Proposed MVP Southgate through Rockingham and Alamance counties
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Department of Environmental Quality has denied the 401 certification permit (stream crossings) for the MVP Southgate project, a fracked gas pipeline proposal that would cross nearly one hundred streams and wetlands in the Haw River basin. With no Draft Environmental Impact Study published, MVP Southgate representatives have been denied this critical permit. They will be allowed to reapply after the Draft Environmental Impact Study has been reviewed. This denial and delay allows NC DEQ to retain their ability to deny or approve permits that have conditions dependent on the 401 certification.
What does this mean for the project?
The 401 certificate is the permit that allows pipeline projects to cross streams and wetlands. This permit is approved or denied at the state level, and is an effective tool for denying or delaying pipelines.
NC DEQ’s letter that was submitted to FERC on June 3rd states:
“The Division’ s March 2511 letter is hereby rescinded and, in accordance with 15A NCAC 02H .0507(e) and 15A NCAC 02B .0267, your application for a 401 Water Quality Certification and Jordan Lake Riparian Buffer Authorization is hereby denied. Once a Draft EIS has been issued and a preferred route is identified by FERC you may reapply to the Division”
MVP Southgate will reapply for this permit after the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is released in July and reviewed. To be clear, this fight is not over. We are thankful that DEQ is asking for more information and refusing the approve a permit without adequate documentation like other states have done.
What do we do now?
The draft Environmental Impact Statement will be a huge document and the start of a fast moving permitting process. The draft release will set off a comment period, and we need as many comments as possible. Let’s dream BIG. Be ready to engage in that process, and make sure everyone you know is ready. Here are some talking points and resources to make sure your familiar and confident discussing the issue.
Use this link to send a letter to your state representatives and SHARE this link.
This is a new petition, asking Rep. Dennis Riddell, Rep. Steven Ross, Sen, Rick Gunn, Sen. Phil Berger, and Rep. Jerry Carter to publicly oppose the pipeline project and engage in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement process. If these are your representatives, please use this form to send them a letter.
We will have another action alert for members outside of Alamance and Rockingham to target your representatives and Governor Cooper next month!
Spread the word about this unnecessary project- we need a large voice to tell Cooper that NC does not need another fracked gas project. Share this link widely! We’re up to over 50 letters now.
Write Letters to the Editor and Op -Eds in local papers to keep a steady awareness on this issue.
Updates // Where do we go from here?
We have a link to the most updated route. Check it out here- https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cYisvKobU5XdAEAqWLDTmHKG3RQ45YjU&usp=sharing
A few dedicated volunteers have been collecting signatures in person for petitions to send to Riddell and Ross. Some folks collected signatures at Saturdays in Saxapahaw and collected nearly 50. Find the digital copies on the nomvpsouthgate.org website and print them if you’d like to help out.
Most of the surveying has been completed. This will inform the Draft Environmental Impact Statement which is scheduled for release in July.
There is an interest in hosting postcard writing parties as a part of the comment process for the DEIS. This would mean we would supply you with blank postcards and postage ready to send in written comments, and you invite all of your friends over to your own house to fill out as many comments as you’d like. Are you interested in hosting? Let me know!
This is a long fight, so let’s not forget the progress we’ve made.
Alamance County commissioners signed a unanimous resolution to oppose the pipeline project
Elon University student government signed a resolution to oppose the pipeline project
Stoneville signed a resolution to oppose the project
NC DEQ wrote a critical letter of the project, stating they saw no demonstrated need
Every local government body along the proposed route in Alamance County has heard a presentation or public comments from us in opposition of the pipeline project.
NCDEQ rejected MVP Southgate’s first attempt to apply for the 401 certificate.
This old oak on David Naylor’s land is threatened by the proposed MVP Southgate project. Thanks to Kim Hawks for the photo.
MVP Southgate has officially applied to FERC- Now what?
This means that they have officially applied to FERC and can start to work towards getting permits. However, not all of the surveying has been completed, and therefore, the Environmental Impact Statement cannot be completed. There are updated resources on their website to see what is being proposed.
However, NC DEQ sent a letter to the FERC docket, stating this project is unnecessary
““After examining filings made to both FERC and the NCUC and conducting our own research and outreach to better inform our understanding of this Southgate project, we remain unconvinced that the Southgate project is necessary. We question whether the project satisfies the criteria for the Commission to deem it in the public interest and whether it is essential to ensure future growth and prosperity for the residents of our State.”
Additionally, Alamance County Planning Department submitted a letter reminding FERC of the resolution to oppose the project, along with several water quality concerns. In a meeting with DEQ leadership, we learned that Alamance County would be responsible for issuing a stormwater permit for the project. The signed resolution could possibly prevent that permit from being issued.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is a 303 mile pipeline being constructed to carry fracked gas from West Virginia into Virginia. MVP has announced that they are working to get approval for an extension of that pipeline that will take it an additional 70 miles from southern Virginia into central North Carolina. The addition, the MVP Southgate project, will cut through Rockingham and Alamance counties, ending at a point just south and east of Graham, below 1-85-40.
- Pipeline extension from Mountain Valley Pipeline mainline in Pittsylvania County, VA.
- 70 miles of pipeline through Rockingham and Alamance County mostly in the Haw River watershed
- Size of pipeline is could be up to 24” in diameter.
- Pipeline will require 100’ of easement during construction,and a 50′ permanent easement.
- Route will run adjacent to the Haw in many areas, cutting across sensitive streams and tributaries.
- Destination is east of Graham and south of I-40-85
- “Fracked” shale gas running through pipelines is sourced from the Utica and Marcellus shale fracking operations in WVA and PA, and is owned by PSNC.
- Pre-filing permit processes will begin in May 2018. MVP will then hold community open houses though the route corridor to “identify and resolve environmental issues.”
- MVP aims to begin construction by 2020.
Pipeline poses threats to our environment and communities
The extractive process of fracking is destructive to land, air, and water quality in many ways, but the transport of the fracked gas also poses threats to downstream communities. In the construction process of pipelines, easements must be cleared of all trees and plants, exposing the disturbed land to erosion and causing sedimentation in streams. In-stream sedimentation not only carries nutrients and chemicals into the water, but the sediments themselves drown sensitive wildlife habitats in nearby streams. The MVP Southgate proposed route must cross several streams and tributaries. In order to do this, ditch lines are often blasted through rock and streams to lay the pipe. Streams are then dammed up and rerouted during trench construction, or drills cut a route under the stream using hydraulic motors and jet nozzles. Both of these processes destroy stream habitat. Potential leaks in pipes pose ongoing threats to water quality for downstream users. Fracked gas is also highly explosive. Recent explosions have caused serious injuries and destroyed homes. By allowing this pipeline into our communities, we are tying ourselves to decades of fossil fuel use, resulting in high methane emissions and heightening our effect on climate change.
Join in the Opposition to Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate
Haw River Assembly, Sierra Club and Good Stewards of Rockingham are organizing community meetings and have made presentation to elected officials in the areas where Mountain Valley Pipeline Extension will go through – from Reidsville to Graham (see map above). To date, we have held meetings and presentations in Burlington, Wentworth, Swepsonville, Town of Haw River, Reidsville, Graham, Green Level and with the Alamance County Commissioners.
Are you a landowner who has been contacted by Mountain Valley Pipeline or Doyle Land Surveying?
Know your rights. You have the right to say NO. Your ability to refuse to negotiate and require the energy companies to use eminent domain is one of the most powerful statements you can make to protect your land. It gives you the most influence afforded to you by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The pipeline company does NOT have the right of eminent domain until they have been issued a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from FERC. Surveyors do not have the right to be on your private property without your permission.
Click here for more information about what your rights are as a property owner.