FERC Holds Scoping Meetings on New Pipeline Route

On Friday May 20th from 10:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC, held a public scoping meeting in Marlinton. They also held a similar meeting in Bath County, Virginia the following day. This report was done based specifically on the Marlinton meeting, however I was assured that the meeting in Bath County was conducted by the same FERC representatives and was very similar.

These particular scoping meetings are in addition to the scoping meetings held last year since these are specific to the proposed new alternate route of the pipeline through both Bath and Pocahontas Counties. I spoke to Kevin Bowman, an Environmental Specialist with FERC about the meetings. Bowman explains exactly what his job is in regard to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project.

“For this project I am serving as the FERC’s Project Manager” said Bowman. “So I am responsible for completing the FERC’s National Environmental Act Review for this project.”

I asked Bowman to explain how long FERC has been reviewing this project and why were these meetings being held now.

“I believe this project has been with FERC for about almost over a year now” said Bowman. “This project first came to FERC in the first pre-filing process before they filed a certificate application with the FERC. So it has been with us for some time now. Today is another public scoping meeting where we’re having an additional public comment period for landowners affected by a newly proposed route alternative for the project.”

Bowman explained the types of comments they have Been receiving at the meeting and elsewhere.

“Throughout the process we have heard a lot of different and unique comments particularly related to the geographical area and nature that this project is crossing” Bowman said. “At today’s meeting we have heard several comments about impacts over water supplies, springs and aquifers, karst terrain and also visual impacts. There are probably some of the comments I’ve heard reiterated from several people at today’s meeting.”

What has the attendance been at today’s meeting?

“I think we’ve got some good attendance at today’s meeting” said Bowman. “Today’s meeting is a little unusual or different from FERC’s previous meetings in that we’re in a much longer meeting from 10 to 7 today. And that’s almost a kind of experimental format, allowing for a little bit greater public input, allowing more flexibility for people to come and engage and provide comments. And also ask questins and engage with FERC’s Staff. I think I am pretty pleased with the amount of people who have come out today. I think we’re going to go back with a lot of good comments for us to look at and address.”

In part 2 of the FERC Scoping meetings story, I will ask Kevin Bowman some tougher questions about the alternate route, the need to build this pipeline at all and what influence will politics have over the final decision of FERC whether to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity which would allow Dominion to build this pipeline or not issue one.

Meanwhile, Bowman wants everyone know that FERC is accepting public comments until June 2nd, 2016 either electronically at www.ferc.gov under the “e-filing link” or by sending comments by mail to:

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426

Refer to Docket Numbers CP15-554-000 AND CP15-554-001. If you missed any of that you can find it on our website, www.alleghenymountainradio.org with this story.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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