Virginia DEQ Plans to Give 2 Pipeline Projects Detailed Exam

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced yesterday that it would require water quality certifications under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act for each segment of both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project (Dominion) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline project (EQT & NextEra Energy). Apparently the DEQ considered using the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permit 12 process–a less rigorous review (saves about half a forest of trees in paper). But in the end, the DEQ said they were caving to political pressure from anti groups (our words), and instead put Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley on notice to get ready for a detailed exam. It will be painful. However, it’s not anything either company isn’t already used to/hasn’t done before. We wouldn’t say “it’s no big deal,” but neither is this a show stopper. The more relevant question: Is the DEQ ready to review the blizzard of paperwork that will come at them, IN A TIMELY MANNER? The real question is whether or not the DEQ is equipped to conduct the extensive review they’ve now demanded, and what happens if they can’t?…

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