FERC: Atlantic Coast Pipeline environmental impacts can be “less than significant”

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The Atlantic Coast Pipeline intended to carry natural gas across West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina would have some adverse environmental effects, including impacts on water resources, forest and other habitats, an assessment by federal regulators found. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees interstate natural gas pipelines, released its final environmental impact statement Friday for the proposed 600-mile (965-kilometer) pipeline, which has broad support from political and business leaders but is staunchly opposed by environmentalists and many affected landowners.The assessment found that if developers use proper construction and mitigation techniques, most of those environmental impacts could be reduced to “less-than-significant” levels. The release of the report sets the stage for a final decision from the commission on whether the project can proceed. The agency’s commissioners will weigh the environmental impact statement as well whether the project meets a public need and whether its proposed gas rates are just and reasonable in making that decision, according to FERC spokeswoman Tamara Young-Allen.

Read the rest of this story »

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Virginia first to join public safety broadband network

Gov. Terry McAuliffe says Virginia is the first state in the country to opt-in to a national public safety broadband network. McAuliffe signed a letter of intent Monday saying that Virginia will allow the First Responder Network Authority and AT&T to move forward with the development of the network. McAuliffe said the letter marks a “significant step” toward fulfilling a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission that a dedicated nationwide broadband network be created to help public safety agencies communicate during large-scale emergencies.

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Va. National Guard asks Danville to vacate shared armory

DANVILLE, Va. (AP) – The Virginia National Guard is asking the city of Danville to vacate a shared armory that the city has used for a recreational facility. The Danville Register and Bee reports that Guard officials have concluded that safety and security concerns require closing the building to the public. Guard spokesman Cotton Puryear said 12 soldiers work at the facility full time, and about 130 Guard soldiers are assigned there. City parks and recreation officials say the armory’s gym is the largest they have. It is used as an open gym for adults, and for summer camps and youth programs. The city has shared space in the armory since 1964. The city invested more than $185,000 in the building’s construction, but deeded the property to the state in 1972.

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Morva executed for Montgomery Co. murders of hospital guard, sheriff’s deputy

William Morva

Virginia has executed a man who killed a hospital security guard and sheriff’s deputy after escaping from custody in 2006. Thirty-five-year-old William Morva was pronounced dead at 9:15 p.m. Thursday after an injection at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt. He had no last words. It was the first execution carried out in Virginia under a new protocol that makes more of the lethal injection procedure secret.

Previously: Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today on the planned execution of William Morva (9pm tonight): “Over the past several weeks, my staff and I have carefully considered the petition for clemency submitted by William Morva, who was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder of Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff Corporal Eric Sutphin and hospital security guard Derrick McFarland. We have also reviewed extensive communications from family members of the victims, law enforcement officials, community leaders, and concerned observers from all over the world.

Read the rest of this story »

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Democratic Party of Virginia names new director

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The Democratic Party of Virginia has a new executive director a few months out from nationally watched elections. The party announced Thursday that former deputy director Chris Bolling is returning to run the organization. Virginia is one of only two states electing new governors and other state-level offices this year, and the contests are being closely watched as potential referendums on President Donald Trump. Bolling has worked on several Virginia campaigns in the last decade and was recently Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s political  director. Northam is the Democratic nominee for governor.

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

The Latest: Wounded Rep. Scalise undergoes more surgery

WASHINGTON (AP) – House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has undergone surgery for “the management of infection” and remains in serious condition. That’s the word Thursday from MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where the Louisiana congressman has been since he was grievously wounded last month when a gunman opened fire at a baseball practice. The hospital says Scalise tolerated the surgery well. It had issued a statement late Wednesday saying Scalise had been readmitted to the intensive care unit and had downgraded his condition from fair to serious. Scalise and four other people were injured last month when a gunman opened fire on a Republican baseball practice in nearby Alexandria, Virginia. The 51-year-old congressman was struck in the hip and the bullet tore into blood vessels, bones and internal organs. He has had several surgeries.

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Virginia set to execute man under more secretive protocol

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – When Virginia carries out its next execution, more of the process will be shrouded in secrecy. Virginia is scheduled to execute 35-year-old William Morva on Thursday for the killings of a hospital security guard and a sheriff’s deputy, unless the state governor intervenes. Recent changes to the state’s protocol means that if Morva is executed, he would remain shielded from the view of his attorney and media witnesses until after he has been restrained and IV lines have been inserted. Execution witnesses used to watch inmates walk into the chamber and be restrained. A curtain would then be closed so witnesses couldn’t see the placement of the IV and heart monitors and reopened so the execution could begin. The change has drawn fire from defense attorneys and transparency advocates.

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

State police: 2 injured in central Virginia plane crash

DILLWYN, Va. (AP) _ State police say two people have been injured in a plane crash in central Virginia. Spokeswoman Corinne Geller said in a statement that state police were called to the scene Tuesday afternoon in Buckingham County, between Lynchburg and Richmond. Geller says the pilot was flown to a Charlottesville hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries. A passenger suffered minor injuries. The crash is under investigation, and no further details were immediately released. Geller says the FAA and NTSB have been notified. It’s the second small plane crash in Virginia in as many days. On Monday, a man sustained serious injuries after he crash-landed in a field in Prince Edward County.

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Dominion wins approval for contested substation, power line

Virginia regulators have awarded approval to Dominion Energy for a hotly contested substation and powerline to provide electric service for an Amazon data center in Northern Virginia. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the State Corporation Commission gave the final approval last week. The transmission line will run from Gainesville to Haymarket and many residents along its proposed path have been stridently against it, asking that Dominion’s request be denied or that the line be buried underground. The commission has said it would be too expensive to bury the line.

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Groundbreaking held for American Indian monument

Representatives of several Native American tribes are celebrating a new monument planned near Virginia’s Capitol. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that tribal representatives and others celebrated a groundbreaking Saturday of a new monument entitled “Mantle.” The monument will recognize Native Americans’ legacy in Virginia. The Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission was established in 2009 to install a permanent monument on Capital Square. “Mantle” by artist Alan Michaelson will be in the shape of a nautilus and
include natural landscaping. The Virginia Capitol Foundation said the monument’s
total cost will be $900,000, and so far $400,000 has been raised.

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook
Test