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ACP hearing set

The Virginia State Water Control Board and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality are meeting Monday and Tuesday at Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road in Richmond, to consider whether or not to grant additional Section 401 Certification conditions for construction-related activities in upland areas that are located near state waters and may indirectly affect state waters along the route of either the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) or the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

According to a press release, this is not a public hearing or new public comment opportunity on either of the proposed pipeline projects.

“Only those persons who submitted official public comments during the public comment period that ran from July 3 through Aug. 22 may address the board,” officials said in the release.

The ACP natural gas project is 600 miles and will start in West Virginia, spanning Virginia and ending in North Carolina. The pipeline’s route is set to span Buckingham County. In January, county supervisors approved a special use permit for a hotly-contested 53,783-horsepower compressor station, slated to be constructed between Shelton Store and Union Hill roads on Route 56. The project’s development has drawn protest from residents in Buckingham.

Hundreds of Virginians gathered in Richmond on Dec. 2 to protest the ACP and MVP. According to a press release, the protests called on state leaders to protect Virginia’s water and reject the fracked-gas pipelines during the Water is Life Rally and Concert.

(FERC) approved a certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Supply Header on Oct. 13. According to Dominion Energy spokesperson Aaron Ruby, the FERC approval is the main regulatory approval needed prior to the beginning of construction.

Friends of Buckingham filed a Request for Rehearing on Nov. 13 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on FERC’s decision to issue a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for the ACP.

“A Request for Rehearing is the next step we are taking legally to stop the (ACP),” said Heidi Dhivya Berthoud of Friends of Buckingham. “We have done this for our friends and neighbors so that we can all preserve our ability to take further legal action against FERC for the crimes they are committing against Buckingham County.”

Friends of Buckingham also requested a Motion for Stay, which, if successful, would halt any progress on the project. “FERC may rule on the Request for Rehearing and the Stay, or it may choose not to,” Berthoud said in a press release. “But no matter the outcome, this will open the door for further litigation.”

According to the release, the Friends of Buckingham filing asserts that FERC and Dominion have failed to provide sufficient analysis and information on the environmental, cultural, historical, economic and socio-economic impacts of the project in Buckingham County.

According to a Friends of Nelson press release, 20 households in Nelson County will be testing their groundwater quality to gather baseline data suitable for legal action if and when the construction of the ACP begins.

The release cited that property owners in the path of the pipeline and owners of adjoining properties who are interested in such testing can contact Friends of Nelson at (434) 260-3298 or P.O. Box 33, Nellysford, VA 22958 for additional information and possible financial help for testing.