ARRISONBURG – Before heading into James Madison University’s Festival Conference & Student Center on Monday evening, opponents and supporters of the proposed 600-mile, three-state Atlantic Coast Pipeline traded shouts across the lawn.

As they held colorful signs and banners and donned stickers and shirts representing their perspectives, proponents chanted “Build it now!” and “Energy! Energy! Energy!” and sang “I’ve Been Working on the Pipeline,” a parody of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” while opponents countered with “no pipeline” and “solar, solar!” shouts.

The demonstrations served as a preamble to a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on proposed water-quality permit requirements for the pipeline attended by hundreds from across the commonwealth, including Nelson County.

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The hearing, the first of three scheduled to be held by DEQ, came after the agency recently announced it would require certification of the pipeline under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act rather than just relying on a nationwide permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.

According to DEQ, the draft 401 Certification would establish additional conditions “for activities in upland areas that are located near state waters and that may indirectly affect state water along the route of the project.”

While DEQ previously has relied on the Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide Permit 12 to protect water quality — which requires that water quality is protected during the construction of pipelines in wetlands and streams, according to DEQ — DEQ said it chose to require a draft 401 Certification “to address concerns raised during the environmental impact review and by the public.”

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Nelson County Times – Emily Brown – 08/08/2017

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