Virginia’s two U.S. Senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, have written Richard Glick, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), to express concerns they have heard from constituents about confusion on recent filings with the agency by Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (MVP, LLC). Their March 26 letter asked that the comment period for the public to express their views to FERC be extended by at least 60 days.
The Senators also raised the issue of MVP, LLC’s plans to bore underneath streams, stating:
The environmental impacts of the newly proposed trenchless technology, such as conventional direct bore, horizontal direct drilling (HDD), and “microtunnelling,” are not yet fully understood by impacted parties in Virginia. Boring allows for work to occur up to and under the waterways, which could require blasting and excavation of bore pits required for drilling under water crossings. As groundwater is often the sole source for drinking water in rural communities, our constituents are concerned that the boring process could affect local watersheds and household access to water. Constituents have also expressed concern about impacts to endangered species and critical habitats that could result from boring. It is our understanding that the Commission will review these concerns though a supplemental environmental document under the National Environmental Policy Act. We urge the Commission to provide another public comment period after the environmental document is published, and that ample time is afforded for stakeholders to review and respond to that supplemental document.
Given the unfamiliarity of the proposed boring methods to our constituents, we understand there are many questions and concerns about how this process will impact their daily lives. A detailed environmental survey and a substantial comment period will bring additional transparency and public engagement to FERC’s regulatory process.