Public meeting held in Newport News on Atlantic Coast Pipeline


NEWPORT NEWS,  Va. (WAVY) — A public meeting was held in Newport News Friday on the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline and of March 16th in a 7-0 vote, the project was approved.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission is talking about a new application for the project.

Project organizers want to install a natural gas pipeline beneath nearly 50 streams and rivers that are considered state-owned.

Related: Protesters gather in opposition of Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The 600-mile Pipeline is expected to run between West Virginia and North Carolina — and include parts of Chesapeake and Suffolk.

Some are concerned about its potential impacts on the local environment like Nancy Sorrells “I don’t want this project coming through because its going to destroy communities and livelihood.”

Dominion Energy and Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC are working on building the pipeline.

According to Jennifer Kostyniuk, the Director of Dominion Energy Communications, the vote was approved.

All of our stream and river crossings have been thoroughly reviewed and approved by a number of other state and federal agencies, including the FERC, Army Corps and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent three years carefully reviewing these crossings to make sure we have the protections in place to preserve the water quality and protect aquatic species,” said Kostyniuk in a statement. “At every stage of this project, we’ve gone above and beyond regulatory requirements, and we’ve adopted some of the most protective measures ever used by the industry. Additionally, we’ll be monitored closely by state and federal inspectors through every stage of the construction process. These protections and the regulatory oversight we’re receiving should assure all Virginians that we’re going to protect their water quality, and we’re going to do this the right way. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a public infrastructure project for the public good. It’s going to make Virginia’s electricity cleaner and more reliable, and it’s going to lower consumer energy costs. It’s also critical to the Hampton Roads economy. The pipelines serving are region are fully tapped, and they can’t support manufacturers and other new industries that want to locate here. With this new infrastructure, Hampton Roads will be able to grow its manufacturing economy and create thousands of new jobs in the process.”

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was approved 7-0-1 with the following special conditions. Associate Commissioner Everett abstained.

1. With the exception of the 6 jurisdictional stream crossings proposed to be crossed by the horizontal directional drill method and the proposed wet crossings of Quaker Swamp, Butterwood, Fontaine, Tarrara and Cohoon creeks, all instream construction activities shall be accomplished during low flow periods utilizing dam and pump, flume around or cofferdams constructed of non-erodible materials in such a manner that no more than approximately half the width of the waterway is obstructed at any point in time;

2. All areas of State-owned bottom and adjacent lands disturbed by this activity shall be restored to their original contours and natural conditions within thirty (30) days from the date of completion of the authorized work. All excess materials shall be removed to an upland site and contained in such a manner to prevent its reentry into State waters;

3. Erosion and sediment control measures shall be in conformance with the 1992 Third Edition of the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook and shall be employed throughout construction;

4. If it is determined that blasting is necessary at any of the crossings, DGIF shall be notified a minimum of 48 hours in advance of the blasting;

5. The Department of Conservation and Recreation shall be contacted for any stream crossings where karst landscape features are encountered during installation for inspection, mitigation and documentation;

6. DGIF shall be contacted for any work in trout waters to avoid conflicts with trout stocking activities;

7. The Permittee agrees to conduct mollusk and fish surveys and relocation efforts in the VMRC jurisdictional waterways, as recommended by DGIF in their collective comments to date, unless specifically waived in writing. All surveys should be performed by a qualified, permitted biologist, no more than six months prior to the start of construction. Any relocations should be coordinated with VDGIF and no federally listed species should be relocated without first coordinating with the USFWS.

8. Permittee agrees to adhere to the instream work time-of-year restrictions for the 51 non-tidal jurisdictional stream crossings, with the exception of Stuart Run and Back Creek, as recommended by DGIF to protect state and federally listed mussel and fish species, unless specifically waived in writing;

9. Permittee agrees to adhere to the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan updated in the FEIS in October 2017;

10. A “frac-out” contingency plan must be provided for any crossings utilizing the directional drill method to address potential frac-outs or related spills associated with any directional drilling activities of streams or tidal wetlands. The use of any additives to the drilling fluid by the HDD contractor must comply with the Department of Environmental Quality’s approval and 401 Certificate for this project;

11. The Permittee shall revegetate any tidal wetland areas damaged by unintentional returns of drilling fluid, resulting from frac-outs, and all open-cut crossings of tidal wetlands with the appropriate native tidal wetlands species. Areas above mean high water may be seeded, areas below mean high water shall be sprigged on eighteen inch centers. These sites shall be monitored for 5 years to ensure a minimum of 80% vegetative cover is established;

12. Permittee shall, for the proposed open cut crossings of Quaker Swamp, Butterwood, Fontaine, Tarrara and Cohoon creeks, comply with the erosion and sediment control measures outlined in the April 13, 2017, memorandum, from Environmental Resources Management (ERP) to Dominion, as well as to the FERC Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures. Any trench excavation for the subject waterways may be initiated only after verifying that no significant rainfall events are forecasted for the time necessary to complete the open cut trench, pipe installation and backfilling operations.

The Commission additionally assessed a one-time royalty assessment in the amount of $28,932.00 for the encroachment of the proposed pipeline beneath 9,644 linear feet of State-owned subaqueous land at a rate of $3.00 per linear foot.

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