Atlantic Coast Pipe Gets Key WV Approval; VA Approval Next Week?

On Wednesday the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) “waived” the state’s authority under the federal Clean Water Act to determine if Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) will harm rivers and streams, instead deferring to the US Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Nationwide permit. The USACE Nationwide permit has the same exact standards as found in the WV version–so there’s no need to duplicate the paperwork. This is not the first time WVDEP has deferred to the USACE’s permit. They did the same exact thing with a water crossing permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project in November (see WV DEP Secretary Issues Letter Explaining MV Pipeline Decision). It’s pretty easy for antis to demagogue the issue, saying WV has “given up it’s right to regulate the project.” That is manifestly untrue. As WVDEP pointed out in November with Mountain Valley, and again on Wednesday with Atlantic Coast, “Waiving the 401 individual certification does not indicate that there will be fewer environmental requirements to which the ACP must adhere. The special West Virginia conditions that exist in the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Nationwide permit are designed to mirror what would be in a 401 individual certification issued by West Virginia. Under the Nationwide permit, enforcement would be left to federal agencies and would be limited to stream crossings.” WV’s approval of ACP is a major milestone, but not the only one required…

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