DEQ Would Make God Get A Permit To Increase Rainfall

Published 4:01 pm Thursday, November 29, 2012

In light of Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) having legal control over virtually every body of water-rivers, streams, lake, ponds, bathtubs (no, not yet)-in the commonwealth, and the Town of Farmville hoping to change that law:

Did you hear the one about DEQ and God?

In what is an undoubtedly true story from the end of August, a gentle rain fell on Prince Edward County into Mottley Lake, the good Lord answering prayers for rain to break the summer drought, the water flowing over the lake's spillway and into the Appomattox River.

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Well, God could see how much good that gentle rain was doing for parched fields, and how thankful people were that their prayers had been answered, and so He made it rain harder to do even more good.


Big mistake.

DEQ didn't like that.

DEQ didn't like that one little bit.

God may be God, DEQ determined, but increasing the flow of water from the sky into Mottley Lake and, subsequently, into the Appomattox River still requires DEQ approval of a permit application, and only after God has sought permission from the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors first.

God, of course, had not submitted a permit application to increase the flow of water from the sky into Mottley Lake and, from the lake's spillway, into the Appomattox River.

An honest mistake, surely, for those who believe in the All Mighty Power of DEQ, which apparently embraces the doctrine that the department made the world in six days, resting on the seventh day.

DEQ insiders claim to have an original copy of The Bible in which the sixth verse of the first chapter of Genesis reads: “God said, 'Let there be a vault between the waters, if approved by DEQ, to separate water from water, per DEQ directions.' So God made the vault, and separated the water under the vault, after securing DEQ approval, from the water above it, and so it was, with DEQ's permission…God said, 'Let the waters under heaven be gathered in one place, should DEQ concur, and not allowed to flow downstream into the Town of Farmville's water treatment plant without DEQ's consent.”

Frankly, I believe the above passage to be the product of some human being's imagination but I do not doubt that DEQ wishes it were Holy Writ and, indeed, may be working to codify the words into future biblical editions.

What is clearly true, however, is the absolute need for the General Assembly to approve legislation sought by the Town of Farmville to allow it to increase the flow of water from Mottley Lake into the Appomattox River when dire drought conditions make it necessary.

The Town owns the lake, having purchased it specifically for drought insurance. There is never a moment when water isn't going over the spillway, making its way into the Appomattox River. It is illogical, inane and just plain wrong to make any town seek and secure permission from a Board of Supervisors and then DEQ to use its own water from its own impoundment for the survival of an entire community, including the county that Board of Supervisors represents.

House of Delegates member James Edmunds, thankfully, agrees and will support the legislative proposal, which should attract votes from across the Commonwealth. The Town of Farmville must be able to decide for itself when to increase the flow of water from Mottley Lake into the Appomattox River to feed its water treatment plant and keep this community from running out of water in times of dire drought.

No permission should be required from any person, board or department and it is certainly in the best interests, too, of Prince Edward County that the Town be granted this power by the General Assembly.

DEQ's got enough to do without playing God.

DEQ can play god-small 'g'-all it wants and keep one locality from taking another locality's water. That would protect the Sandy River Reservoir. I'm all for that. Do that god thing, DEQ.

Section 15.2-5122 of the Code of Virginia states, “No locality or authority shall construct, provide or operate outside its boundaries any water supply impoundment system without first obtaining the consent of the governing body of the locality in which such system is located.”

By all means use that law to keep some locality or water authority from taking the Sandy River Reservoir from us. But don't use it to keep Farmville from drinking its own water.