One US Forest Service Employee Sends Questions to FERC re Pipeline

We spotted a story last week published by the Associated Press with a first sentence that begins this way: “The U.S. Forest Service has raised hundreds of concerns about a proposed natural gas pipeline that would carve a 30-mile swath through national forests in Virginia and West Virginia.” The pipeline is Dominion’s $5 billion, 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline from West Virginia into Virginia and onward to North Carolina. We read the story and then dug a bit further. It seems it’s not the monolithic U.S. Forest Service that is questioning the pipeline, but a single U.S. Forest Service worker–H. Thomas Speaks Jr., forest supervisor for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Mr. Speaks was fed anti-pipeline propaganda from the head of an anti-pipeline organization who is a semi-retired researcher from the University of Virginia–Rick Webb. Webb continues to use his UVA official email account to promote his anti-pipeline viewpoints, implying UVA also opposes the project (see Researcher Uses Official UVA Email to Oppose Dominion Pipeline). We Googled and found a letter from Webb to Speaks which (we assume) include some (many?) of the same talking points Speaks used when submitting his “335 questions, comments and corrections” to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with regard to running a pipeline through 30 miles of the George Washington and Monongahela national forests…

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