Pipeline opponents from western Virginia meet with Secretary of Natural Resources

By  | 

RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ7) Red Terry was frustrated when she left the Patrick Henry Building, and recapped her meeting with Virginia's Secretary of Natural Resources,

"And he's like, well I'm sorry, we're doing all we can do. DEQ's got this under control," Terry said to supporters.

Four days ago, Red and her daughter Minor were in tree stands, blocking the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline where it passes through the family's Bent Mountain property.

Now they're on the road, carrying their concerns to state and federal officials, and enlisting support from other parts of the state,

Over the weekend Governor Ralph Northam said he is committed to protecting Virginia's environment.

"I'm glad everyone came down peacefully," Northam said, "and now we can work together and hopefully do what's in the best interests of Virginia."

His office also released a statement Tuesday saying the pipeline projects are subject to strict oversight.

"These projects are subject to the most environmentally protective process in Virginia history and the Department of Environmental Quality is reviewing proposed land disturbance and construction activities along every foot of the pipeline routes, including each proposed wetland and stream crossing. I trust the public servants at DEQ to ensure compliance with these environmental standards and to address violations of permit conditions through strong enforcement action."

A spokesperson for Mountain Valley Pipeline also offered the following statement:

"We respect opponents’ position and their right to protest. However, it is important to note the plans for this important infrastructure line were subject to an extensive review for more than three years. The MVP project has satisfied every requirement and has been authorized for construction by federal and state agencies. The Virginia DEQ has imposed on MVP the most stringent oversight of a natural gas pipeline project in the department's history.

This project includes two taps in Virginia, which will directly serve business and residential demand in the region for affordable, reliable domestic natural gas. We look forward to completing construction and bringing the Mountain Valley Pipeline into service later this year."

Opponents believe southwest Virginia's rivers and streams are in jeopardy, and they say they don't believe the state is getting the message.

"And I'm hoping that we made an impression," Minor Terry told WDBJ7. "I'm hoping that we're going to get the information passed through to the Governor."

On Wednesday morning, the Terrys plan to join opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, as they hold a protest outside a Dominion shareholders meeting in Richmond.