Highlanders For Responsible Development Oppose National Forest Surveys

On the heels of Dominion Resources announcement that they intend to survey for an alternative to their preferred route for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Highlanders For Responsible Development has issued their own press release on comments they submitted to the National Forest Service regarding surveying for the ACP and another similar project.  The ACP project would cross the Monongahela National Forest, while the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a proposed 300 mile project beginning in northwestern West Virginia and running to southern Virginia, would cross the Jefferson National Forest. HRD called for the Forest Service to “reject at this time” pending applications to survey forest lands for these routes.

In his letter to Monongahela Forest Supervisor Clyde Thompson, HRD president Lewis Freeman pointed out problems with Dominion’s application which he felt were serious enough to warrant rejection. He noted that while the application indicated that no alternative routes had been identified, the company’s late 2014 filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stated that it had studied an alternative route, but had rejected it for reasons unknown. It was also pointed out that while Dominion stated there was no feasible alternative to routing through the Monongahela, 2 separate projects, including the MVP, which would begin and end in similar areas, avoided the Monongahela, instead crossing the Jefferson forest, which would be less disruptive to forest lands. The ACP crosses the George Washington National Forest as well.

The press release also touched on  the relative differences in the application submissions on the two projects. Though it was not pointed out in the letter to the MNF overseers, the application given to them was 12 pages in length, and in HRD’s opinion, did not answer key required questions. By comparison, the application made to survey the Jefferson National Forest for the MVP, done by joint venture owners EQT Corporation and NextEra Energy was 190 pages long, and provided substantive answers to the questions posed.

The letters to both forest managers urged that the applications to survey all three forests be considered in conjunction with one another “so that the potential impact on the National Forest system can be properly assessed. The overall integrity of the National Forest system is too vital to the nation to consider such monumental projects in a patchwork quilt fashion.”

For a full copy of the press release, as well as the letters, visit the transcript of this story at alleghenymountainradio.org.

HRD Press release on comments to MNF and JNF – 2-17-16

HRD Comments on ACP Surveying in MNF – 2-13-15

HRD comments on MVP surveying in JNF – 2-13-15

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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