Bay Journal

William H. Funk

PA approves one natural gas pipeline; VA agency questions another

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A controversial natural gas pipeline through a portion of Pennsylvania’s Bay watershed cleared a major hurdle last week, not long after another contentious pipeline proposed through Virginia drew expressions of concern from that state’s conservation agency.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued two permits on Wednesday to the builder of the...

In about-face, VA’s governor turns against offshore drilling

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe pulled an about-face Thursday on his previous support for offshore oil drilling, saying that he now wants the Atlantic Ocean waters off his state excluded from an upcoming federal leasing program.

Citing primarily economic but also environmental concerns, McAuliffe said that with the Trump administration’s “reckless actions” regarding oil...

Into the woods: Diversity of Tizzle Flats casts its spell on hikers

High on the ridge of Virginia’s Shenandoah Mountain, I hunkered down to examine some toadstools when my eyes caught a series of regular hatch marks etched into the tree trunk just above me — the kind of marks made by large, chiseled claws, leaving rags of torn bark hanging down at about chest level.

I called back my hiking buddies, who were tramping on down the trail ahead, and...

Virginia city’s share of $50 million cleanup deal still in doubt

A federal judge has approved a deal requiring the chemical company DuPont to pay $50 million for decades of mercury pollution of Virginia’s South River, finalizing the largest natural resources settlement in state history.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Urbanski did not specify how much, if any, of the $42.1 million earmarked in the settlement for restoration...

Opposition grows to seismic testing for offshore oil reserves

Scientists are worried that an executive order issued by President Trump earlier this year that seeks to open large portions of the mid-Atlantic and other coastal areas to oil and gas exploration would harm the endangered North Atlantic right whale and other species that occasionally visit the Chesapeake Bay.

Trump’s order, issued April 28, would reverse a 2016 policy from the...

One pipeline through VA clears hurdles; another in PA gets fined for violations

A natural gas pipeline proposed to cross Virginia cleared two more regulatory hurdles last week, while Pennsylvania regulators announced a crackdown on multiple pollution violations that have occurred in the construction of another pipeline across that state.

Federal energy regulators gave a generally positive environmental assessment of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline,...

VA city’s artificial wetland the real deal in slowing stormwater pollution

Historically, cities and towns relegated stormwater treatment to the unseen places: The backs of buildings, the edges of town. A pond that held runoff containing the detritus of urban life — water mixed with heavy metals and fertilizer, motor oil and animal waste — was not the prettiest town amenity.

But Waynesboro, VA is bringing stormwater treatment to the...

VA city most affected by mercury pollution feels slighted in settlement

Last December, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced a $50 million settlement between the state, federal officials and DuPont to fix decades of mercury contamination in two rivers caused by the giant chemical corporation’s former factory in Waynesboro.

But six months later, some city officials and residents say they feel Waynesboro is in danger of getting short shrift in the...

Critics say pipeline would excavate 38 miles of ridgetops

Environmental groups opposed to the construction of a natural gas pipeline across Virginia and West Virginia have raised a new concern, charging that the project will require the excavation of 38 miles of ridgetops through the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, leading to severe erosion, runoff pollution and habitat loss.

Drawing on information gleaned from the Draft...

Algae blooms sprout lawsuit over polluted Virginia river

Four conservation groups have filed suit accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of failing to address pollution from agricultural runoff afflicting the Shenandoah River. The groups contend that the EPA is letting Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality classify the river as “unimpaired,” which they say is a violation of the Clean Water Act.

In a complaint filed May...

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About William H. Funk

William H. (Bill) Funk is a freelance environmental journalist whose work for the Bay Journal centers on wildlife, forestry, rivers, farming and other land use issues in the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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