ROANOKE CO., Va. (WDBJ7) What brought pipeline opponents to the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon was a proposed agreement between the county and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
Now that federal approval is in place, and construction is looming, county staffers said the agreement is needed so they can coordinate with DEQ before the work starts.
"And I think to wait any longer puts us at risk for land-disturbing activities beginning and then us scrambling to enter into the agreement and really develop that working relationship with DEQ," said Assistant County Administrator Richard Caywood.
But pipeline opponents argued the company that plans to build the Mountain Valley Pipeline hasn't completed plans, including measures for erosion and sedimentation control.
Kathy Chandler is a landowner on Bent Mountain.
"You've listened to this throughout three and a half years," Chandler told members of the board. "This is not the time to give up. They haven't done their work. Don't sign an MOA that makes you look eager for construction."
Opponents were surprised when the supervisors voted 3 to 2 against signing the Memorandum of Agreement.
Ann Rogers is a pipeline opponent who also lives in Roanoke County.
"We didn't know what to expect, but extraordinarily relieved," she said.
Officials believe clearing for the Mountain Valley Pipeline could begin in Roanoke County in early March, with actual construction starting in April or May.