The Newport News City Council on Tuesday directed the city manager to terminate the estimated $289 million reservoir project, which has been in planning and litigation for more than two decades, the Daily Press reports. The decision came after a U.S. District Court in March ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had issued a permit for the 13 billion gallon reservoir “arbitrarily and capriciously,” and then the Corps suspended the permit.
Why did the court rule this way? Because the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and our allies were willing to fight to stop the project. CBF and its partners challenged state and federal permits in court. And over more than a decade, we used every tool at every turn to prove the project was environmentally harmful and unnecessary for the local community. We fought legislation promoting the reservoir, rallied citizen opposition, and demonstrated that the city's projected water needs were inflated.
The result will be better water quality for the Chesapeake Bay, preservation of wetlands, protection of rare plants and animals, and a better quality of life for the Mattaponi tribe and others who depend on natural resources in the area.
And no, there will be no dawn-of-the-dead resurrection of this scheme.
"There will be no veiled attempt to resurrect the project at a later date," Newport News Waterworks Director Brian Ramaley said on Tuesday (link). "The time to terminate the project is now.”
(Image of wetlands by David Owen Hawxhurst)