Fantastic news for Alamance and Rockingham Counties:
nother natural gas pipeline in North Carolina has been derailed, at least temporarily, as the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has denied a water quality permit for the MVP Southgate project that would route through Rockingham and Alamance counties.
In a letter released this afternoon, Division of Water Resources Director Danny Smith wrote, “Due to uncertainty surrounding the completion of the MVP Mainline project,” it has determined that “work on the Southgate extension could lead to unnecessary water quality impacts and disturbance of the environment in North Carolina.”
This project has been flying under the radar of most North Carolina areas, since it is a relatively short spur compared to the now defunct ACP. But it is a very real (and frightening) issue for many of us in Alamance County. The "landmen" have been poking around on people's properties since last year, and some property owners have been taken to court for not allowing those trespassers access:
Mountain Valley Pipeline representatives will have access to two Alamance County properties with the owners’ consent, while a hearing to get onto a third property has been postponed.
Last month, MVP Southgate sued two pairs of property owners — Charles and Deborah Jones, and Allen and Cynthia Mitchell — who had refused to let company representatives onto their properties to survey and test the pipeline’s potential route.
“Mountain Valley is vested with the power of eminent domain under North Carolina law, and is a condemnor,” the suit reads. “North Carolina law expressly allows any condemnor to enter upon any lands, but not structures, prior to condemnation to make surveys, borings, examinations, and appraisals.”
On March 29, ahead of a hearing April 1 on an injunction against the property owners, the property owners signed consent judgments allowing the company access to the land, though not the buildings on it.
Of course you probably haven't heard about this, because NC's self-appointed property rights "knights in tarnished armor" JLF and Civitas don't care that an out-of-state private corporation has eminent domain powers (and brags about it), they only oppose takings when the government does it for the greater good. Private profits? Go for it. Back to the OP:
In total, the southern portion would cross 207 streams, three ponds and temporarily affect 17,726 linear feet of streams, 6,538 square feet of open waters, and 14 acres of wetlands; another 0.02 of an acre of wetlands would be permanently damaged. Nearly 14 acres of riparian buffers would also be affected. MVP Southgate would cross the Dan River, home to endangered and threatened species, and Stony Creek Reservoir, the main drinking water supply for the City of Burlington.
The division also denied a Jordan Lake Riparian Buffer Authorization. Such an authorization would be required because the route is within the sensitive Jordan Lake watershed, which includes the Haw River.
MVP Southgate is an extension of the controversial main Mountain Valley Pipeline project, which runs for 303 miles from a fracked gas operation in northern West Virginia to southern Virginia. The mainline has racked up hundreds of environmental violations and prompted state and federal regulators to issue dozens of stop-work orders. Construction on the main line is currently halted, per a FERC stop-work order. That project’s costs have ballooned to $6.2 billion.
Not only does it cross several water resources, the last 10-15 miles literally straddles the Haw River from North of Burlington to its terminus. It's bad business, all around.