correction: An earlier version of this letter incorrectly reported William Limpert’s residence. He lives in Warm Springs, Va. This version has been corrected.
Despite overwhelming evidence and public comments stating that the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines would repeatedly violate Virginia water-quality standards, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) may soon recommend that the Water Control Board approve water-quality certifications for them. This would be a rash and reckless decision that would jeopardize our rivers and streams and our drinking water.
Nowhere is our drinking water more threatened than in the extensive areas of karst, land underlain by limestone, that the pipelines would pass through. Most people in these areas use springs and wells as their only water source, with no public water available. Even public drinking water sources are vulnerable in karst areas. I presided over inspection, investigation and enforcement of pollution from a source three miles away from Walkersville, Md., where 5,000 people were deprived of town drinking water for three weeks. Virginia officials are exposing themselves to responsibility for the next water crisis if these pipelines are built.
Instead of DEQ fining pipeline companies for violations and pocketing the proceeds, it should match the amount and give it to the communities that suffer the consequences of water pollution. Furthermore, DEQ should guarantee clean drinking water for everyone within two miles of these pipelines in karst areas so that if their water is destroyed by pipeline construction or operation, DEQ will supply them with clean water and pay for the loss of property value from an artificial, and suspect, water system.
DEQ should put its money where its mouth is.
William Limpert, Warm Springs, Va.