Pipeline evaluation a multistep process
Natural gas pipelines are generating a lot of questions. The topic of natural gas pipeline proposals has been prominent in our area for the last month. Dominion Resources has identified a conceptual multiple state route for a new natural gas pipeline through our portion of the Alleghanies. Does the Forest Service support or oppose Dominions plans? At this point, the answer is neither. When a formal proposal with specific route locations is submitted, we will begin our process of evaluating the project. Guiding our evaluation will be a number of laws, policies, and regulations, and we will work with other government agencies as appropriate. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is the lead agency for environmental analysis done for pipelines crossing multiple states and that the Forest Service would then be a cooperating agency. Any proposed activity must be consistent with the Forest Service’s Land and Resource Management Plan and an analysis must be consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act. The environmental analysis process would address concerns and issues with survey activities, pipeline construction, and long term maintenance of the facility. The environmental analysis covers natural, cultural and social impacts to the national forest. As always, public involvement would be a big part of the analysis.
Kids Fishing Day 2014 took place on Sunday, June 8 at the Dominion Power ponds in Bath County. The event was free to the public and featured environmental education and fishing instruction. Equipment, bait, prizes, and lunch were provided. Approximately 80 children participated in the event which was brought to you by the Warm Springs and James River Ranger Districts and the Hot Springs Volunteer Fire Department, as well as the generous support of area businesses.
Employees on the Warm Springs and James River Districts are in the woods performing field work that includes; timber sale marking and cruising, prescribed fire monitoring, recreation maintenance, trail maintenance, breeding bird surveys, endangered species surveys and archaeological site evaluations.
The June through September wild land fire forecasts are out and they show normal to below normal occurrence of wildfires for our area in Virginia and West Virginia. The greatest threat of severe fire occurrence is located in California, Oregon, and western Nevada. Normal conditions are forecast for the remainder of the west, which still means a lot of wildfire. Currently, national figures for the number of fires and acres burned for this time of year are well below the ten year average.