In the weeks leading up to the FERC approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, several news articles were published speculating that tree clearing would begin for the pipeline as soon as mid November. The Roanoke Times first mentioned in an article published on September 28th that there was a push to begin tree clearing by November (link). The article says that “Restricting tree clearing to the period from mid-November to the end of March also protects some species of migratory birds that nest during other months of the year.”
In the article, Aaron Ruby (spokesman for ACP) says “It’s important that we do all the tree clearing and grading this season,” Ruby said. “It’s an important window and we’ve got a lot of work to do.” The article implies that the window mentioned is from November 2017 to March 31 2018.
A spokeswoman for the Mountain Valley Pipeline is also quoted mentioning starting “as soon as November 2017”.
The article also quotes Ann Regn, a DEQ spokesoman: “Whether it’s MVP or ACP, hand clearing with chain saws and limited mechanical cutting depending on the type of equipment to be used is not considered land disturbing activity. Removal of cut trees, grubbing, clearing and grading activities is considered land disturbing activities and requires approved [erosion and sediment control plans].”
The letter below come from several members of Congress. It states the following: “An inability to start initial tree clearing in November will result in significant and unnecessary delay-related costs as tree clearing cannot occur from March to October due to the potential impacts to sensitive species.”
The letter below from four Senators, including NC Senators Tom Tillis & Richard Burr and WV Senator Shelley Moore Capito) mirrors the above letter in emphasizing the importance of a November start date.
Based on these documents, it is likely that some form of tree cutting will begin in Virginia in November.