The King William Reservoir Project: An Ethical Evaluation Based on Bioethics and Deontology

The King William Reservoir Project:

An Ethical Evaluation Based on Bioethics and Deontology

Rachel E.

David D.

Cheryl S.

I. Abstract

Begun in about 1989 at the bequest of the City of Newport News, the King William Reservoir project is a troublesome issue for many residents of Virginia, especially the localities of Newport News, King William County, and the Mattaponi Indian reservation. Over the last 20 years, each side has debated its stance on the project, but throughout this process, there has never been a true ethical evaluation of the conduct of each party. By using bioethical medical criteria with a philosophical backing of Deontology, a small group of students from University of Richmond sought to apply this criteria to the King William Reservoir project in its entirety. By using an accepted ethical criteria, their goal was to examine the benefits of being able to use a standardized ethical system when taking on large, complicated, and controversial projects which have implications on both people, culture, plants, animals, water, and the economy. After much research, it was found that there have been many ethical failures over the life of the project, with most falling to Newport News. Overwhelming evidence shows that the reservoir project is unethical in its current state, and either further research or an alternative must be found.
II. Table of Contents


Table of Contents




1. Autonomy

2. Beneficence

3. Non-maleficence

4. Justice/Equity


Works Cited



III. Objective

We are three Environmental Ethics students from the University of Richmond. We are researching and analyzing the proposal of the City of Newport News, VA to create a large water reservoir on the Mattaponi River in King William County, questioning the behaviors of the City, King William County, and the Mattaponi Indians. We seek to understand how the project will affect all parties involved, the environment, culture, and the economics of the localities. Due to the rapid continued growth in the population of the Tidewater region of Virginia, new sources of freshwater commercial drinking water have been sought out. In 1989, a study was done by a contractor to the city of Newport News to determine how to address this problem. From their research criteria and findings, it was resolved that the Mattaponi River would be the most advantageous place to build a reservoir. A pipeline would be built to pump in excess of 75 million gallons from the Mattaponi River into this 1500 acre reservoir, and from there pumped to Newport News. This proposed reservoir would run up Cohoke Creek and out onto the surrounding wetlands; it would be within two miles of the border of the Mattaponi Indian reservation.

Mattaponi Indians have been thriving in this region of Virginia for thousands of years, and the Mattaponi River is home to the shad that have been an essential part of all aspects of Mattaponi life. For part of the year the shad make up 30% of the Mattaponi Indians’ diets, and an important supplement to their income. The proposed reservoir would alter the normalcy of the lives of the shad that spawn there and the Mattaponi Indians themselves. Irreparable change to the environment is also of concern. No final decision has been made on this project. This paper seeks to offer a different and balanced point of view regarding the ethical basis of the King William Reservoir project. 
IV. Methods

Begun in about 1989 by the City of Newport News, the city’s project, slated to be built in King William County, has taken many twists and turns over the course of the last 19 or so years. The fate of the reservoir project has yet to be decided, as the battle between the proponents and opponents of the project continues.

Upon the undertaking of writing this paper, an evaluation of the ethical nature of the Reservoir project, our group encountered a few issues. First, misinformation has been an issue over the years, and many newspapers and websites show different numbers, different time-lines, and different facts relating to the project. Also, primary source information with which to base our evaluation was scarce and not readily available without considerable letter-writing, interviewing, web searching, and footwork. In addition to scarcity of materials, we also found that many political leaders and legislators did not care to discuss the project, possibly because the issue is—and has been–quite controversial.

But despite some obstacles and set-backs, our group did obtain valuable information which enabled us to evaluate the King William Reservoir project based on bioethical criteria coupled with the philosophy of deontology, or the study of human duty. We needed to add the Deontological perspective because bioethics deals with issues of person to person interaction, and it was necessary to include both person to person and person to environment interaction perspectives.

Our objective was to determine whether the King William Reservoir project is ethical or unethical, and ultimately, if the project should continue or terminate. The choice of medical ethical criteria coupled with a focus toward deontology was chosen as the best method for our research; bioethics, because the system is well-know, well-respected, and in use everyday to deal with difficult issues such as stem-cell research, euthanasia, and so on; Deontology, because it is a philosophy centered on a duty of all human beings to make morally good decisions.

Alone, Deontology could not sufficiently aid us in evaluation the King William Reservoir project. Since the philosophy is based on the study of duty based on morals, we needed a system that would enable us to determine what how those morals, or personal beliefs, should be formed. Deontological theory addresses that decisions are based on what would be the best moral decision, yet writings on deontology concede that morals are inherently unique to each person, therefore deontology is slightly different from person to person, situation to situation. Since we knew that our evaluation needed to focus on duties, such as duties to the environment, to cities, to people, deontology was an apt choice. However, we also had to include a basis for making ethical decisions, and so we chose bioethics.

One of the most well-known modern ethical decision making systems is that of bioethics. Born in 1979 after careful research and consideration by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, the Commission published a paper which outlined the bioethical criteria that is used today. In order to make an ethical evaluation of a medical-related situation, health-care professionals, researchers, and scientists will use the following criteria: Autonomy, or the power to make one’s own decisions; Beneficence, or doing good; Non-Maleficence, or not doing harm; Justice, or deciding whether the the decision is fair and equitable.

Based on the two decision-making systems of bioethics and Deontology, our group was able to take information about the King William Reservoir project and apply it to a each of the following criteria: Autonomy, Beneficence, Non-Maleficence, and Justice. Our final evaluations were charted in a way that produced a numerical score, defining the ethical nature of the Reservoir project. It is important to remember that in any discussion where morals and ethics are in question, that there will always be those with opposing or critical views-such is the nature of individual minds. However, it is our hope with this research that instead of arguing one side or the other, for and against, anti- and pro-, that an alternative decision-making system can be established for how human beings interact with the environment.

V. Discussion

A. Autonomy

What is the meaning of autonomy?

In health service situations, autonomy refers to informed consent. It is an accepted code of ethics for researchers and medical care providers to inform subjects and patients of all of the risks and benefits of a procedure before its start. The purpose of disclosure is to allow all persons the ability to make an autonomous decision regarding their own well-being. Above all, informed consent encourages all health care professionals to act responsibly, disclose all information, and ultimately give a patient the right to make a decision based on all available information.

Have all parties involved in in the King William Reservoir (KWR) project been given sufficient informed consent which would allow them to make good decisions pertaining to their well-being?

While Newport News is the largest proponent of the KWR project and the largest benefactor from the water procured from the river, the complete project involves the cooperation of King William County and the Mattaponi Indian people. King William County is where the land and water for the reservoir and dam is located. The Mattaponi Indian people have water claims on the water in the river, concern for the preservation of the Shad, and ancestral historical sites located in the dam area. While other agencies and boards are also a part of the approval process which Newport News needs to continue the KWR project, it is King William County and the Mattaponi people who will receive evaluation based on our chosen criteria.

King William County

Since it is King William County’s land which is in question for the reservoir project, KWC has been involved in the reservoir process since the idea was conceived (Mueser), but the question of disclosure of information to residents is lacking. The legislators in the county have had sufficient time and resources to be a part of the project, or about 19 years. However, both the legislators and the citizens of KWC must have equal informed consent about the project, based on the ethical criteria under which this paper is written. As controversial as this project has become, and because it will threaten many different types of habitats, both human and natural, using the argument of “legislators represent the peoples’ choices” is not enough. It is the duty of King William County government to duly inform its citizens of all of the potential positives and negatives regarding the King William Reservoir. It is expected that the area around the reservoir, if completed, will experience significant population growth, along with new development, that while bringing economic growth could interfere with the county’s vision of “[b]eautiful rolling farmlands, expansive timber lands, and sparkling rivers (King),” replaced instead by pollution and urban sprawl. Information regarding the project is not listed on the county’s website, nor is there an alternate site hosted by the county for residents to access. Newspapers received in the area include the Daily Press and The Richmond Times Dispatch, but information contained in these newspapers is usually not primary source, and information is frequently different from paper to paper.

Mattaponi Indians

The Mattaponi Indians are better informed about this project than any other group. As a small, tight-knit community, information passes quickly from their Chief, Carl “Lone Eagle” Custalow to members and residents. The focus of the Mattaponi from the beginning of the project has been to protect their land and water interests for the benefit of people and their history. As such, the Mattaponi have taken up a position against the reservoir and dam, because its existence and aftermath poses significant threats to the tribe’s continued well-being by loss of ancestral lands and historical sites, the inability to buy-back lands lost in the past to expand the reservation, and threats to the health of the Shad in the Mattaponi River. One Newport News legislator, whose name we chose to keep anonymous, responded to our inquiry by saying, “I further understand [the reservoir project] is very financially profitable to them but I do not have any details (Letter 2).” However, Colonel Allan B. Carroll of the local district Army Corp of Engineers recommended not building the reservoir, stating, “The tribes cannot be fully compensated for the losses to their spiritual connections, culture, and traditional socioeconomic practices that they would experience as a result of the construction (McLeod).”

Newport News

After eight months of research, letters, and meetings with various members involved in this project, it is very doubtful that Newport News has given itself and its citizens the appropriate information with which to make an ethical decision regarding this project. The aforementioned quote from the anonymous legislator bespeaks of ignorance of the true financial position of the Indians. In another letter that was received by a different Newport News legislator, they wrote, “I really do not know the overall impact on the Indians. I believe, through negotiation, they have approved the project (Letter1).” This statement also brings up concerns over these legislators and their knowledge to make decisions that will affect not only their represented city, but thousands of other people living on the Mattaponi reservation and within King William county. It is the responsibility of Newport News, under the Code of Virginia, to provide its citizens with clean drinking water, but it is also their responsibility to provide all citizens, legislators included, with adequate informed consent about a project which will affect the health and well-being of the city and surrounding areas (Code).

Unlike King William County, Newport News does have a website,, which is a summary of the project, including reports and figures, from the city’s perspective. The website is lacking as a comprehensive view of the project, however, because it fails to address problems, threats, and concerns about the project. It also fails to detail the timeline of events of the project, including changes made to the project’s plan, recommendations by state agencies, lawsuits, and financial information or money spent on the project to date. All of this information is of use, not only to law-makers but also to residents of Newport News and all citizens of Virginia.

B. Beneficence

What is the meaning of beneficence?

Beneficence is the ethical dilemma for public health providers in weighing the pros and cons between at least two conflicting options: protecting the individual’s rights or protecting the public health. The individual’s rights are taken very seriously and it is not without great care that public health is given precedence over the individual. Such examples when public health is of concern includes quarantine of infected persons to prevent epidemics or spread of dangerous disease.

Have all parties shown that they have sufficiently weighed drinking water needs for Newport News and economic development against damage to the Mattaponi people’s way of life and irreparable change to the environment?

This question asks of each locality how they have weighed their needs against the needs of others and the well-being of others. This topic diverts from the traditional theory of utilitarianism because it is not dictating that it is the most people who will receive something. Instead, based on Deontological theory, the question is asking if the needs of Newport News is great enough to justify damage to the Mattaponi Indian’s way of life and irreparable change to the Virginia environment.

King William County

King William County, in making its decisions to financially support the Reservoir project, must weigh its desire to protect and preserve the County as it is, or to take a chance on helping to fund a project that could increase wealth and provide water for its citizens. At first, KWC declined to assist Newport News in taking a loan for $20 million to pay for the land the reservoir needed to sit upon, stating that it was too much of a risk for an uncertain project. KWC is currently debating the subject of payment for reservoir lands and they hope to find an alternative that will afford the County less risk. However, as Delegate Harvey Morgan states, “The vast majority of [citizens are] adamantly opposed to a project that [is] being forced upon them by a big, powerful, urban locality miles away (Morgan).”

Based on the County’s website and available resources, it is inconclusive whether KWC has fully evaluated the impact that the Reservoir project could have on the area. It is certain that residents have come to expect a certain way of living. The KWC website says, “King William is poised for growth and looking to the future. But at the same time, her citizens are committed to retaining the hometown friendliness and relaxed pace of life they have come to associate with the County’s agricultural heritage (King) .”

Mattaponi Indians

The land upon which the Mattaponi reside was protected by the Virginian Indian Treaty of 1677, signed by King Charles II. The Treaty was put into place to provide “sure establishment of a good and just Peace with the said Indians, and that it may be a Secure and lasting one founded upon the strong Pillars of Reciprocall Justice by confirming to them their just Rights (Treaty).” After much deliberation and court battle, this Treaty was overruled as erroneous, created before the formation of the United States government. However, the Indians have been paying tribute to the Virginia governor, new government or not, sine 1646. Every November, the tribe presents game or fish to the governor of the Commonwealth.

The Mattaponi have kept a strong connection with their lands, with the river as the lifeblood of the tribe and their source for fish and shellfish (Gallivan). Taking actions that would threaten the livelihood and heritage of these people is disgraceful in the eyes of many citizens. While Virginia Senator John Warner stated in a letter to us that he believes there will be no adverse effect on the cultural resources of the Mattaponi Indians, most sources, including the Mattaponi themselves, believe otherwise.

Newport News

There is great dispute over Newport New’s actual need for more water. According to recent research, Newport News has more than enough drinking water. They have a standing agreement with James City County that beginning January 1, 2009, Newport News will supply four million gallons of water a day, even if the reservoir has not been completed (Newport). In addition to the apparent oversupply of water in Newport News, the city of Norfolk has water for sale because Virginia Beach, how using water from Lake Gaston, no longer needs all of their supply (Institute). Newport News is currently the biggest water user among the cities in Virginia (Hampton). Clean potable water is available from the Big Bethel Reservoir, and the Sciffs Creek reservoir that were taken off-line in 2003. This information is indicative that Newport News’s needs have been overstated, and that they could avoid going into other areas to retrieve water, because there is water available from at least three possible existing sources.

C. Non-Maleficence

Has each involved party taken measures which ensure that no person or groups of persons will be intentionally harmed by misinformation of disinformation, ignorance, apathy, or ill will?

This question asks if both King William County, Newport News, and all other invested parties have educated themselves and their residents with information necessary to make an educated, well-rounded, and non-biased decision regarding the need for a new reservoir in the Commonwealth. If there is sufficient evidence beyond reasonable doubt that the project will harm the environment, cultures, or localities, then steps should be taken to find alternative solutions to the reservoir.

What is the meaning of non-maleficence?

Non-maleficence involves public safety and the responsibility that health care providers to have adequate knowledge of procedures and products, including their potential risks, before they are used or are used by consumers. It is ideal that a provider or manufacturer would do adequate research and testing to ensure safety, thus preventing harm from occurring. A common example of preventing harm is practiced by pharmaceutical companies everyday as they research, test, and release drugs to the market. All drug advertisements are accompanied by disclosures of side effects to avoid doing harm.

King William County

It is expected that the construction of the dam and reservoir and the development of lands around the reservoir area afterwards will negatively impact the environment and degrade the quiet landscape which current residents enjoy and King William county lauds (Harper).

Another concern to the county is included in the mitigation report prepared by Malcolm Pirnie for Newport News, which states that site plans may change as need to expand the reservoir. In addition, the report also enables mitigation teams to clear the land in any manner that they see fit, including the trapping and killing of animals. It is also wholly possible and very likely that some of the created wetlands will fail, requiring additional planting, regrading, or engineering to be successful. It is therefore up to King William county’s legislators to first make their citizens aware of the dangers of the project, and to also research carefully how difficult it will be to create, maintain, and ensure the success of new wetlands. If the county or its citizens are ignorant, unaware, or choose to disregard potential threats, should the land and the public be damaged by such decisions, this would be an example of non-maleficence.

Mattaponi Indians

The Mattaponi have been at a severe disadvantage during the project, due in part to the fact that they are not a federally recognized tribe. Part of the basis of the overturn of the 1677 treaty was because, “there is no need for this Court to consider the status of a pre-Independence agreement involving a group of Native Americans that has never been recognized by the National Government (On Petition).” However, the Mattaponi did apply to be a federal tribe but were denied because they could not trace their genealogy sufficiently. Walter Plecker, Virginia’s registrar for Vital Statistics from 1912-46, tried to have all Native people classified as “colored”. He had birth certificates and marriage certificates changed to “colored” status which essentially erased the Native Americans from the state census. Now in their effort to gain federal recognition they must try to piece together documents from family Bibles and church records to prove their heritage. Although he worked tirelessly to erase the Native American heritage he was not successful. Governor George Allen has put the burden of reconstructing the records with the state of Virginia (Custalow). Because of the actions of the Commonwealth and the misdirection of Plecker, the Mattaponi have not been able to assert themselves against Newport News in this matter.

Newport News

As stated in the “Non Maleficence” section for Newport News, it seems that the City is aware of a declining need for a new reservoir. The City’s plans for water conservation are minimal (City). Increased conservation and a strong stance against water abuse, the use of water from existing sources, and a focus on improving the City center instead of urban sprawl will all help reduce the need for a new reservoir. The VIMS report issued June 25, 2004 Director Mann calls on the Commonwealth of Virginia to “develop a comprehensive water allocation strategy that incorporates environmental, social, and economic needs prior to consideration of any more projects like the King William reservoir.” Also in the same June report, VIMS also states that “[t]he proposed use of a water withdrawal hiatus to reduce risk to larval shad populations in the Mattaponi River has the potential to minimize impacts on that species, but effectively implemented may prevent the City from realizing a satisfactory safe yield of water.

Another issue for the project concerns the mitigation plans for wetlands. The size of the reservoir will be approximately 1,526 acres, inundating the present land with water. The mitigation plan presented to Newport News by the environmental consulting firm Malcolm Pirnie outlines 1,018 acres of wetlands that will either be protected, created, or restored. The plan lists 14 sites which are intended mitigation areas. There has been criticism of this mitigation plan because the wetland sites are not in one area, but spread out over multiple locations. There is adequate cause for concern about the movement of birds and animals from habitat to habitat, as was illustrated by a study of black bear in the Great Dismal Swamp. In an article written for American Forests, author Tim Wright explains,

“Making matters worse for the bears is the isolation forced upon them. Cut off from similar populations to the west, their gene pool is stagnating and experts worry they will have saved habitat for the swamp’s largest mammal only to have the bears disappear from inbreeding.

One thing that never seems to disappear is controversy over the best way to manage the swamp. Homeowners on its eastern and northern fringes blame occasional flooding on the refuge, not realizing the swamp actually helps mitigate flooding by slowing and absorbing runoff.”

There is much concern over whether these new, smaller wetlands will have the same benefit to the environment as one large habitat.

There is a also a question as to whether the created wetlands will function as well as or in the same manner as natural wetlands. In the 2007 report for the Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park at Ohio State University, Dr. William J. Mitsch has put this question to task with 15 years of research at the created experimental wetlands on the OHU campus.

In his report, he states that the definition of a wetland remains controversial, as does the question of whether we can create and restore wetlands.

In addition to Mitsch’s substantial research, the National Academy of Sciences panel concluded that much more research is needed before we can be assured that those wetlands that are constructed to replace wetlands destroyed for development can be successful. In its 2001 report, “Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the Clean Water Act,” the NAS finds that in most of the cases it examined, 50% or more of wetland projects failed, meaning that they did not flood as expected, produced no wetland, failed to meet criteria, became inundated with invasive species, lost flora diversity, or required reworking and redrafting of the wetlands altogether to produce better results.

In addition to the uncertainty over whether created wetlands can succeed are the costs associated with their creation. Costs for researching, maintaining, and monitoring the 50-acre OSU wetland was $650,000, with OSU relying mostly on grants, donations, and government backing to fund its research.

It is plausible, after reviewing the NAS report, that 50% or more of the proposed wetland mitigation sites will fail to meet criteria or will fall into non-compliance. In addition, failed wetlands are not included in the Malcolm Pirnie Mitigation Report, and it is likely that there is no budget set aside in case the wetlands do not succeed. The Malcolm Pirnie report does not address the potential and likely failure of some of its projects, and thus should be considered incomplete. A project of this size significantly affects the environment, and so adequate precaution should be taken to avoid and/or prepare for failure. (Committee)

D. Justice & Equity

What is the meaning of justice and equity?

“Justice in health care is usually defined as a form of fairness, or as Aristotle once said, ‘giving to each that which is his due.’ This implies the fair distribution of goods in society and requires that we look at the role of entitlement. The question of distributive justice also seems to hinge on the fact that some goods and services are in short supply, there is not enough to go around, thus some fair means of allocating scarce resources must be determined.”

Have all parties considered, Newport News especially so, the distributive justice of the reservoir and how water, a scarce resource, will be distributed once the project is completed?

Again diverting from the commonly used philosophy of utilitarianism, the reservoir project should not be evaluated as ethical merely because it will provide water for the most people in Newport News. Alternatively, the reservoir must be evaluated by determining what each area is due, meaning that all aspects of the environment including people, plants, animals, wetlands, forests, and cultures much be included in the discussion, each being given what it is due.

King William County

KWC must evaluate whether allowing Newport News to obtain water from its river, utilizing its lands, and disturbing its residents is what is fair and equitable for its own citizens and those citizens who stand to benefit from completion of the reservoir. Most importantly, if Newport News could utilize its own resources from its own lands, then that solution is much more just and equitable than obtaining the resources from a neighboring land. As mentioned above, Newport News is able to obtain water from at least three other possible sources, and it is the duty of King William County to insist that Newport News utilize those sources before disturbing their lands.

Mattaponi Indians

Helen Rountree comments that, “Land is still extremely important to Indian people, in a way that is not important to non-Indians. All Indians can look back to a time when there ancestors owned everything and three were no Whites taking it away from them and making them a subject people. This is a special kind of nostalgia, a bitter nostalgia that makes the last chunks of land left in tribal ownership seem very precious indeed. For people who live on the land like the Mattaponi…the tribally-owned land is a reminder of a proud and threatened past and something tangible for the future.” While it seems that the people of Newport News, should their need for water be accurately stated, stand to benefit far less than what the Mattaponi Indians would lose. Expansion, development, and economic growth is all very beneficial to a city, but if that growth threatens the existence and ways of life of indigenous cultures here in Virginia, this should give great portance to the Mattaponi’s uneasiness over the project. The International Forum on Globalization says this, “Indigenous people throughout the world sit on the “frontlines” of globalization’s expansion; they occupy the last pristine places on earth, where resources are still abundant: forests, minerals, water, and genetic diversity (International).” The Mattaponi are in a situation similar to what other cultures face as the desire to expand threatens their homelands.

Newport News

Newport News seems to be very confident with their own research and their points of view concerning this project. As the leaders for the reservoir, it is therefore unsurprising that they would take a very positive view of the work that they have accomplished. They are so confident that they are able to disregard dissenting views, such as those from the Mattaponi. As quoted in the Daily Press, “’We come from two different cultures,’ said Dave Morris, the waterworks’ project manager. ‘We are comfortable with our science and engineering, and they are comfortable with the knowledge from their past experiences (Di Vincenzo).’” While there is nothing unethical about disagreement, it is of concern that Waterworks, the water provider for Newport News, is a for profit company.

From a business standpoint, Waterworks stands to profit far more from less conservation and more water usage, meaning that development is positive (Reservoirs). More water to sell means more profit for Waterworks and more money for the City. The ethical question posed by the reservoir project is whether Newport News is entitled to an unfair distribution of water to aid in the growth and development of an already large and developed urban center. Because the water distribution is largely for the City of Newport News, then according to bioethical theory, Newport News is help most responsible for finding a solution that is not biased toward only itself. With the comments from Newport News legislators and Waterworks combined, however, and given Newport News very secretive nature about the project, it is much more likely that the City is using its political weight and monetary superiority to ensure the success of the project through routes that may be legal but ethically questionable.

Newport News engaged in questionable ethical behavior as it attempted to pass legislation which would disband VMRC, thus allowing permits to flow directly from start to completion without the careful approval of qualified experts. While it was claimed that the bill was intended to streamline water-related projects in general, the bill was initiated by a representative from Newport News. In 2004, Delegates Glenn Oder and Delegate Mayme BaCote attempted to move this bill through the state senate that would have immediately granted Newport News the easement it needed to build a water intake in the Mattaponi River (State).

VI. Conclusion

The King William Reservoir project encompasses so many different aspects, details, facts, events—the whole thing is just gigantic. Our group had one and a half semesters to compile enough information to brush the surface of what we hope can be an example of how to evaluate large projects such as this in the future. However, it will take time.

At the very beginning of last semester, our group began to look into how we could evaluate the reservoir project. Initially, we had hoped to be able to answer “yes” or “no” in response to each ethical criteria for each locality involved. Once the questions had been answered, we would then run them through a chart and calculate mathematically a “yes, the project should be built” or “no, the project should be discontinued.” We found that while this would be a brand new way to evaluate a difficult issue, that we did not have enough information to support providing hard answers. Quite a bit of information is not available to the public, including budget figures for Newport News, the cost of the project to date, water usage, and development plans. In addition, the Mattaponi are very skeptical of working with people like us, because they have been burned many times on offers of help that hurt instead. On top of an information shortage, we believed that in order to truly make a hard evaluation, we would need to be experts having read every paper, release, and brief for the last 20 years. As a result, we decided against using a mathematical solution, and opted to address the ethical issues raised in a manner that would leave the final answering up to the reader. For the time allotment and information which we had, we believe this the most fair and ethical way to answer our questions.

Currently, the lack of agreement and the inaction by the reservoir’s decision makers keeps this issue volleying back and forth, in and out of court. So long as it does, now is the time for all parties, residents, and citizens to take ask themselves not just if they believe the reservoir is a good thing or a bad thing, but if they believe the project to be ethical or not. It is important for everyone to understand that actions taken now will have long term effects of the people and landscape of Virginia, a responsibility that should not be taken without a strong evaluation of ethical conduct on each and every side.

The group extends a special thanks to classmate Tess F. for her research help during our first semester. Thanks also to Kelly P. for providing us with excellent information and insight. A very special thanks to all of those who wrote us letters and responded to our inquiries for information and comments. And also a warm thanks to our professor, who would like to remain anonymous, who provided us with guidance and enthusiasm throughout our undertaking.

VII. Works Cited

City of Newport News. “Water Conservation and Ordinance Plan.” 2008.

Code of Virginia. 62.1-44.38:1. “Comprehensive Water Supply Planning Process; State, Regional And Local Water Supply Plans.” Path: Code of Virginia.

Committee on Mitigating Wetland Losses, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, Water Science and Technology Board, and the National Research Council. Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the Clean Water Act. 2001.

Custalow, Carl “Lone Eagle”. “Mattaponi Tribe: History And Information”. 2007. http://Indians/

Di Vincenzo, Mark. “Against The Flow: Mattaponi Indians Fighting Proposal To Divert River’s Water.” Daily Press. B1. 2006. Path: Archives.

Hampton Roads Sanitation District Development Plan 2000.

http:// www.

Gallivan, Martin. “Dig Casts New Light on Indian Culture”. Washington 2007.


Institute of Water Resources. Army Corps of Engineers. “Evaluation of Conflicting Views on Future Water Use in Newport News, VA.” 3 p.

International Forum on Globalization. “Indigenous Peopls and Globalization Program.” 2008.

“King William Reservoir.” City of Newport News.2007.

King William County. 2008.

Letter # 1 from Newport News Legislator. 19 Mar. 2008.

Letter # 2 from Newport News Legislator. 20 Mar. 2008.

Letter from John Warner. 16 Jun. 2008.

Malcolm Pirnie. “King William Reservoir Project Reservoir Mitigation Plan.” 2004. 246 p.

Mann, Roger L. Virginia Institute of Marine Science School of Marine Science. 2003.

“Mattaponi Indian Reservation.” 2008.

McLeod, Christopher. “Mattaponi River.” Earth Island Institute.

Mitsch, William J. “2007 Annual Report for the Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park.” 2007.

Morgan, Harvey Del. “Your Voice: Good Government Prevailed On Reservoir.” Daily Press. 2003.

Mueser Rutledge. 1989. Reservoir and Dam Site Evaluation. New York, NY, 40 p.

Newport News, VA and the James City Service Authority. “Project Development Agreement For

Long Term Water Supply. 2008. 12 p.

On Petition For A Writ Of Certiorari To The Supreme Court Of Virginia. No. 05-114. Supreme Court of the United States. 2006.

“Reservoirs And Drought.” City of Newport News. 2008.

Rountree, Helen. “Slowly; The Case of the Powhatan Indians Of Virginia”. The Journal Of Ethnic Studies. 3.3. 1-19.

Rubino, Thomas C. Alliance to Save the Mattaponi. 2007. http://www.savethe

State of Virginia. Senate. HB 797. 2004

“Treaty Between Virginia And The Indians.” Virginia Colonial Records.1677.

Wright, Tim. “Swamp in a Quagmire.” American Forests. 106:4. p. 28-33.
VIII. Timeline for Permit Review of King William Reservoir Project

· 30 July 1990: Norfolk District of the Corps issued a notice of intent to prepare a Draft EIS on Newport News’s regional raw water supply proposal.

· 13 November 1990: King William Reservoir Project Development Agreement.

· 1 July 1993: Newport News applied to the VMRC for a permit.

· 6 July1993: Newport News submitted its joint permit application for the KWR-I project to Virginia DEQ and U.S. Army Corps.

· February 1994: Draft EIS issued.

· 17 May 1994: FWS requested Supplement to Draft EIS.

· 1 June 1994: EPA requested Supplement to Draft EIS.

· 13 June 1994: FWS letter to Corps reserved right to seek elevation of decision on permit.

· 14 June 1995: Revised permit application for KWR-II.

· 29 December 1995: Corps issued Supplement to the Draft EIS.

· 28 March 1996: FWS recommended denial of the Section 404 permit.

· 13 November 1996: EPA Region III rated Draft and Supplemental EIS as “Environmentally Unsatisfactory.”

· 30 December 1996: Revised permit application submitted for KWR-IV.

· 24 January 1997: Final EIS.

· 25 July 1997: EPA Region III letter expressed concerns regarding impacts of project.

· 25 July 1997: FWS letter recommended denial of 404 permit.

· 22 December 1997: Virginia DEQ issued VWP Permit No. 93-0902 to Newport News.

· May 1998: Planning and Management Consultants, Ltd. report issued.

· May 1999: IWR initial report issued evaluating the risk of water shortages for the region.

· 4 June 1999: Colonel Allan B. Carroll, Norfolk District Commander issued intent to recommend denial of 404 permit.

· 8 June 1999: Virginia Governor James Gilmore issued written position on KWR-IV project disagreeing with Norfolk District.

· 22 July 1999: FWS letter outlined opposition to Final Mitigation Plan and recommending denial of permit.

· 5 August 1999: EPA Region III letter questioned Final Mitigation Plan and KWR-IV project.

· 1 March 2001: IWR issued draft report evaluating the risk of water shortages for the region.

· 20 March 2001: Norfolk District issued for public comment Draft Recommended Record of Decision in favor of denial.

· 1 May 2001: EPA Region III letter supported permit denial, stating that project would violate section 404(b) (1) guidelines and cause unacceptable adverse effects.

· 1 May 2001: FWS letter supported permit denial.

· 2 July 2001: Norfolk District issued its Final Recommended Record of Decision affirming that the 404 permit should be denied.

· 15 August 2001: IWR final report issued evaluating the risk of water shortages for the region.

· 15 October 2001: FWS stated that project will affect Aquatic Resources of National Importance and cause significant degradation of waters of the U.S.

· 31 October 2001: Governor Gilmore comment letter on Final RROD objecting to denial and requesting approval for KWR-IV permit.

· 30 September 2002: Gen. Rhoades of NAD announced decision to continue processing application and overturns Norfolk Final RROD.

· 27 December 2002: Virginia DEQ Permit modification issued.

· 15 May 2003: VMRC denies permit application.

· 22 July 2003: EPA Region III memo repeated that project would represent the largest wetland loss in the history of the CWA in the Mid-Atlantic region.

· 14 October 2003: FWS letter opposed KWR-IV project.

· 22 March 2004: EPA Region III letter outlined objections to Mitigation Plan.

· 29 March 2004: FWS letter outlined objections to Mitigation Plan.

· 12 August 2004: VMRC grants permit application with additional conditions.

· 17 August 2004: VMRC permit issued.

· 1 February 2005: FWS letter to Gen. Temple of NAD stated strong opposition to KWR-IV project.

· 23 March 2005: FWS to Newport News outlined objections to project and mitigation plan.

· 23 June 2005: FWS to Corps raised significant new information.

· 29 July 2005: Gen. Temple of NAD issued Record of Decision stating intent to issue 404 permit.

· 11 August 2005: FWS Region recommended that July decision be elevated to Corps Headquarters.

· 1 September 2005: DOI indicated that it would not seek further review before Corps Headquarters on decision to issue 404 permit.

· 15 November 2005: Section 404 permit issued.

· 6 September 2006: State Water Control Board denies Newport News request for permit extension.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s