Breaking Good News!  
FERC Regulators Deadlock over MVP Stream Crossings

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - The Mountain Valley Pipeline is dealing with what opponents of the project say is another serious setback.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission deadlocked 2-2 Tuesday on the project's request to bore under streams and wetlands along the pipeline's first 77 miles in West Virginia, the Roanoke Times reported. The tied vote meant the matter was left unresolved.

Natalie Cox, a spokeswoman for the joint venture of five energy companies building the pipeline, said FERC could revisit the stream-crossing issue. The developers still plan to have the $6 billion project completed by the end of the year, Cox told the newspaper.

But Gillian Giannetti, a staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the development was a significant setback."MVP is in a holding pattern, and there's no clear end in sight," she said.

The project is designed to carry natural gas across about 300 miles of West Virginia and Virginia. A separate expansion project called MVP Southgate has been proposed to run from Virginia into North Carolina.




 
 
Biden sworn in as President.  Andrew Harnik AP

From Keystone XL to Paris Agreement, Joe Biden signals a shift away from fossil fuels
By Matt Egan, CNN Business

America's energy policy is getting an extreme makeover.

President Joe Biden is wasting no time undoing the Trump administration's efforts to prop up fossil fuels and deny the existence of a climate crisis.

On his first day in the White House, Biden plans to take a series of executive actions that put an exclamation point on his commitment to address climate change.  Biden expects to immediately rejoin the Paris Agreement, revoke a permit that former President Donald Trump granted to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and place a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic.

For full story, click HERE 




Environmental groups set goals for legislative session
 
CHARLESTON, W.Va.
The regular legislative session is not set to start until Feb. 10, but two environmental organizations have already set their goals for what they want legislators to accomplish during the 60-day period.

Angie Rosser, the executive director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Linda Frame, the president of the West Virginia Environmental Council, will be among the advocates who will have their eyes on the legislators. Both appeared recently on "MetroNews Talkline" to discuss their groups' priorities for the session.

Rosser said the top issue is clean water access.
"We've had our fair share of drinking water challenges," she noted. "I think that's still on the top of people's minds with the water crisis in Charleston and other places in West Virginia, and the devastating impact that can happen not just from a health perspective and an environmental perspective, but from an economic one as well."

Rosser said the Legislature will have to debate water quality rules this year; Rosser said lawmakers should upgrade the standards to ensure protection from carcinogens and pollutants. "Some of these standards haven't been updated in more than three decades," she said. "It's past time to strengthen them."

Frame said her group is focused on educating lawmakers about the environmental issues in the state. She said this session presents a challenge due to a wave of new members in both chambers, but she is prepared to build alliances.

"We're facing a much different Legislature this session, and there's going to be a lot of fresh new members," she said. "The Environmental Council is going to do what it does every session, and that is to provide education and outreach to those new members as well as the folks who are coming back for the upcoming session." Frame noted water quality is also one of the West Virginia Environmental Council's top items.

The regular legislative session will end on April 10.





D.C. Circuit Strikes Down Trump Administration Repeal and Replacement of the Clean Power Plan

(Washington, D.C. - January 19, 2021) On the last day of Donald Trump's presidency, the second highest court in the land has struck down one of the most damaging anti-environmental actions of his administration.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today vacated the Trump EPA's repeal and "replacement" of the Clean Power Plan - the historic Obama-era standards that set the first-ever limits for climate change pollution from existing power plants.
 
"Today's decision is the perfect Inauguration Day present for America. It confirms that the Trump administration's dubious attempt to get rid of commonsense limits on climate pollution from power plants was illegal, it reaffirms that the Clean Air Act and the Endangerment Finding are the law of the land, and it restores the vibrancy of the rule of law," said EDF Senior Attorney Ben Levitan. "Now we can turn to the critically important work of protecting Americans from climate change and creating new clean energy jobs."
 
The Clean Power Plan
established our only nationwide limits on carbon pollution from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants - one of the United States' largest sources of the pollution that causes climate change. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler scrapped the Clean Power Plan in 2019 and issued in its place the misleadingly named Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which established no meaningful limits on carbon pollution and would have actually increased pollution at nearly one in five of the nation's coal-fired plants. 
 
EDF was part of a broad coalition of 14 health and environmental groups, 23 states and eight cities, nine power companies, and three clean energy associations that filed suit shortly after the ACE rule was finalized last year.

Today, the D.C. Circuit issued a decision forcefully upholding that the EPA must regulate greenhouse gases as specified in the Endangerment Finding, and saying:
"The question in this case is whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acted lawfully in adopting the 2019 Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE Rule) as a means of regulating power plants' emissions of greenhouse gases. It did not. Although the EPA has the legal authority to adopt rules regulating those emissions, the central operative terms of the ACE Rule and the repeal of its predecessor rule, the Clean Power Plan, hinged on a fundamental misconstruction of Section 7411(d) of the Clean Air Act. In addition, the ACE Rule's amendment of the regulatory framework to slow the process for reduction of emissions is arbitrary and capricious." (Decision, page 16)

The decision sends the rulemaking back to EPA so that the Biden-Harris Administration "may consider the question afresh" and issue new protections. (Decision, page 147).
 
Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) 





Greenbrier River Watershed Association Receives Grant for Green Floater Mussel Project
January 20, 2021

The Greenbrier River Watershed Association (GRWA) is happy to announce the receipt of a $700 grant from the Pyles & Turner Foundation, Inc. to help assist the National Fish Hatchery in White Sulphur Springs (WSSNFH) with plans to produce juveniles of Green Floater mussels for stocking back into the Greenbrier. This will increase the populations of this species and assist in its recovery. The Greenbrier River Watershed Association and WSSNFH plan to conduct an outreach event at the time of release. It also plans to monitor the survival and growth of a subset of the individuals released. The GRWA sees this project as a great opportunity to both directly improve the watershed itself and increase public interest in freshwater mussel conservation.

West Virginia has over 60 native freshwater mussel species and their biodiversity is important to the overall health of the Greenbrier watershed. Mussels filter out pollutants and toxins improving water quality. This creates cleaner drinking water and a more suitable habitat for native flora and fauna.

The Green Floater (Lasmigona subviridis) is a species of freshwater mussel currently considered imperiled and under review for listing on the Endangered Species Act. The Greenbrier River and its tributaries contain one of the best populations of this mussel in West Virginia. This species is also particularly suitable for propagation, because it doesn't rely on a fish host for reproduction. This makes it cheaper and easier to grow in a hatchery setting.

Producing juvenile Green Floater mussels to stock in the Greenbrier will provide broad improvements in the river's ecosystem. More mussels will increase the filtration capacity creating cleaner water by removing pollutants. Cleaner water facilitates a wider diversity of all life in the watershed for the public to enjoy. This means better birding, fishing, and a more attractive area for river recreation.

For full press release, click HERE


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

The Greenbrier River Watershed Association is going to contract with a new coordinator. If you are interested in working about ten hours a week on projects with a goal of educating the public about our issues, please let us know and we will forward you the job description.   
 
 
 
WV Flood Tool
 
 
 
Mountain Valley Watch
urges landowners and volunteers to report the start of any and all construction activity on the pipeline route including additional temporary work spaces, access roads and trenching. Report commencement of construction at:

To contact Mountain Valley Watch, call or text (540) 251-2169 or email
mountainvalleywatch@gmail.com
 
Please describe the nature of the work and the type of equipment being used and any possible violations such as missing erosion controls, refueling near waterways, driving through wetlands or operating outside of assigned right of way. Time stamped photos with location data can be sent to Jason@newrivergeographics.com. Please do not use the Facebook page for incident reporting as we do not monitor that page for messages throughout the day. Feel free to reply directly with questions.

Construction contractors may be attempting to shield themselves from public scrutiny. Reporting new construction activity will help us respond effectively and keep contractor activity in public view. Thank you.
 
WVDEP Launches Webpage Dedicated to 
Helping Citizens Learn About Pipeline Projects
 
Detailed maps, transcripts, permit information available on single webpage
   
 
For more WVDEP news and information, go to www.dep.wv.gov. Also, connect with the agency on all social media platforms. Follow @DEPWV on Twitter, Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/depwv/, and find us on YouTube by searching "Environment Matters."
 

CSI VOLUNTEER OPTIONS  

Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition

http://pipelineupdate.org/csi-volunteer/