Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Based upon sketchy MVP data and following many years of much higher unknown construction sediment levels, MVP construction will increase Roanoke River’s long-term bacteria-carrying sediment by approximately 1000 tons yearly forever. Over 20 years, Roanoke’s MVP stormwater cleanup will minimally be $36 million additional. Salem faces comparable stormwater increases for unfair, externalized costs created by the totally unneeded MVP that no region or city should ever have to bear.

Western Virginia Water Authority’s MVP “contingency plan” states that if MVP causes an impact to the water supply…for up to six months… MVP will restore or replace the water supply intake in the event of an irreconcilable impact.” How will gas pipeline company, MVP, LLC, replace a water source equivalent to the Roanoke River? What about Salem, with no reservoir and only groundwater plus a mere three-day tank storage for a city of 25,000?

I requested Salem’s “MVP Contingency Plan,” which Salem did not provide. Most likely, none exists because Salem is reacting minimally to MVP threats to our water, Greenway and stormwater costs by simply sticking to its Resolution 1324, which states that if neither the state nor MVP assumes the increased costs of removing MVP sediment, the City requests that DEQ legalize new, higher MVP sediment levels. This is unacceptable. Salem is in a bad spot but should have opposed MVP more vigorously. MVP should bear the costs for its own sediment harm to the Roanoke River, but won’t, so it should be stopped immediately. MVP is already undeniably harming our region’s clean water. Not only do we take hits to our landscape, property values, economic future and safety but clean water becomes a far more expensive and scarce commodity.

After decades of Roanoke River cleanup, visioning and building our Roanoke River Greenway—the center of our Valley’s recreational life—our Federal government (FERC) and Virginia’s governors and DEQ are allowing MVP to sweep away all our efforts for a clean Roanoke River and floodplain. MVP pipes will remain lying across Roanoke River’s North and South Forks headwaters—forever leaking lead and radioactive condensate into Roanoke’s floodplain and Greenway. Without clean water sources, Salem’s long-term future is dimmed. After MVP, the river may no longer be safe for swimming–our Greenway floodplain unsafe for pregnant women and children. No level of toxins is safe for them.

MVP is a vestige of a soon-to-be bygone fossil fuels era. This gas is headed straight for rising domestic and export renewable energy markets. It is essentially a boondoggle “Pipeline-to-Nowhere” that will raise heating costs for all Virginians. FERC gave MVP power of eminent domain with no local benefits—only great harm to property owners and regional water, demonstrating the new levels of corruption and corporate influence now stealing local resources purely for private profit. So many along the way could have stopped this MVP catastrophe. This should not be happening in America.

Cynthia Munley, Preserve Salem Organizer

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