Threatened Sensitive Joint Vetch as found in area of proposed KWR Intake on Mattaponi River, further endangered by King William Reservoir Project
King William Reservoir Opposition, Alliance To Save The Mattaponi, P.O. Box 150 Mattaponi, VA 23110-0150
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Judge declares King William reservoir permit invalid

By Rex Springston, Richmond Times Dispatch
Published: April 1, 2009

A federal judge in Washington has struck down the Army Corps of Engineers permit for a long-planned reservoir in King William County.

The decision is a victory for reservoir opponents, who said the big lake would destroy hundreds of acres of wetlands and infringe on Indians’ rights, among other objections.

The ruling means the Corps will have to reconsider its decision to issue the permit. It also appears to make efforts by Newport News to develop the reservoir much harder.

“It should be the death knell” for the project, said Deborah Murray, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, a Charlottesville-based group that represents most of the plaintiffs in the case. “Whether it will be or not ultimately depends on Newport News.“

She said Newport News should drop the project.

Alan Jackson, Newport News’ chief deputy city attorney, said officials there were going over the decision and would have no immediate comment. “We’re in the process of reviewing it.“

Newport News has been pursuing the reservoir for more than a decade. It would cost more than $200 million.

Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. of the U.S. District Court in Washington issued the ruling late yesterday. Among other things, he said the reservoir would be too damaging to the environment.

Newport News, the Corps or the Environmental Protection Agency could appeal the decision.

A spokesman for the Corps said the federal agency also was studying its options.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, which represented the EPA, also had no comment.


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