Upshur supports pipeline permit

BUCKHANNON — Upshur County Commissioners agreed to write a letter of support for the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and General Pollution Control permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project to move forward.

Mike Cozad, community liaison for the ACP, said he has approached local organizations and groups asking for support. He noted this may be the last opportunity to show support for the 600-mile proposed project.

According to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection website, the pipeline construction stormwater permit is an additional environmental protection tool that surrounding states do not have. It was created five years ago to address pipeline construction activities that were otherwise exempt from regulations under the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

If the permit is approved, the pipeline construction stormwater permit would give WVDEP wide-ranging inspection and enforcement authority over the project. Among other regulatory enhancements, the pipeline construction stormwater permit provides WVDEP inspection and enforcement authority along the entire construction corridor, states the website.

A public hearing for the pipeline construction stormwater permit has been scheduled from 6-8 p.m. Monday at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. A second public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 21 at Pocahontas County High School.

“This particular hearing is a little more technical in nature than some of the others, but I think anything that you would want to put on public record a form of a letter of support or whatever would be greatly appreciated,” Cozad told commissioners.

Commissioners have until the end of the month to submit the letter, noted Cozad.

Commissioner Sam Nolte made the motion to write the letter of support, and Commissioner Troy A. Brady III seconded the motion.

The next county commission will be held at 9 a.m. Dec. 21 at the Upshur County Courthouse Annex. The regularly scheduled commission meeting on Dec. 28 has been canceled.