Groups opposing Dominion's proposed natural gas pipeline are applauding Senator Mark Warner. This week, Warner sent a letter to federal regulators asking them to clarify their policies for gathering public input on projects that could impact the environment.
In the letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Warner says he's heard complaints in Nelson and Augusta counties about a recent series of scoping meetings.
That's where the commission gathers input from the public about environmental concerns. The Friends of Nelson group says Dominion may have rigged the comment sections.
FERC held a scoping meeting in Nelson on March 18t, and people with Friends of Nelson say they were told to show up a little before 7 to sign up to comment. By that time, they say Dominion had already signed up dozens of speakers who support the project.
Now, Senator Warner is asking FERC Director Cheryl LaFleur to clarify how people sign-up, and if there is potential for a follow-up hearing.
Ernie Reed with Friends of Nelson says the review needs to slow down to gather all of the information on the proposed project.
"To just give it the time required and the time that's necessary is all we're asking, but it's the type of an ask that Senator Warner has now made, and we're hoping FERC responds in a positive way and gives us and the rest of the public the opportunities that we deserve," says Ernie Reed, of Friends of Nelson
Reed says the speakers in favor of the project at that scoping meeting also did not give any environmental information, taking valuable time away from people who wanted to discuss specific issues.
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