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Official DEQ news releases.

List administrator(s): Jennifer Underwood, Ann Regn, Irina Calos, John Tragesser

Stabilization Measures Continue on Mountain Valley Pipeline Project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ann Regn
Ann.Regn@DEQ.Virginia.Gov
(804) 698-4442

September 15, 2018

Stabilization Measures Continue on Mountain Valley Pipeline Project

RICHMOND, VA. - Earlier this week, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (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. "This coordination does not constitute a stop work order, as this would be extremely dangerous with an expected storm of this size. It would not make sense for EQT crews to walk away from the project in the state it was in earlier this week. We directed EQT to secure the project to the highest extent possible before the storm hits. While people are disappointed and frustrated that we cannot exceed our legal authority and stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline, we are working with EQT, as we do with all permit holders in Virginia, to ensure compliance with the laws of the commonwealth."

Work includes securing pipe in open trenches, backfilling trenches where pipe is exposed, adding gravel and additional best management practices to prevent or reduce water pollution, removing fuel tanks, pipe and equipment from floodplain areas, and installation of enhanced erosion and sediment controls at road crossings.

DEQ staff, and EQT crews, are currently on site and will remain as long as it is safe. DEQ staff is overseeing all work and inspections are ongoing. As soon as the storm has passed and it's safe to return, DEQ will assess the situation and coordinate necessary clean-up plans and procedures by EQT as required by Virginia and FERC.

Pipeline problems should be reported to DEQ's dedicated (non-emergency) hotline: 804-698-4003. During the storm, emergencies should be reported to 911. Non-emergencies can also be reported to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management 24-hour hotline at (800) 468-8892.
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From: Ann Regn

Sent: September 15, 2018 at 4:20 pm

Tidewater Regional Office Closed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2108
Contact: Greg Bilyeu
Email: Greg.Bilyeu@DEQ.Virginia.Gov
(804)698-4107

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. - The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's Tidewater Regional Office (TRO) has closed due to due to high winds and coastal flooding. If you have a non-emergency pollution related incident, please call (757)518-2077. In case of pollution-related emergencies, please call the Virginia Department of Emergency Management at (800) 468-8892. For all other emergencies call 911.

Residents are encouraged to keep an eye on their petroleum fuel tanks. DEQ continues to work with local public utilities and other agencies protect water quality and water supplies.

Homeowners and permit holders can find more information about preparation and response on DEQ's hurricane web page. https://www.deq.virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/EnvironmentalInformation/HurricaneFlorence.aspx

DEQ TRO serves the counties of Accomack, Isle of Wight, James City, Northampton, Southampton and York, and the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk,
Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg.
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From: Ann Regn

Sent: September 14, 2018 at 9:59 am

Virginia State Water Control Board Upholds Approvals for Pipeline Projects

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ann Regn
Ann.Regn@DEQ.Virginia.gov
(804) 698-4442

August 22, 2018

Board directs DEQ to continue to take aggressive action to keep projects in compliance

RICHMOND, VA. - At its meeting yesterday in Richmond, after reviewing public comments, listening to staff presentations and members of the public, the Virginia State Water Control Board (Board) passed a motion upholding its approvals for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

The unanimous vote by the Board came after DEQ's evaluation of more than 13,000 public comments received regarding the sufficiency of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (Corps) Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) to protect stream crossings impacted by the MVP and ACP projects. The Board also heard DEQ staff reports on the status of both projects regarding public complaints, inspections, compliance and enforcement.

The Board's motion instructed DEQ to continue to aggressively hold both projects in compliance through inspections and enforcement activities to the maximum extent of the agency's authority. In addition, the Board directed DEQ to share relevant information from the public comment period with the Corps for its consideration in administering and enforcing NWP 12 to ensure protection of state waters.

During Tuesday's meeting, the Board also voted to defeat a motion to amend or revoke DEQ's certification of the Corps' NWP 12.

"I was pleased the Board reversed its earlier decision and gave meeting attendees the opportunity to share feedback during the meeting," said DEQ Director David Paylor, who sits on the Board as a non-voting member. "Through their actions yesterday, the Board sent a clear message to DEQ to continue to hold these projects accountable by monitoring and enforcing protective measures of Virginia's waters to the fullest extent of our authority."

Three regulatory Boards - the State Water Control Board, the Air Pollution Control Board and the Waste Management Board - are responsible for authorizing many of Virginia's environmental regulations. DEQ administers and enforces regulations as approved by the boards, which are comprised of Virginia citizens appointed by the governor for staggered four-year terms.

The Boards have statutory authority to enact regulations and approve certain permits, such as water discharge permits, and seek information from the public, the regulated community and advisory committees.

The Board did not indicate any plans for additional actions or public hearings.

More information about the meeting and the State Water Control Board is available on the DEQ website www.deq.virginia.gov/PipelineUpdates.aspx

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From: Jennifer Underwood

Sent: August 22, 2018 at 12:47 pm

Virginia DEQ Requires MVP to Stabilize Soils and Improve Erosion Control Measures During Work Stoppage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUGUST 6, 2018

Contact: Ann Regn
Ann.Regn@deq.virginia.gov
(804)698-4442

Virginia DEQ Requires MVP to Stabilize Soils and Improve Erosion Control Measures During Work Stoppage

RICHMOND, VA--Late on Friday, August 3, 2018 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a stop work order for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). This followed the announcement on July 27, when the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals revoked MVP's permits to cross the Jefferson National Forest. With construction of that 3.6-mile segment of federal land on hold, FERC decided late Friday that work on the entire project should stop.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's rules require site stabilization within seven days. FERC has similar rules and DEQ will work with FERC to ensure appropriate erosion and sediment control measures are in place throughout Virginia. DEQ will continue to inspect the project to ensure that all erosion and sediment control measures are in place, installed properly and maintained throughout this stop work period.

"The only work currently underway in Virginia is site stabilization," said DEQ Director, David K. Paylor. "Virginia's laws give DEQ the authority to ensure the infrastructure is stabilized--and remains stabilized-- for as long as the stop work order is in place."

DEQ will have consultants on site throughout the stoppage to identify what will be required by MVP to ensure stabilization.

More details are available about Virginia's annual standards and specifications for erosion control and stormwater management for pipeline projects at www.deq.virginia.gov/mvp

See also MVP's overview, Project Specific Standards and Specifications for Virginia at https://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement/ErosionandSedimentControl/NaturalGasPipelineErosionandSedimentControlandPostConstructionStormwaterManagement.aspx
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From: Ann Regn

Sent: August 06, 2018 at 3:48 pm

DEQ Releases 2017 Fish Tissue Monitoring Data

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2018

Contact: Greg Bilyeu
Gregory.Bilyeu@DEQ.Virginia.gov
(804) 698-4107

DEQ Releases 2017 Fish Tissue Monitoring Data
Data to be evaluated by the Virginia Department of Health

RICHMOND, VA - The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has released the 2017 fish tissue monitoring data. This information will be evaluated by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and could result in the lifting of current fish consumption advisories or in the issuing of new ones. This marks the first year since 2008 that new data was collected in multiple basins across the state.

The full 2017 fish tissue monitoring data report is available on the DEQ website: www.DEQ.Virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityMonitoring/FishTissueMonitoring/FishTissueResults.aspx. Sediment samples were also analyzed at selected sites in 2017 for Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) to support current or future total maximum daily load development. Results are available on the DEQ website: www.DEQ.Virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityMonitoring/FishTissueMonitoring/SedimentResults.aspx.

During 2017, fish tissue samples were collected from the upper portions of the James River, three major tributaries to the Chowan River, and sites on Lake Anna, Lake Gordonsville and Motts Run Reservoir. These samples were analyzed for PCBs and a suite of metals including arsenic, mercury and lead. DEQ also conducted two special monitoring studies for fish tissue metals in 2017, one in the Potomac Embayments and a second on the Dan River.

"DEQ's current fish tissue monitoring program provides the data needed to fulfill our mission of identifying impairments and guiding corrective actions to improve our waters," said DEQ Water Planning Division Director Jutta Schneider. "This information also helps people who eat fish from Virginia's waterways make informed choices."

Initiated in the late 1970s, DEQ's Fish Tissue and Sediment Monitoring program was focused on identifying both impairments of aquatic ecosystems and potential health risks associated with consuming fish from state waters. The program was expanded in 1995 to monitor all of Virginia's 14 major river basins on a rotational basis every five years for both fish tissue and sediment. Budget reductions led to the suspension of the program in 2009, however the program was redesigned and reinstated on a much smaller scale in 2012 focusing on existing impairments and fish consumption advisories.

For More Information:

DEQ's Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Programs
More information on DEQ's water quality monitoring and assessment programs is available on the agency's website: www.DEQ.Virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs.aspx

VDH Fish Consumption Advisories
Information on fish consumption advisories can be found on the VDH website: www.VDH.Virginia.gov/environmentalepidemiology/public-health-toxicology/fish-consumption-advisories/

From: Jennifer Underwood

Sent: July 24, 2018 at 3:12 pm