UPDATE: Montgomery County asks Virginia DEQ to reconsider pipeline permit policy

Published: Jun. 12, 2017 at 11:35 PM EDT
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The Montgomery county board of supervisors sent a letter to DEQ Wednesday morning.

They asked the DEQ to reverse it's position to give a blanket permit to MVP to cross Virginia waterways.

That letter can be viewed to the right of this article.


A Montgomery County group fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline now has the support of their local government to ask for help in protecting their water.

Preserve Montgomery County asked the Board of Supervisors in their meeting Monday night to send a letter to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor.

They want the DEQ to reverse it's position to give a blanket permit to MVP to cross Virginia waterways.

Preserve Montgomery County wants each waterway to need it's own permit for the pipeline to cross them.

Right now, the group thinks the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers doing the blanket permit only cares about navigable waters.

Lynda Majors with Preserve Montgomery County said, "The level of concern that they have for sedimentation and other uses of Virginia water, I don't think that's their mission at all."

Majors lives in a neighborhood near the proposed route and says those waterways are vital to them

She said, "We're going to have a lot of sedimentation in the water and erosion that will constantly go into our karst where our water is."

Majors added that same water then goes to Salem, providing residents there with water.

Tom Adams, the group chair, also spoke Monday.

He has a strong background in environmental engineering as a PhD Candidate at Virginia Tech, having more than 30 years of professional experience in hydrology and flood forecasting, and 25 years with NOAA/NWS.

He said the land in the county has steep topography, karst geographic areas, seismic activity, and high landslide risk areas.

Combine that with stronger storms coming in due to global warming, and a pipeline could be strongly disrupted in Montgomery County.

He explained, "More intense precipitation events and floods will produce enough scour in the stream channels creating debris flows that will undermine and destroy pipelines where they cross these small streams and there will be failures."

Adams said failures in a gas pipeline means explosions.

The Board was immediately in favor, but didn't need a formal vote.

It gave a unanimous thumbs up to allow Board Chair Christopher Tuck sign a letter like that.

Tuck explained, "We're going to be working with the County Attorney and he's going work on drafting it first thing in the morning. and then I'll try to get it out later in the week."

Both Tuck and Majors gave their thoughts on the DEQ saying they never intended to permit each waterway individually, there was confusion and a blanket permit was always the plan.

Majors said she thinks that's not true and Tuck says even if it is true, it doesn't hurt to ask to reconsider.

Letters will also be sent to Melanie Davenport and James Golden at DEQ to visit Montgomery County, which Majors and Adams said they have not agreed to do yet.

Golden is the Director of Operations and Davenport is the Water Permitting Division Director.