VaNews for Augusta County
The Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport's commercial airline carrier, ViaAir, has been threatened with replacement by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) due to complaints alleging poor service.
None of the counties in the Fredericksburg region, where a Texas company has leased land for possible oil or natural gas drilling, will become the first locality in Virginia to ban fracking.
Augusta County already has done it.
The Board of Supervisors in the Shenandoah Valley locality, about 100 miles west of Fredericksburg, voted Wednesday not to allow any extraction method that involves injecting water or chemicals deep underground to loosen trapped oil or gas.
Opponents and supporters of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline came to the Staunton Holiday Inn Thursday to tell the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission what they thought of the agency’s analysis of the project’s likely environmental impact.
The environmental impact statement was made public in December and, for all intents and purposes, concluded that the pipeline would have a minimal adverse effect on the environment.
By 6:30 p.m. Thursday, about 79 people had signed up to give comments to stenographers, and a large sheaf of written comments had also been submitted.
The Augusta County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday night to prohibit fracking in the county in a move to keep clean water flowing in the area.
Augusta is the first county in the commonwealth to pass a zoning ordinance that completely prohibits fracking on its lands. King George County passed restrictions on fracking in August 2016, but that ordinance is not a total prohibition.
Virginia’s work in transforming how it handles public-private transportation projects, a product of learning the hard way how not to do them, could position the state to benefit from President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to unleash $1 trillion in private spending on infrastructure, the state’s transportation secretary told a House of Delegates committee Wednesday.
“It seems to me with (Interstate) 81 and other projects, if the Congress and the new president move forward with infrastructure investment, I would very much like us to be ready to offer them projects that VDOT and, from our standpoint, the legislature would like to see move forward,” Del. R. Steven Landes, R-Augusta, told Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne during a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee.
Contractors, suppliers, trade specialists and other workers came to Augusta Expo last Thursday to put their name in the hat for potential work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
The information and jobs fair in Augusta County drew more than 200 people, many of whom lined up outside hours before the start of the event.
The 600-mile natural gas pipeline is now under review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC is expected to issue a draft environmental impact statement on the project later this month.
Former State Senator Frank Nolen on Tuesday condemned the tactics used by some of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors regarding the referendum to relocate the Augusta County Courthouse. Nolen, who opposes moving the courthouse to Verona as the referendum proposes, stood in front of the building in Staunton and spoke. He said many of the supervisors are clearly trying to persuade Augusta County voters to vote "yes" on Nov. 8.
Augusta County supervisors agreed by a board "poll" — not a public vote — to spend more than $8,800 to reprint and mail a brochure explaining the November courthouse referendum to 33,000 county households this week.
Candy Hensley, an assistant to County Administrator Tim Fitzgerald, said the reprinting and mailing of the brochure cost approximately $8,839.
An anti-discrimination organization said Wednesday it is asking both the Virginia and U.S. attorneys general to investigate Augusta County Commissioner of the Revenue Jean Shrewsbury, Harrisonburg Commissioner of the Revenue Karen Rose and G. Ray Ergenbright, an employee of both offices. Representatives of ARMED (Americans Resisting Minority and Ethnic Discrimination) point to Ergenbright's use of Hitler emojis in emails and a social media post.
The November referendum to move the county seat and courts from Staunton to Verona grew personal Wednesday night, as Augusta County Supervisor Tracy Pyles unleashed an unusually harsh attack on public officials, judges, lawyers and others who oppose the move.
Pyles, who represents the Pastures District and is vice chairman of the board of supervisors, claims the board is representing the community's interests while those opposing the move of court facilities are interested only in how the move will affect them.