ABRA has begun an extensive outreach effort to establish working relationships with the government agencies that have responsibilities for inspecting and enforcing regulations governing the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. A critical component of the Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI), the new program recently launched by ABRA to organize and embolden citizen oversight of pipeline construction, is to communicate to enforcement agencies incidents of violations.
To establish working relationships with those agencies, ABRA has begun a series of outreach meetings to explain the CSI program and to explore how the program can work constructively with each of them. In January, ABRA representatives met with West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection officials in Charleston. A follow-up meeting with the agency is planned for early April. Last month, a similar meeting was held with the U.S. Forest Service, and a second discussion was held last week in Elkins, WV with officials of the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests and their contractors.
This week, ABRA had a very productive discussion with David Paylor, Director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and key members of his staff. In that meeting, as with the other agency meetings, the CSI program was favorably received and avenues of further communications were established. A similar dialogue with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff is planned.