Delegates raise water concerns over Mountain Valley Pipeline


SALEM, Va. – The fight continues for local elected officials and businesses against the Mountain Valley Pipeline. 

On Wednesday and Thursday, the Virginia State Water Control Board will meet to discuss and consider the water quality certification, a key decision on the pipeline's future. 

Ahead of that meeting, Delegate Sam Rasoul and Delegate-elect Chris Hurst are speaking out about the risks to water quality, hoping to halt the pipeline.

"We just don't have enough analysis to be able to know what harmful effects there could potentially be, and without that data and without that analysis, how can we possibly do the certification?" said Hurst, D-Blacksburg. 

"This pipeline, as you can see, is going to cross over the Roanoke River and its tributaries over 100 times, yet we don't have a study with regards to the impacts that it's going to have on our drinking water," said Rasoul, D-Roanoke.

The proposed 301-mile pipeline would carry natural gas through West Virginia and Virginia, including parts of southwest Virginia. 

At Parkway Brewing, concerns over the pipeline are mounting. Parkway's brewmaster says a change in water quality could change the business. 

"I'd say water is roughly 95 percent of the product. So it's makeup makes a difference because it affects how the yeast works, or how the hops come across," said Mike Pensinger, brewmaster at Parkway.

A plea came from brewers and officials for the board to take some time and make sure the Mountain Valley Pipeline is worth the possible risks. 

"Decide whether the short-term gain for a private industry is worth the long-term detriment to a growing, burgeoning economy of craft beer, outside and the environment that we have," Pensinger said.