Serious concerns about the public engagement and participation process for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) were voiced by 32 conservation groups, including ABRA and many of its members, in an August 17 letter to David Paylor, Director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
The letter was prompted by a DEQ decision to limit public participation in a State Air Pollution Control Board hearing, scheduled for September 17, about the MVP’s proposed Lambert Compressor Station. The groups said:
“. . . the undersigned organizations write again to express serious concerns about the public engagement and participation process for the Lambert Compressor Station (LCS) air permit—specifically, public access to the September 17, 2021 meeting of the State Air Pollution Control Board, during which a case decision on the permit is expected. Members of the public and the Board have expressed concerns about public access to the proceedings, and transmission of COVID-19 is quickly rising in the Commonwealth again; therefore, we ask that you provide a virtual option for public participation in the meeting. Citizens must be provided with safe and equitable access in order to ensure a fair, open, and transparent process.
“To facilitate their participation in the process, we reiterate that it would be reasonable for DEQ to (1) include remote or virtual participation options, (2) hold the meeting over two days to accommodate the large number of commenters, (3) provide the option for written submissions from commenters unable to attend in person to be read by their on-site proxies, and (3) include both daytime and evening opportunities for public participation.”
A copy of the complete letter is here.