Letters Needed to Mon. National Forest by Feb. 13!!!
Posted on January 29, 2015 by admin
Dominion is assuming that they would have less opposition problems going through public lands instead of people’s private land. Let’s show Dominion and the Forest Service that as citizens who use the Monongahela National Forest, we do not want this giant gas pipeline to scar our refuge, our natural haven.
One key reason we must flood the Forest Service with letters: Dominion can’t use eminent domain in the Mon Forest. The Forest Service is not subject to eminent domain. The Forest Service has the power to deny a right of way for the project to cross the National Forest. This is our Forest. We have the right to say “NO!”
Directions to Comment on the proposed Pipeline route through the Monongahela National Forest:
In subject line: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Survey Permit Comments
FAX: 304-637-0582 and denote ” Atlantic Coast Pipeline Survey Permit Comments”
MAIL or Hand Deliver: USDA Forest Service
Monongahela National Forest
Atlantic Coast Pipeline Survey Permit Comments
200 Sycamore Street
Elkins, West Virginia 26241
It’s best for each writer to express their personal feelings and positive experiences about the Mon in their own words, in addition to including some variations of any of the talking points below. What do you enjoy most about your trips to the Mon? How do you personally feel about this potential travesty? What are your deepest concerns? A short succinct letter in your own words is more powerful than a long recitation that is identical to other letters.
There are two letters to write – or one that is sent to two places – the FS (Forest Service) and FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission).
The FS has received an application from Dominion Transmission Inc. for a Special Use Permit (SUP) to conduct surveys in the Mon (Monongahela National Forest) regarding construction of the ACP (Atlantic Coast Pipeline). Comments to the FS would be about the surveys, not the actual construction of the pipeline, but the two are connected. The disturbance caused by the surveys, which is extensive, are unnecessary if the pipeline is not built; and the pipeline should not be built. Talking points are below. This letter is due by Feb 13 – details about how and where to comment are in the attached Public Scoping Letter and Press Release from the FS.
FERC will conduct the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the pipeline in the Mon, not the FS, and FERC has demonstrated little regard for environmental impacts. In fact, two recent lawsuits against FERC for not sufficiently considering environmental impacts were decided against FERC. So, the more issues we can raise with FERC, the better. Public input counts. FERC has not begun the EIS, but all letters to FERC will be entered in the permanent record. If we want to make further comments later, we can send more letters. Here is a link to how to send comments to FERC: http://www.mareproject.org/how-to-submit-a-comment-to-ferc/
Talking points on the survey itself (see description of surveys under PROPOSED ACTION in the FS Scoping letter attached):
There is too much disturbance for the sensitive areas they are crossing.
Four surveys means four crews tramping around in the corridor.
They are going to clear a “line of site and a travel path for survey equipment.”
How wide is this ‘line of sight’ going to be?
This will fragment the forest.
What is this ‘equipment’ besides tripods for siting?
How will they transport it? Carry it? Or use some kind of transport device? Motorized?
How many ‘lines of sight’ will there be? (FS description says it would be for “a recording of GPS readings of the proposed centerline and other features along the route within 300 feet of the centerline.” This could result in a network of cleared strips.
They are not including surveys for the impacts to the quality of the scenery.
They can’t use vehicles “except to access the corridor using public and existing Forest Roads,” but what about parking?
The work will be done by contractors, and Dominion has a very bad record of overseeing contractors to make sure they abide by the law, so restrictions like only using hand tools and no motorized vehicles are likely to be violated.
Unless there are sufficient FS staff to provide constant monitoring, the surveys should not be allowed.
Since the surveys are for the construction of the pipeline, the impacts of the pipeline construction should be considered before allowing the disturbance of the surveys.
Talking points on constructing the pipeline (there is much duplication in these suggestions; the idea is to stimulate your own words regarding what seems most important to you):
I have grave concerns that the pipeline will cause serious permanent damage to the Mon Forest. The disruption and fragmentation that massive industrial scale construction will cause to this important reservoir of biodiversity is despicable.
What will campers, hikers, fishermen and other tourists think when they see that the protection of valuable headwater streams is being tossed aside so that the gas industry can reap bigger profits.
The most negative impacts of the pipeline are likely to be water quality because of heavy equipment on the steep slopes. I am concerned about the fact that the WV DEP would be responsible for regulation of water quality, for which they have a very poor record.
42 inch pipelines are the largest of the gas pipelines. Pipelines often leak and explode creating dangerous conditions for our residents.
Streams, creeks and rivers will be impacted by construction activities and our fresh water resources may be contaminated by leaks.
Trucks and heavy equipment would clog the roads and will contribute to increased diesel fuel pollution in the Forest.
A 125 food wide construction right of way and a 75 foot permanent easement cut through our forested mountains would scar the landscape and fragment natural animal pathways.
Dominion has never constructed a 42” pipeline, and there appears to be no precedent for a pipeline of this size across steep forested terrain like the Alleghenies. It would go straight up and down mountainsides which range from 3400 to 4700 feet in West Virginia. Some elevation changes from valley floor to mountain top would exceed 2000 feet.
The pipeline will cross numerous watersheds, rivers, streams, springs, wetlands and riparian areas. Stream crossing is one of the most significant impacts of pipeline construction. Small streams are diverted during construction. For many or most of the larger streams that would be crossed in mountainous terrain it’s likely that the pipeline crossing will be achieved through direct excavation and possibly blasting of the stream-bed.
Major streams to be crossed include:
Tygart Valley River
Shavers Fork of the Cheat
West Fork of Greenbrier
East Fork of Greenbrier
Plus numerous trout streams…name your favorite stream
The proposed pipeline would cross the Monongahela National Forest in areas where there are ongoing restoration projects for trout and red spruce, A 100-foot clear cut across the Alleghenies will divide and fragment forest and wildlife habitat for numerous threatened and endangered species and create favorable conditions for invasive species.
The currently proposed route will cross miles of some of the best remaining wild and undeveloped areas in the east. It will cross over a dozen steep forest-covered mountains at elevations of 3000 to more than 4000 feet. It will cross many of the highest quality rivers and trout streams in the region. And it will cross extensive areas of problematic karst terrain. The corridor they proposed contains some threatened and endangered species and habitat, particularly the red spruce restoration area, that the Forest Service is bound by law to protect.
This pipeline project, as currently planned, cannot be built without significant long-term environmental damage to this special region. Given the type of landscape involved, I do not believe that construction of this pipeline can go forward in compliance with state and federal water resource protection policies and regulations. Other alternatives need to be considered.
Monongahela National Forest is a prime recreational and scenic draw for visitors to West Virginia and residents of the state. A pipeline of this magnitude is a major industrial operation, which includes air, water, noise and light pollution and increased traffic and a permanent scarring of the landscape.
Fires and explosions due to gas pipelines are occurring with increasing frequency. See http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2012/1212/West-Virginia-gas-pipeline-explosion-just-a-drop-in-the-disaster-bucket
Additionally, more pipelines will make it possible to build more gas fired power plants, which will delay development of renewable energy and delay reduction in usage of fossil fuels.
To see project info from Dominion including maps: http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72BTUwMTAwgAykeaxRtBeY4WBv4eHmF-YT4GMHkidBvgAI6EdIeDXIvfdrAJuM3388jPTdUvyA2NMMgyUQQAyrgQmg!!/dl3/d3/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS9ZQnZ3LzZfS000MjZOMDcxT1RVODBJN0o2MTJQRDMwODQ!/?project=45864
Send copies to:
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin
Washington D.C. Office:
306 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
U.S. Senatort Shelley Moore Capito
Washington, DC 20510
Congressman David McKinley, R-WV 1st
412 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4172
Congressman Evan H. Jenkins, R-WV 3rd
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman-elect Alex Mooney, R-WV 2nd
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
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