Forest Service Closes Jefferson National Forest for MVP, VDHR Comments on Treatment Plans

Mountain Valley Pipeline filed Supplemental/Additional Information documents with FERC March 9. Though the documents were filed at 4:36pm EST March 9, they were not available on FERC’s eLibrary service until March 12. Included in the filing was the following:

Closure Notice for portions of the Jefferson National Forest

Joby Timm, Forest Supervisor for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, signed a closure order March 7 affecting certain parts of the national forests in close proximity to the MVP construction zone.

The order prohibits access to the forest 200 feet on both sides of the centerline of the pipeline right-of-way, as well as all of Mystery Ridge Road and a portion of Pocahontas Road between the first Forest Service gate and the intersection with Mystery Ridge Road.

The order notes the footpath of the Appalachian Trail and the Brush Mountain East Road as exceptions to the restriction. Additionally, the order does not apply to federal, state, or local law enforcement officers, members of an organized rescue or firefighting force engaged in the performance of an official duty, and persons working under a permit, contract, or agreement issued by the federal, state, or local regulatory entity which specifically authorizes activity within the area and roads noted in the order.

The order is said to have been issued “for the protection of public health and safety,” and violations of the order is punishable by a find of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

Request for Permission regarding Cultural Resources, Letters from VA Department of Historic Resources

MVP requested permission to implement treatment plans for the following cultural resources:

  1. Northern route at 44FR370
  2. Big Stony Creek Historic District
  3. Bent Mountain Rural Historic District, Bent Mountain Apple Orchard Rural Historic District, and Coles-Terry Rural Historic District

MVP also attached two letters from Roger Kirchen, Director of the Review and Compliance Division for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR). The letters indicate that the treatment plans for the aforementioned districts are “reasonable in scale, proportionate to the effect, and takes into consideration previous comments from DHR, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and other consulting parties.” This letter comes despite numerous letters submitted to FERC by consulting parties indicating the contrary.

>> MVP Supplemental Materials Filed 3/9/18

In addition, MVP filed Supplemental Information March 12 in which the company requested permission to implement treatment plans for the Greater Newport Rural Historic District. Attached was another letter from Kirchen — eerily similar to the letters filed March 9 — with the addition of a statement noting that “extensive comments on the Treatment Plan have been provided to MVP and the FERC from consulting parties and other stakeholders” and reminding “FERC of its responsibility under the PA to meaningfully consider all comments from consulting parties prior to approving any final Treatment Plan.”

>> MVP Cultural Resources Request for Permission Filed 3/12/18


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