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National Forest Weighs in on Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Posted: Updated: Aug 17, 2015 05:57 PM
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

The man who oversees the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest is expressing concern over Dominion's proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. 

In a 57-page letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Tom Speaks, forest supervisor for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, outlines what he says needs to be done. 

The document details 335 things that Speaks says Dominion needs to address in its resource report of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. 

"Truthfully, the forest service has done an amazing job of doing Dominion’s homework for them. They've articulated impacts to golden eagles, cheat mountain salamander, to rivers and mountains and streams that Dominion up until this point has failed to do," says Ernie Reed, President of Wild Virginia.

Activists say if Dominion fails to conduct a thorough assessment, a lawsuit could follow.

Dominion tells NBC29 that it has received the National Forest Service's comments. It says many of the issues raised have been or are in the process of being addressed. Dominion will include an official response in its final resource report later this summer. 


News Release from Wild Virginia: 

On July 30, Tom Speaks, Forest Supervisor of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, submitted a report to Kimberly Bose, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to  “identify information and data requirements necessary for the assessment of project effects on National Forest System Lands” from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).”
 
The letter includes a 57-page document that points out numerous deficiencies, errors, and inconsistencies in documents submitted to FERC by Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC.  It also enumerates the range of potential effects that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline could have on the George Washington and Monongahela National Forest, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
 
The document contains 335 different requests for information, including stipulations that Dominion complete required analyses on impacts to waters, plants, animals and users of the forest.  Most importantly the report states that “ACP’s discussion should clearly articulate why the project cannot reasonably be accommodated off National Forest Service (NSF) lands.  This discussion should not cite lower costs or less restrictive locations as the sole purpose of crossing NSF lands.”
 
“The GWNF staff has done an excellent job detailing the many problems posed by ACP’s proposal.  Cutting a 125-foot scar across steep mountains and through Virginia’s precious national forests to install and operate a 42” natural gas pipeline clearly threatens the integrity of these resources,” said David Sligh, the Conservation Director of Wild Virginia.  “The Forest Service officials are taking their responsibility as stewards of our public lands seriously, by requiring Dominion to analyze all the threats the ACP poses to our most valued resources. They have given us 335 reasons why this pipeline should not be built.”
 
Wild Virginia is a conservation organization dedicated to protecting the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.
 
Dominion plans to submit their formal filing with FERC early this fall.
 
The document is available on the FERC website at http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150730-5223

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