More public meetings scheduled on proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline

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The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has scheduled two additional public meetings on the Mountain Valley Pipeline next month.

The agency originally scheduled two hearings in Radford on August 8th, and Chatham on August 9th, but opponents of the controversial project argued that wasn't enough.

Delegates Greg Habeeb and Joseph Yost have worked with the agency to schedule additional meetings, and they said the agency is now planning to hold two meetings in Newport and Roanoke County on August 10th. The additional meetings will be at 1pm at the Newport Community Center and at 5pm at Cave Spring High School.

These newly scheduled meetings will be different from the two previously scheduled hearings. While residents will be able to meet with DEQ officials and submit written comments, verbal comments will not be recorded or submitted.

Following is information provided by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality:

"Two meetings organized by Delegate Greg Habeeb will be held on Aug. 10 – the first at 1 p.m. in Newport in Giles County and the second at 5 p.m. at Cave Spring High School in Roanoke County. Virginia DEQ Director, David K. Paylor will make opening remarks, field questions and accept written comments from citizens regarding the proposed 401 Water Quality certification for MVP.

The two meetings will not be formal public hearings and verbal comments will not be recorded or considered submitted.

For MVP, the public hearings will be in Radford and Chatham on August 8 and 9 respectively. Citizens can provide oral comments in person at the public hearings or provided comments in writing to DEQ through 11:59 p.m. on August 22, 2017.

To submit written comments at the public meetings or the public hearings, include your name and mailing address.

Written comments can be submitted by mail, email or delivery:

1. Snail mail your comments to DEQ, Office of Wetlands & Stream Protection, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218.

2. Email your comments by 11:59 p.m., August 22, 2017. For the Mountain Valley Pipeline project, the email address is comment-mvp@deq.virginia.gov.

3. Or deliver written comments at one of the scheduled public hearings or public meetings.

To be considered, comments should be related to the merits or issues contained in the proposed certification document.

For more information, visit: Protection Requirements for Pipelines"

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Below is a press release from DEQ that was released June 30, 2017 before the additional meetings were scheduled, which includes more information on the public meetings and public comment period.

"RICHMOND, VA. -- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public comment period, including five public hearings around the Commonwealth in August, to receive comments on draft water quality certifications designed to protect water quality along the routes of the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.

Two hearings will be held for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and three will be held for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The public comment period to receive written comments on both pipelines will run from July 3 through August 22, 2017.

"These hearings and the comment period are very important to helping DEQ meet its goal of protecting water quality," DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. "The pipeline construction is a complicated process, and we look forward to receiving valuable public input as these projects proceed."

The public hearings schedule for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is:

-- August 7, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. -- James Madison University, Festival Conference and Student Center, Grand Ballroom, 1301 Carrier Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22807. Parking is in Lots C11, C12, and D3.

-- August 10, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. -- Longwood University, Jarman Auditorium, 201 High St., Farmville, VA 23901. Parking is in Wheeler Lot, Crafts Lot, High Street Lot, Randolph Lot or other university-owned lots.

-- August 14, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. -- Dinwiddie High School Auditorium, 11501 Boisseau Road, Dinwiddie, VA 23841. Parking is only in designated areas on school property.

The public hearing schedule for the Mountain Valley Pipeline is:

-- August 8, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. -- Radford University, Preston/Bondurant Auditorium, 801 East Main St., Radford, VA 24142. Parking is only in Lot A, or Lots E and U.

-- August 9, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. -- Chatham High School Auditorium, 100 Cavalier Circle, Chatham, VA 24531. Parking is only in designated areas on school property.

The documents on which DEQ is seeking comments are referred to as "401 certifications." These draft certifications will place conditions on activities in upland areas that are near state waters and that may indirectly affect state water along the pipeline routes. These certifications are in addition to the requirements imposed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, by the Commonwealth of Virginia for stormwater, erosion and sediment control, and by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for wetlands and streams.

The conditions address, among other matters, impacts to public water supplies; engineering and best management practices for steep slopes and slide-prone areas; environmental monitoring and inspections; and development and implementation of plans and procedures for karst mitigation, spill prevention control, water quality monitoring, and protection of riparian buffers.

Additional information is available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov."