Updates

September 15, 2018

Earlier this week, DEQ directed EQT to focus all Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) work on slope stabilization and erosion control enhancements in anticipation of heavy rains from Hurricane Florence. Some work, specifically in the Bent Mountain and Blue Ridge Parkway areas, may appear to be extensive. Formerly approved through a stabilization plan from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), work in these areas should not be mistaken for new construction.

"Whether you call it new construction, active construction, or stabilization and erosion control measures, all parties, including DEQ staff and EQT engineers, agreed it was important to get the pipe off the slope and into the ground," said DEQ Director David Paylor. [more]

August 21, 2018 - State Water Control Board Meeting

At its meeting the State Water Control Board (Board) voted on a motion by Tim Hayes, seconded by Heather Wood.  Vote was unanimous (7 aye and 0 nay)

The Board has reviewed the public comment received during the comment period, has heard the staff's evaluation of the public comments and the sufficiency of the Nationwide Permit 12 to protect stream crossings impacted by the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
The Board has also heard the staff's report on the status of both projects regarding public complaints, compliance and enforcement and have considered advice of counsel as to the Board's jurisdiction and authority.
Based on the foregoing considerations, the Board directs DEQ staff:
(1) to share relevant information from the public comment period with the Corps of Engineers for their consideration in administering and enforcing Nationwide Permit 12 to ensure protection of state waters;
(2) to continue aggressive compliance, inspection and enforcement activities to the maximum extent of its authority, and to include incorporation of erosion and sediment measures required by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy where they are relevant and to the extent that they are more stringent; and
(3) to respond promptly and effectively to verified public complaints of violations.

Staff reports present to the board:

August 3, 2018 - FERC halts MVP construction

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) stopped construction in the 3.6-mile segment of the MVP in the Jefferson National Forest, and subsequently stopped work along the entire project. DEQ will work with FERC to ensure appropriate erosion and sediment control measures are in place, installed properly and maintained throughout the stop work period. The only work currently underway in Virginia is site stabilization. DEQ will have consultants on site throughout the stoppage to ensure stabilization and compliance.

July 3 - 31, 2018 - MVP authorized to resume work 

Following the Notice of Violation and voluntary suspension of construction activity, DEQ inspectors worked to ensure that construction areas have proper soil erosion and sediment controls prior to resuming work.

July 9, 2018 - DEQ issues Notice of Violation to MVP

DEQ has issued a Notice of Violation for alleged violations for failing to take corrective actions within required timeframes, failure to install (and improperly installed) best management practices, the release of sediment from construction off the right-of-way, and for sediment deposited in surface waters. View the news release.

June 29, 2018 - MVP suspends pipeline work in Virginia

Based on issues identified during inspections, MVP has agreed to temporarily suspend pipeline installation in Virginia. To ensure proper soil erosion and sediment controls are implemented, MVP will direct crews to enhance and restore controls along the pipeline route. All related construction activities within the project's right of way (a 125-foot wide construction corridor) will resume only after MVP receives approval by DEQ.

June 15, 2018 - Nationwide Permit 12 comment period closes

With respect to the public comment period associated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12), the purpose of the comment period was to provide, as directed by the State Water Control Board (board), a 30-day written comment opportunity for the submittal of crossing-specific technical information to DEQ on the sufficiency of the Corps NWP 12 permit's general and regional conditions, the Corps NWP 12 permit authorization for Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), and the Commonwealth's § 401 water quality certification of NWP 12 for specific stream crossings of both the MVP and ACP projects. The comment period originally ran from April 30, 2018 to May 30, 2018. The closing date of the comment period was extended to June 15, 2018, because of the website outage. Over 13,000 comments were received during the comment period.

June 2, 2018 - Website restored

DEQ recognizes the importance of its website and understands that the public relies on the website for information and for the conduct of business with the department. The site was taken down for a security review because the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) detected a malicious party in the system and directed that the site be taken down for security review. The party was blocked from making changes to the web. The website was rebuilt and restored to service as quickly as possible and DEQ is continuing to work with VITA to bring a few applications back to full operational status.

April 12, 2018 - State Water Control Board Meeting

At the State Water Control Board (board) meeting on April 12, 2018, the board received information from DEQ and comments from several members of the public regarding the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) projects. The board had extensive discussions on several areas and the following information provides additional details on those discussions.

Report to the Board: Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC 401 Water Quality Certification No. 17-001 - Supplemental Karst Evaluation Plan, Annual Standards and Specifications, and Erosion and Sediment Control and Stormwater Management Plans

On March 26, 2018, the department submitted a report to the board on the Supplemental Karst Evaluation Plan, Annual Standards and Specifications, and Erosion and Sediment Control and Stormwater Management Plans. Submittal of this report was not required as part of the board's action when it approved the 401 Water Quality Certification No. 17-001 for MVP but was prepared by DEQ in order to be consistent with what the board required when it issued the 401 Certification for the ACP project. 

At the April 12, 2018 meeting, DEQ followed-up on this report by providing a detailed technical presentation on the approved erosion and sediment control and stormwater management plans.

Report to the Board: Atlantic Coast Pipeline 401 Water Quality Certification No. 17-002 - Supplemental Karst Evaluation Plan, Annual Standards and Specifications, and Erosion and Sediment Control and Stormwater Management Plans

There are approvals still pending for ACP; therefore, there is no report.

December 7, 2017 - Board Action on Mountain Valley Pipeline 401 Water Quality Certification No. 17-001

On December 7, 2017, the board approved issuance of a Section 401 water quality certification for upland activities for the proposed MVP. As part of the discussion of the December 12, 2017 action on ACP, the board indicated that no action is being considered to revisit the December 2017 actions on MVP and no comment on such an action is being sought or considered. 

December 12, 2017 - Board Action on Atlantic Coast Pipeline 401 Water Quality Certification No. 17-002

On December 12, 2017, the board approved issuance of a Section 401 water quality certification for upland activities for the proposed ACP. The certification included a delayed effective date based on submission and approval of specific information. After the meeting, the process for the report to the board was documented and made available to the public on DEQ's website at Protection Requirements for Pipelines.

At the April 12, 2018 meeting, board members discussed the process for the report and no action was taken to revise the interpretation. In addition, in later discussions the board indicated that no action is being considered to revisit the December 2017 actions on ACP, and no comment on such an action is being sought or considered.

Nationwide Permit 12 - Activities in Wetlands and Streams for both MVP and ACP

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Nationwide Permit (NWP) 12 authorizes discharges of dredged or fill material into wetlands and streams during the construction of pipelines. 

On April 7, 2017, DEQ, acting in accordance with the State Water Control Board's (board) regulations, certified NWP 12 and determined that there is a reasonable assurance that the activities permitted under the Corps’ NWP program, including the Norfolk District Regional Conditions, will be conducted in a manner which will not violate applicable water quality standards.

The Corps granted coverage under NWP 12 to MVP on December 26, 2017, and to ACP on February 9, 2018.

At the April 12 meeting, some board members brought up for discussion whether NWP 12 is sufficiently protective of the Commonwealth's aquatic resources. DEQ advised the board that the protections established in NWP 12 were the same as those that would have been established in an individual VWP permit. During the discussions, the members raised no specific areas of concern and provided no technical information that NWP 12 was insufficient. The board also discussed possible processes and effects of any actions, if deemed appropriate under the board's regulations, to revisit certification of NWP 12 as it relates to MVP and ACP. The board took no action to revisit certification of NWP 12 as it relates to MVP and ACP. 

The board decided to provide a 30-day written public comment opportunity. The sole purpose of the comment period is for interested persons to submit crossing-specific technical information to DEQ on the sufficiency of the Corps NWP 12 permit's general and regional conditions, the Corps NWP 12 permit authorization for MVP and ACP, and the Commonwealth's § 401 water quality certification of NWP 12 for specific stream crossings of both the MVP and ACP projects. 

After the comment period closes, DEQ will evaluate the comments and submit a summary of the relevant comments to the board. The summary will concurrently be made available to the public by posting the report on DEQ’s website. DEQ will also make the full text of the comments available to the board. No further action by the board is required. After review of the summary, the board may consider further actions, consistent with its regulatory authority, at its discretion without additional public comment on whether further action is warranted.

Future Update Reports to the Board

At the April 12, 2018 meeting the board heard concerns and requests on various aspects of the pipeline projects from several citizens. In response, the board requested that DEQ report to the board on several items discussed at the meeting. Among the items to be addressed are how DEQ will coordinate activities and complaints with FERC and the Corps; how DEQ will address citizen issues; how variances are processed; what variances have been approved; modifications to the blasting plan; guidance for stop work orders; and how complaints will be addressed. The report will be a compilation of factual information from DEQ; and, as such will not be the subject of public comment.

April 27, 2018 - NWP 12 Public Comment Period

The sole purpose of the written public comment period (April 30 to June 15) is for interested persons to submit technical comments and/or information for the MVP and ACP projects relevant to: 

  • the sufficiency of the Corps NWP 12 permit's general and regional conditions, as they relate to specific, wetland or stream crossing(s); 
  • the sufficiency of the Corps NWP 12 permit authorization for each project, as related to specific, wetland or stream crossing(s); and/or
  • the sufficiency of the Commonwealth's § 401 water quality certification of NWP 12, as related to specific, wetland or stream crossing(s).

Instructions

  1. All written comments submitted must include the name(s), mailing address(es) and telephone number(s) of the person(s) commenting.
  2. All written comments submitted must be to a specific wetland or stream crossing. Comments should reference exact wetlands and streams crossings by the identifiers found at the following links:
     
  3. The public comment period closed on June 15, 2018.
  4. After the comment period closes, DEQ will evaluate the comments; will submit to the board a summary of the relevant comments received; will concurrently provide the summary to the public by posting it; and will make the full text of the comments available to the board.
  5. The board may consider, but is not required to consider, further actions that are consistent with its regulatory authority, without additional public comment on whether further action is warranted.

Comments Received on NWP 12

Written comments received between April 30, 2018 and 11:59 pm on June 15, 2018 are posted below. Due to the volume of comments received, they are separated into multiple *. zip files, and the comments are saved as separate *.pdf files.

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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