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Interbasin transfer (IBT), or the movement of water from one river basin to another, can be controversial. Examples include the Randleman Dam and Lake Gaston Pipeline project. The General Assembly recently passed a new IBT statute altering legislation
United States District Judge Earl W. Britt is expected to issue a summary judgment in the dispute between the State of North Carolina and the City of Virginia Beach over Virginia Beach’s proposal to withdraw water from Lake Gaston for its use. At issue is whether or not an Environmental Impact Statement should have been performed before permits were issued to allow Virginia Beach to proceed with the project.
In July, Federal Judge W. Earl Britt ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers must restudy two issues related to the Lake Gaston/Virginia Beach pipeline project for which the Corps issued 404 construction permits in 1984. The ruling will delay the pipeline project, but does not require the full-scale Environmental Impact Study that the State of North Carolina and the Roanoke River Basin Association sought in their suit against the Corps.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in June a 1990 District Court’s finding that the Army Corps of Engineers properly considered the permit they issued for construction of the Lake Gaston-Virginia Beach pipeline. The City of Virginia Beach filed another suit in the Eastern District Court of North Carolina seeking to overturn a law passed only days earlier by the North Carolina General Assembly. The recent bill created a new statute mandating certain conditions under which water is withdrawn from any major river or reservoir.
While the North Carolina Attorney General’s office awaits an appeal court decision in one suit to prevent the Lake Gaston-Virginia Beach pipeline, it is filing briefs for an appeals court hearing in another suit brought to stop construction from proceeding. The hearing on Virginia Beach’s appeal against the injunction will be held April 11.