NCDEQ officials hear from public about proposed pipeline in Rockingham County

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- Officials with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality hosted a public hearing Tuesday evening regarding the proposed Mountain Valley pipeline project.

The proposed natural gas pipeline extension would start in Virginia and end right near Graham.

Ahead of the meeting, more than a dozen environmental advocates and several landowners gathered to express concerns about the proposed extension and possible impacts.

"I'm constantly getting calls and letters for something I didn't ask to be a part of. I just want my land to be safe, I want everyone in Rockingham County, Alamance County and everywhere else to be safe and not to have to bear the bulk of the devastation that we're seeing behind this project,” Rockingham County resident Ramona Bankston said.

Advocates raised concerns about potential impacts to wetlands and watersheds.

“MVP Southgate, they’re using this permit to basically say they’re going to cause the least amount of impact as possible, they’re trying to mitigate all these different steps but the one way to really guarantee the safety of our water quality and recreation and tourism in this area is to prevent this permit outright,” said Ridge Graham, the N.C. field coordinator for Appalachian Voices.

During the hearing for a water quality certification from NCDEQ, a representative for MVP Southgate said there would be no permanent loss of wetlands from the proposed project and that the pipeline would not cross the Haw River.

He said they have been meeting with concerned landowners and others about the route. An environmental consultant from the company also said they have been working to make sure the route minimizes environmental impact while meeting the needs for natural gas.

MVP Southgate has said previously that the property will still be usable after they're through with construction. The pipe will be 24 inches in diameter, and crews will dig a five- to seven-foot trench, so the pipe will have three feet of ground cover.

Written public comment will be accepted to PublicComments@ncdenr.gov until Dec. 20. Officials ask that you list “MVP Southgate” in the email’s subject line.

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