Mountain Valley Watch to monitor pipeline construction

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GILES CO., Va. (WDBJ7) The app that Jason Shelton demonstrated Tuesday afternoon includes examples of potential problems.

"So here we've got the sediment plume, discolored stream water," he said as he scrolled down the page.

It also has a user-friendly interface that will make it easy for landowners and other volunteers to identify potential problems with construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, snap pictures and report issues to the Department of Environmental Quality.

Shelton is the co-owner of New River Geographics, the Blacksburg startup that created the app with funding from the Sierra Club.

"Over the last three years, the landowners have really held this battle on their own," Shelton said. "And it's time now, now that this is imminent, it's time for the local community to step up. And be it professionals, be it neighbors that just want to help out we need to help these people out."

Rick Shingles is the Coordinator of the group Preserve Giles.

"And so our job if you will is to be an early warning system," Shingles said, "get this information to DEQ with its limited staff so they can bring them to locations as quickly as possible so we can possibly forestall really serious damage to water."

A spokesperson for the Mountain Valley Pipeline said the company is preparing to move forward with construction activities permitted by state and federal law, and in accordance with the many plans and permits that have been approved.

Following is the full text of that statement:

"MVP is proceeding with construction activities, as permitted by state and federal law, and in accordance with the multitude of plans and permits that have been submitted and approved for the project."

" On March 26, 2018, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued approval for all of MVP's submitted Stormwater Management and Erosion & Sediment Control plans and found them to be in in accordance with the Virginia Stormwater Management Act and Regulations and the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Law and Regulations."

"This approval authorized MVP to begin land disturbing activities consistent with these plans."

Mountain Valley Watch is holding its first training sessions this week, including a class on Thursday at 7:00 PM at the Blacksburg Presbyterian Church.