP cannot provide materials in a timely manner prior to these critical discussions, then I suggest that they request that the meetings be postponed to ensure that when we do meet that we can have productive discussions that move this process forward.”