SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE ASSOCIATION
400 Scruggs Road, Suite 2100, Moneta, VA 24121
Protecting the Investment of SML Residents
The SMLA Board has been actively involved in this subject throughout its history. In 2011 SMLA participated with AEP and 13 other organizations in 11 steering committee meetings and 8 stakeholder meetings seeking input on needed improvements to the SMP. SMLA questioned AEP’s policy regarding property rights with respect to the transfer of docks, but AEP refused to address the issue at that time. (You can Download SMLA's official comments regarding the SMP here.) Although the results were disappointing, in that AEP did not include many of the steering committee’s recommendations, a subsequent 14 month negotiating session was brokered by our Washington D.C. representatives. While many issues were resolved, the property rights issue was not resolved. The resulting SMP was issued in January 2014. Following that issuance, the issue of whether AEP’s current flowage agreements are sufficient to implement the SMP, have become a concern in the community.
Until the court acts on the legal issue of AEP’s ability to implement and enforce the Shoreline Management Plan and associated processes, a real direction or need for action cannot be determined. We are looking for feedback from our membership regarding the general need for regulations on the lake to ensure safe and enjoyable recreation. Please address them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The issue of private property rights and regulation of water front properties is always a hot topic around the lake. SMLA has been continually and deeply involved in representing resident interests trying to shape provisions in the Shore Management Plan. There is a current challenge to AEP's Shore Management Plan regarding interpretations of flowage easements. As usual, there are legal positions on both sides of the issue and resolution will ultimately fall to a court decision. Feedback from our membership has also fallen on both sides of the issue. It's early in the litigation process and the SMLA board will continue to monitor the facts and progress or changes in litigation.
In a separate action the SMLA board has written in support of the “Supporting Home Owner Rights Enforcement Act or 'SHORE' Act” (H.R.4976) that was reintroduced by U.S. Representative Robert Hurt in June 2014 and passed in 2015 as the House as The North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act (H.R.8). In summary this proposal amends the Federal Power Act, regarding the issue of licenses for construction of dams, conduits, and reservoirs, to direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), when deciding whether to issue a license for project works, to give equal consideration to minimizing infringement on the useful exercise and enjoyment of property rights held by non-licensees. It requires the licensee, in developing any recreational resource within the project boundary, to consider private landownership as a means to encourage and facilitate private investment, increased tourism, and recreational use. This is not just a local issue and has co-sponsorship from representatives from North Carolina, Missouri and Oklahoma. Download SMLA's recent letter of support regarding this issue to Rep. Morgan Griffith who will present this Bill to the Senate.
The MVP as planned will pass the SMLP to the south, mainly in Franklin County, and then into Pittsylvania County where it crosses under the Pigg River and continues to terminate at the existing Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company LLC's existing Zone 5 Compressor Station 165 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. The pipeline as planned will pass four miles north of the town of Rocky Mount, Virginia, the Franklin County seat. Franklin County currently has no access to natural gas. These SMLA comments submitted in June, 2015 (Download) pertain to the potential environmental impact on the SML project and Franklin County, Virginia.
In November, 2015 SMLA once again responded to a request for comments and PETITION TO ACCEPT LATE FILED COMMENTS on the draft Environmental Impact Statement. SMLA's original concerns and recommendations were reiterated in this document. (Download)
Early in 2017 Dr. Charles Sinex, Board Member on SMLA, provided a scientific analysis and recommendation that the FERC final EIS for this proposed project include a detailed quantitative analysis on the impact of the MVP Project on near-surface groundwater flow and its potential impact on FERC project 2210-169 (the AEP pumpback project) and SML water levels. Furthermore, the SMLA also recommends that FERC ensure a hydrologist knowledgeable about near-surface groundwater flows in the Franklin and the associated counties is retained to quantitatively analyze and assess these issues before a decision about the MVP pipeline is made by FERC. A layman's summary of his report may be downloaded here (Download ), and his full report is provided here (Download ) .
Final comments to the MVP EIS included major SMLA issues that
were not addressed, nor included by FERC. Accordingly, scientists
within our membership reiterated their concerns regarding: a) the
impact of MVP on Smith Mountain Lake water levels, b) the
potential spread of Zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive
species, and c) the lack of a containment plan for accidental
discharge of construction fluids into streams an rivers. These
deficiencies were further clarified and provided recommendations
on each and were forwarded to FERC in August, 2017 urging their
inclusion in the EIS. (Download). A
similar letter with additional health concerns (interruption and
availability of potable water to impacted residents, and increased
sedimentation from MVP stream crossings) was also sent to the
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.