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Roanoke group meets with Governor, shares pipeline concerns

(WDBJ)
Published: May. 17, 2018 at 8:07 PM EDT
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Pipeline opponents have been trying to get the attention of Governor Ralph Northam, and on Wednesday a group from Roanoke sat down with him in Richmond.

The meeting was arranged by State Senator John Edwards. And it included Roanoke City Council member Bill Bestpitch who shared concerns about the impact of erosion and sedimentation on water quality in the Roanoke River.

"We're expecting to spend as I said, up to $100 million over the next 20 years to get rid if 2,800 tons of sediment in the Roanoke River," Bestpitch said. "And this is projected very conservatively to add an additional 1,000 tons."

Bestpitch said he was encouraged that the Governor listened, asked good questions and appeared to take the group's concerns seriously.

Northam's Press Secretary, Ofirah Yheskel released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

"Governor Northam believes it is important to engage with the Virginians he serves and he appreciates the conversation he shared yesterday with those opposed to these projects. The governor is sensitive to the concerns expressed and discussed the action the state is taking to follow the law and hold these projects to the highest environmental standards possible."

Natalie Cox, a spokesperson for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, also responded Thursday.

"The VA DEQ took the unprecedented step of requiring, reviewing, and approving erosion and sediment control plans that cover every foot of this important underground infrastructure project. The rigorous erosion and sediment control measures being used for construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline are specifically designed to minimize short-term impact to waterbodies, help to mitigate any impacts that may arise, and ensure there are no extended-term impacts after the project is in service. We remain committed to the safe and responsible construction and operation of this project to meet the demand for affordable, reliable domestic natural gas in the region."