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May 18, 2021

News Update on the Campaign for Virginia’s Water Future

Join Katie Keller, Wild Virginia’s Publicity and Outreach Director, and David Sligh, Conservation Director, in their chat about the Campaign for Virginia’s Water Future. In this podcast, they discuss the motivation behind the campaign, the changes it promotes for Virginia water, and the ways you can get involved. 

CAMPAIGN FOR VIRGINIA’S WATER FUTURE PROMOTING CLEAN WATER

The Campaign for Virginia’s Water Future started about 2 years ago, in conjunction with 55 other groups dedicated to protecting Virginia’s lakes, streams, and rivers. Inspired by the lack of regulations being applied to pipelines and other issues, this campaign hopes to propose new rules to make sure every body of water is protected. Last September, Wild Virginia and its partner groups presented a slate of first important steps to the State Water Control Board. 

Our goal is that through this campaign, we can push for the implementation of some specific changes that would greatly streamline and progress the regulation process. Described with four clauses, these changes include the implementation of a narrative criteria, which is a description of how waters are supposed to be protected; the implementation of numeric criteria, which includes looking for nutrients that cause algae growth and low oxygen levels in the water; the consideration of turbidity, which is the degree of murkiness in water due to sediments; and a structured permitting process, which will push the state to complete the analysis thoroughly and accurately. 

The Campaign for Virginia’s Water Future is important because it ensures that the state will carry out their legal requirements to apply the described criteria to every instance where Virginia issues some permit or authorization for land development that can affect our water quality. Using the Mountain Valley Pipeline as an example, if it was found that the pipeline coats the neighboring streams with sediments, creating too much mud, then we can say that the MVP violates the narrative criteria and development should be stopped. 

HOLDING THE VIRGINIA DEQ ACCOUNTABLE FOR CLEAN WATER

Recently, the State Water Control Board told the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to start developing this numeric criteria. Wild Virginia will be involved in making recommendations and serving in an advisory role. 

Lastly, there are many ways for you to get involved. If you see any projects or discharges that warrant concern, please file complaints to the DEQ or your local development inspectors. Be aware, and be an advocate for your waters. 

More information on this campaign and our current petition can be found at www.wildvirginia.org

****UPDATE: On May 13, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sent a letter to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) asking for that agency’s opinion as to the State’s authority to review a proposal by Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). MVP is trying to evade Clean Water Act reviews for possible impacts to 182 waterbodies, many of them in Virginia, by boring holes and pushing pipe underneath streams and wetlands. 

READ THE FULL NEWS STORY HERE.