Dozens speak out for and against MVP water regulations

RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) The Department of Environmental Quality heard from dozens of people Tuesday night in a public hearing at Radford University.

People were voicing their support or opposition to the Mountain Valley Pipeline and its possible impact on water.

At times the meeting grew very contentious.

Around 170 people signed up to speak, but the hearing only got to speaker number 98, with some people not stepping up when called.

While many against the Mountain Valley Pipeline were outside the auditorium with signs and singing, those in favor were signing up to speak. That's why the first hour of speakers were mostly in support of the environmental requirements and allowing the pipeline to be built.

Trixie Averill from Roanoke County said, "I trust the MVP to take all the right precautions and follow all the rules to ensure water quality."

"Water is essential, but so is economic development. I support economic growth for this region., state Max Beyer of Roanoke.

Roanoke Gas Company President & CEO, John D'Orozio said, "The Mountain Valley Pipeline will provide Roanoke Gas with additional capacity to address future capacity needs, as well as enhance the safety and reliability of our system."

But then dozens more stepped up questioning why the Department of Environmental Quality would ever pass a blanket approval system for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

"You cannot determine the complete veracity and permeability of a karst aquifer by doing linear studies," stated former Radford University Geology Professor, Ernst Kastning.

Diana Christopulos from Salem, "We want the timeline to be stopped until they submit all their information and then give us as much time as you're giving people commenting on ACP."

"We were not born yesterday and neither were you. Leaks happen, we ask to please do your job," stated Adam Daniel

"This board and agency is getting ready to ruin our water quality forever," said Tammy Belinsky of Floyd County

Kim Kirkbridge of Giles County said, "You are able to protect our water, and if you don't, we will!"

Those who signed up to speak but couldn't voiced their displeasure that the DEQ wouldn't extend the hearing Tuesday or have held other opportunities for people to talk before this.

The DEQ said anyone who didn't get to speak can send written comments and statements to their office in Richmond.

The office will accept letters and notes up until 11:59 pm on August 22.

Those people can hand-deliver comments to DEQ’s Office of Wetlands & Stream Protection at 629 East Main Street, in Richmond, VA 23219 during business hours 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m, or mail comments to DEQ, Office of Wetlands & Stream Protection, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218.

There will be one more public hearing Wednesday at Chatham High School from 6:00 to 10:00 pm.