Protect the Greenbrier River

Land Owner Rights Threatened

Public Forum with new WV DEP Secretary Austin Caperton
The Mon Group of the WV Sierra Club and the WVU Sierra Student Coalition are co-hosting a public forum with the new WV DEP Secretary, Austin Caperton, at the WVU Mountainlair in Morgantown on  Monday, February 27 at 7pm . See event details below.
Public Forum with WV Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Austin Caperton  
Monday, February 27, 7pm
Shenandoah Room at the Mountainlair
WVU Downtown Campus
1550 University Ave, Morgantown WV 26506

A public forum featuring newly appointed WV DEP Secretary Austin Caperton will take place on  Monday, February 27th , at  7pm  in the Mountainlair's Shenandoah Room on WVU's downtown campus. The event is co-hosted by the WVU Sierra Student Coalition and the Mon Group of the WV Sierra Club. Secretary Caperton will discuss his plans and vision for the WV Department of Environmental Protection under his leadership. The Secretary's remarks will be followed by a Q&A session with the audience. The public is encouraged to attend.
Questions? Contact Mon Group Chair Autumn Long   or WVU Sierra Student Coalition,

Bills to Watch
Although we are just a week and a half in, it has already been a busy session at the legislature.
Forced Pooling
Several bills related to forced pooling have been introduced this session, often re-branded as "joint development". Despite shifting language,   SB 244   still allows a unit to be pooled and drilled if the majority of the mineral-holders agree, forcing minority stakeholders into the "pool". If you had any doubt about who this bill benefits, SB 244 would modernize older leases to allow for pooling, but makes no effort to help landowners raise the low royalty rates on older leases up to more generous modern standards.  
Carrying on from his State of the State, Governor Justice reiterated his support for "lease integration," another fancy way of saying forced polling. Yesterday, he told a room full of oil and gas industry representatives,   "I cannot understand why in the world we can't get that through."
Two bills in opposition to forced pooling have been advanced in the House.   HB 2131   is a flat ban on any pooling mechanism, while   HB 2158   requires the consent of all mineral owners to establish a pooling agreement rather than a simple majority, protecting minority shareholders.  
Campaign Finance Reform
In better news, campaign finance reform bills are currently advancing in both Houses.   SB 8   and   HB 2319   make specific restrictions on donations received during the legislative session, while   SB 64   looks at modernizing donation disclosures more broadly, altering existing laws to reflect the rise of Political Action Committees (PACs) and other fundraising entities.  
Water Quality
The newly introduced SB 246 weakens water protections and would allow for more harmful toxins in our waterways. While current permits are set using low stream flow,   SB 246   would switch to average flow, allowing an increase in total emissions for many facilities. This bill also gives the DEP Secretary more latitude in defining mixing zones, raising the possibility of toxic discharges located closer together and closer to drinking water intakes. Undercutting water quality further, it blocks opportunities for key water plants to be enforced via permits. Finally, SB 246 bucks precedent by allowing permittees access to permit information before the public, adding a dash of procedural unfairness to the toxic mix.  
Other Natural Gas Issues
SB 245   allows pipeline companies to "enter upon any property without the written permission of its owner" to conduct surveying, treading on the rights of private property owners. In another potential victory for industry,   SB 43   would restrict the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's ability to create commonsense regulations on the spacing of deep wells.  

Contact your WV Representatives today!!

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Eight Rivers Council Update for Mid-February 2017

1. A well-attended and participatory community meeting on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was held at Linwood Community Library at 7 pm on Tuesday February 7. Sponsored by Eight Rivers Council, Greenbrier River Watershed Association, and West Virginia Rivers. Please read the accompanying attached report for details.

2. Property owners along the ACP route should be encouraged to hold tight and not deal with Dominion Land people to sell easements. This is the advice of Appalachian Mountain Advocates, a legal firm that will represent pro bono landowners. 

3. We need to look closely at the land and water along and nearby the proposed ACP route.  This includes streams, karst, caves, steep slopes susceptible to erosion, cemeteries, historical places, and water sources. These places were often commented upon to FERC yet were ignored or inadequately addressed in the DEIS.  Very important that these site-specific areas are commented on in the DEIS before April 6. Help is available. Email environmental scientist Autumn Crowe or Alyssa Richmond for guidance.  or  Appalachian Mountain Advocates will respond to legal questions and can guide your DEIS response. 
The DEIS document itself is over 2300 pages, so asking for help is understandable! But do not feel intimidated. Your comments are important!!!

4. FERC will hold public meetings in Elkins at the Gandy Dance Theater March 1 and in Marlinton at the Wellness Center March 2. FERC will take oral comments privately. We suggest that people also write out the comments they submit and share broadly. We would like to have volunteers outside the venues to leaflet and encourage and assist people in their making oral presentations.

5. Calling on Letters to the Editor of the Pocahontas Times every week on various topics related to the ACP.  Topics could include personal stories on how the ACP would impact your business, quality of life, or property value; the hazard of living in a Blast Zone (incineration and evacuation areas); negative economic impacts on our communities; the unfairness of eminent domain for private gain; the fact that FERC has not established "need" for these pipelines since there is already sufficient supply and infrastructure projected for the future; how there would be no permanent jobs or gas; and the effect of pipelines on pollution, methane leakage, and on increasing fracking. 

6. Some modest funds have been committed to yard signs, banners, and advertising. These should be available soon.  Liz Kammeyer is developing a dedicated Facebook page for posting your video interviews, photos, and FERC responses, stories, and information.

7. Keep abreast with news by subscribing to weekly ABRA reports or archived at their website.  Eight Rivers Council archives the reports, too.  Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition has excellent mapping and other information. Greenbrier River Watershed Association and West Virginia Rivers Coalition are among many fine groups working against the ACP. 

8. On Friday February 10, Senator Blair introduced into the West Virginia Legislature SB 245, a bill favored by the gas & oil industry to allow pipeline surveyors onto private land in lieu of eminent domain. If passed, this bill would over-ride Judge Iron's ruling that private property owners can forbid surveyors. This assault on eminent domain must be resisted (as it was successfully last year). Contact legislators to demand that this assault on our constitutional rights be denied.

9. Do not despair!  There are thousands of committed people across our multi-state region who are digging in to win this battle against the ACP. As patriots defending our neighborhoods and communities, we represent our children's future and our nation's promise.

Thank you for clean water, beautiful scenery, healthy ecosystem, property protection, and responsive government. We are strong when we stand together!
--Allen Johnson
Eight Rivers Council

Atlantic Coast Pipeline
Action to Support our National Forest

 We need your help to protect one of the wildest, most intact forests in the East.
Dominion's proposed 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline would cross 21 miles of the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests. Ask the Forest Service to reject Dominion's efforts to shortcut the process for pipeline approval and Forest Plan amendment.
Before the ACP can be built across the national forests, the US Forest Service must (1) issue Special Use Permits and (2) amend forest management plans. To make these decisions, the Forest Service must review the impacts of the project according to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and its own procedures. The Forest Service has consistently shown its commitment to a careful and thorough analysis of these types of projects, requiring applicants to provide complete and high quality information and making decisions based on its own timelines.
For the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Forest Service depends, in a significant way, on the work of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is in charge of preparing an environmental impact statement. But on December 30, 2016 FERC published an incomplete and inaccurate Draft EIS that fails to address many Forest Service and public concerns. Most importantly, FERC improperly allows an applicant to defer submitting critical information until after a Certificate is issued or construction is underway, so the Forest Service won't have the information needed to make its decisions.
On December 13, 2016 the Forest Service wrote to FERC describing its own procedural requirements for reviewing the ACP application, including a timeline that is longer than FERC's schedule for project permitting. The Forest Service stated that, prior to making decisions on the project, all requested and needed data and plans must have been submitted and disclosed to the public. Local communities that will be affected by the pipeline strongly support the Forest Service's commitment to its regulatory review process.
It is critical that the Forest Service stay committed to the process and professional standards it upholds as stewards of our public lands. The Forest Service must take the time that it needs and the law provides to meet these standards.
We believe that Dominion is extremely concerned about potential delays and Forest Service conditions. Dominion has repeatedly requested "expedited" review of this complex project which has so much potential to negatively impact both public and private lands.
We are asking you to voice your support for the U. S. Forest Service's commitment to its requirements for a careful, thorough review of the pipeline application.
Send statements of support to Forest Service Chief, Thomas Tidwell,, and Regional Foresters, Kathleen Atkinson,, and Tony Tooke,
Copies should also be submitted to FERC (to be included in the administrative record). Submissions can be made through The docket number is CP15-554. Click on Documents and Filings and use the eComment feature. Or send by mail to: Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary, FERC, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline
Action to Support our National Forests Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance

Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance

Date: February 23, 2017

Time: 6pm

Where: West Virginia Weslyan College Performing Arts Center, Greek Room

Date: March 1, 2017

Time: 5-9pm

Where: Grandy Dance Theater 359 Beverly Pike, Elkins, West Virginia 26241

Date: March 2, 2017

Time: 5-9pm

Where: Marlinton Community Wellness Center 320 9th Street, Marlinton, WV. 24954

ALSO...Direct Action Training

Date:  February 25, 2017

Time:  9am-5pm

Where:  Pearisburg Community Center(Giles County) 
1410 Wenonah Avenue, Pearisburg, Virginia

Learn the types and methods of Direct Action.  

Mountain Valley Pipeline Public Hearing Information

Mountain Valley Pipeline Public Hearing Notice

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection - Division of Water and Waste Management will hold public hearings regarding the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline project for State 401 Water Quality Certification, Natural Streams Preservation Act Permit, and for Oil and Gas General Water Pollution Control Permit. Oral and written comments will be accepted at each hearing. The hearings will start at 6:00PM at the following locations: 

For Natural Streams Preservation Act Permit, State 401 Water Quality Certification, and Oil and Gas General Water Pollution Control Permit: 

* Summers County at Summers Memorial Building (451 1st Ave in Hinton) on Tuesday March 7, 2017. 

For State 401 Water Quality Certification and Oil and Gas General Water Pollution Control Permit: 

* Webster County at Webster County High School auditorium on Monday March 6, 2017.

* Harrison County at Robert C. Byrd High School Large Group Instruction Room on Thursday March 9, 2017.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline project is comprised of approximately 195 miles of natural gas pipeline along with compressor stations, meter stations, access roads, and interconnects through: Wetzel, Harrison, Doddridge, Lewis, Braxton, Webster, Nicholas, Greenbrier, Fayette, Summers, and Monroe Counties in West Virginia. The associated Oil & Gas Construction Stormwater General Permit (WVR310667) would be for the discharge of stormwater associated with the disturbance of 4,214 acres of land for the of construction of this project. The Natural Streams Preservation Act permit (NSP-17-0001) being sought is for a proposed crossing of Greenbrier River in Summers County near Pence Springs. The State 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC-16-0005) would be for activities that will or may discharge fill into waters of the State. Mountain Valley Pipeline project is proposing to mitigate for the streams and wetlands permanently impacted by this project. 

Any interested person may submit written comments on the Oil & Gas Construction Stormwater General Permit, the Natural Streams Preservation Act Permit, and/or the State 401 Water Quality Certification by addressing such to the Director of the Division of Water and Waste Management during the comment period, which begins with this notice and ends on March 19, 2017 at 8PM. Comments or requests should be emailed to or by mail addressed to:

Director, Division of Water and Management, DEP 
ATTN: Sharon Mullins, Permitting Section 
601 57th Street SE 
Charleston, WV 25304-2345 

Applicant Type Permit ID
Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC Oil & Gas Construction Stormwater General Permit WVR310667 
Mountain Valley Pipeline, INC. State 401 Water Quality Certification WQC-16-0005 
Mountain Valley Pipeline, INC. Natural Streams Preservation Act Permit NSP-17-0001 


See the following links on the MVP site [] for info related to MVP's January 13 "letter" and table about route changes.

Topo maps of route changes: There is a large 64-page (>30 MBs) file on the MVP site's News & Info page under their 10/13/16 filings, which shows the original application route together with the proposed October 2016 revisions. 

The blue line shows the original route and milepost #s; the red is the October 2016 revised route and milepost #s.

Parcel maps: On the Maps page, they have what should be the latest parcel maps, by county, to go with their Oct 2016 route modifications.

WV Legislative Session: Defending Water Quality

The 2017 West Virginia legislative session began yesterday, February 8, and we know it will be a tough one. We anticipate an onslaught of attempts to eliminate or weaken current laws that protect our water. 

In his first State of the State address, Governor Justice reinforced this belief when he singled out the WV DEP saying, "They're not there to tell us 'no', referring to his vision of the agency's role in making West Virginia more friendly for industry. 

We need you working along side of us to defend our water!

Starting next week, we'll be sending weekly Water Policy Updates to help you stay informed and take action when your voice can make a difference. Sign up here.

Here's what we need your help on:

  • Water Quality Standards: while we successfully made our voices heard last fall on bad revisions to WV's water quality standards, we need to be ready to defend against attempts to allow increased water pollution during the legislative session. 
  • Category A Drinking Water Protection: Category A protects our waters so they can safely be used as drinking water sources. We know industry wants to remove Category A protection from the vast majority of West Virginia's waterways.
  • Protecting Private Land: issues over eminent domain and private property will likely be on the agenda, including a bill that was defeated last legislative session which would have allowed gas company surveyors onto private property without permission.
  • Rollbacks to the Aboveground Storage Tank Act (ASTA): passed after the 2014 Elk River chemical leak, ASTA regulates certain aboveground storage tanks, like the Freedom Industries tank that caused the water crisis. Since the passage of the Act, the oil and gas industry has lobbied for an industry-wide exemption. We must be ready for a repeat attempt.
Article from WV Rivers Coalition

State Representatives Vote to Repeal Streams Protection Rule

 In an effort to restrict the EPA's power, West Virginia representatives voted to repeal the Streams Protection Rule last week.
The rule - signed into action in December 2016 - came from the U.S. Department of the Interior. The agency said the rule instated regulations to prevent and minimize the impacts coal mining has on water.
"(The rule) will protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests over the next two decades, preserving community health and economic opportunities while meeting the nation's energy needs," the agency said in a statement.
While the regulations were updated, the rule itself was not a new concept. The Stream Protection Rule updated a 33-year-old set of regulations. The agency claims the rule would have made life better for citizens living in the shadow of mines.
The effort to repeal the act was supported by West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who was the the lead co-sponsor for the official disapproval and overturn of the the stream protection rule.
"The Stream Protection Rule is the latest in a series of overreaching and misguided Obama-era regulations that have targeted America's coal industry," Capito said.  "If this rule was allowed to stay in place, it would add to the economic devastation for people in coal communities."
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced the repeal of the rule. He said the rule was a crippling overreach of power by the previous administration. Manchin said he continues to be committed to protecting coal mining communities and economies.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey holds a similar view. He said the state has the primacy of regulations of waterways.
"The government was reaching into areas traditionally left up to the state," Morrisey said.  "It would have reduced or eliminated mining in large parts of the state."
Although Morrisey wants to ensure water is the highest quality,  he said economic forces must be considered.
"We can't accept regulations to eliminate mining," he said.
Local law makers also supported the senate's decision. Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said the rule placed an unnecessary burden on West Virginia.
"The EPA in the last five to 10 years has had too much overreach," Blair said.  "I 100 percent support the senate's decision to repeal the rule."
Sen. Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, believed nothing in the regulation would make West Virginia's water safer.
"Frankly, I believe this rule was simply one final attempt by the previous administration to kill an industry it doesn't support," Espinosa said.  "I applaud our congressional delegation and President Trump for ending this federal overreach that has had such a devastating impact on our state's economy."
Although West Virginia lawmakers said the rule would have stunted the state economy, Angie Rosser of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition said repealing the rule will leave communities living near mines in a lurch without adequate protections.
"It's concerning the protection was repealed," Rosser said.  "Especially for people living next to mining operations."
Rosser called the rationale for appeal simplistic.
"The long-term costs of failing to provide protection will be more devastating than protecting the health of our streams and the health of people who depend on the water," Rosser said.
According to Rosser, there are a multitude of factors pushing West Virginia to transition from coal to other ways of energy production.
"In addition, I've seen no data to back up claims of job loss as a direct result of the stream protection rule alone," Rosser said.  "The repeal was brought about by short sited leaders. We should protect water as our most valuable resource."
Although Rosser believes the repeal will have a negative trickle down effect for West Virginians, state representatives believe the repeal of the rule will boost the economy.
Article from The Journal at

Support Clean Water in Your Community at No Cost to

If you shop at Kroger stores and you support clean water, you can help Greenbrier River Watershed Association at no cost to you.  Kroger has a program called Community Rewards that donates to non-profitorganizations 5% of your purchase amount!  This does not affect the fuel points that you earn on your Kroger card or cost you anything extra.
To do this, sign up for a Kroger Plus card and then sign up for the Community Rewards program, naming Greenbrier River Watershed Association as the organization you want contributions to go to.  This must be renewed once a year for Kroger to continue making these contributions.
To sign up:      (If you already have a Kroger card, go to step 2.)
1)  Get a Kroger Plus card, either, a) by going to a Kroger store and asking for one at the customer service desk, or
b) Go to and click on "Register" and fill out the information and click "Create Account."  Next, add a Plus Card by clicking on "Get a Digital Plus Card online today," fill in your name, and enter your ten-digit phone number where it says "Alt ID", and click "Save."
2)  If you already have Kroger Plus card, but have not created an account on-line, go to and click "Register" and enter your existing Kroger card number, the number below the bar code on your card.  Click "Save."
3)  After you click on "Save" in one of the above, an "Account Summary" screen will come up.  At the bottom of that screen is "Community Rewards."  Click "Enroll" and fill out the required information there, click "Save", and it takes you to a new page, where you enter83802,  the number of Greenbrier River Watershed Association, then click "Search" and click on button in front of Greenbrier River Watershed Association, then click "Enroll." You're done!
Thank you for your support of Greenbrier River Watershed Association!

vxczWhere to find news

As always, great information is at and these two great groups now have Facebook pages, Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance and Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition. There is a Facebook Page (at least one) for the Dakota Access Pipeline fight -- Sacred Stone Camp. The GRWA has been upgrading our website come visit us there.

If you appreciate the work we are doing, please consider a donation today.