The fate of a controversial pipeline is now in the hands of Virginia’s Water Control Board. The board heard final public comment on the Mountain Valley Pipeline Wednesday. If approved, it would carry natural gas through much of southwest Virginia.
Don Jones has already submitted comments online, attended public hearings, and talked directly to pipeline surveyors. Even still, he got up before before 4 a.m. Wednesday to make the drive from his home in southwest Virginia to Richmond.
“Took off work, the boss wasn’t too happy of it, but he let me go fortunately. At least I could voice an opinion,” Jones said. “Hopefully it went to ears that will hear.”
Jones was one of about 80 who spoke to members of Virginia’s Water Control Board. He sees them as the last line of defense for his family property.
“I’m generation seven and we settled there in the late 1700’s because there’s water,” Jones said. “So water is very important and we just take for granted that we turn the spicket on and have clean water.”
Jones is concerned the Mountain Valley Pipeline could change that. And he’s not alone. The board’s received more than 8,000 comments, most against the pipeline.
Delegate-Elect Chris Hurst spoke for his constituents in southwest Virginia who couldn’t make it to Richmond for the meeting. He asked the board to deny the water permit in order to gather more information.
“Overwhelmingly the comments were in opposition to the certification,” Hurst said to the board. “Don’t let the volume, the sheer magnitude of the volume, of comments not be taken into full account.
The Water Control Board is expected to vote by the end of the day Thursday.