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Federal Agency Reps & Officials: Tell FERC to do a PEIS for Virginia Pipelines

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To: Federal Agency Representatives
Department of Energy - Rickey R. Hass, Acting Inspector General
Environmental Protection Agency- Shawn M. Garvin, Regional Administrator
United States Forest Service – H. Thomas Speaks, Jr., Forest Supervisor
Bureau of Land Management – Dean S. Gettinger, District Manager

To: Elected Federal Officials
U.S. Senators: Tim Kaine and Mark Warner
U.S. Representatives: Robert Hurt, Randy Forbes, Morgan Griffith, Bob Goodlatte, Rob Wittman, Scott Rigell, Robert Scott, Dave Brat, Don Beyer, Barbara Comstock, Gerry Connolly

CC: FERC Secretary Bose and Commissioner Bay

Dear Federal Agency Representative or Elected Official:

In the past year, developers have proposed four large-diameter, high-pressure natural gas transmission lines through the steep slopes and large un-fragmented National Forests of the central Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountain region of Virginia. The construction and long term economic, health, and safety impacts of these projects on residents and the millions of Virginians that rely on the mountains’ headwaters and recreational opportunities are likely to be considerable. Given the scale, regional proximity, and similar purpose of the four proposed pipeline projects, the only way to accurately assess the impacts and alternatives—and the fundamental need for so many, is to evaluate them together.

We are asking for your help now to ensure a thorough regulatory process that will protect Virginians from needless harm.

Please urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to conduct a single, comprehensive regional review of all four interstate natural gas pipeline projects currently proposed for the central Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountain region of Virginia and West Virginia—the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the Appalachian Connector Pipeline, and the WB Express Project.

This Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) must comprehensively evaluate the need for these four pipelines; assess the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of overall pipeline development in this region; and fully consider all reasonable, less-damaging alternatives in a single document.

Separate analyses of these pipelines is analogous to a transportation “planning” process that allowed private turnpike companies to build large highways through our region with no entrance or exit ramps and no overall sense of which highways are most needed—with private companies taking property from local residents and businesses and reaping all the profit.

This common sense reality is recognized by the National Environmental Policy Act and affirmed by the courts: FERC must evaluate the impacts of related projects with cumulative impacts proposed or reasonably foreseeable in the same geographic region in a single comprehensive EIS. Please minimize the damage these pipelines would cause to the rural heritage, environment, property rights, and property values of Virginians by insisting that FERC follow the law and conduct a PEIS.

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