WV-DEP News: 401 Certification Adjustment for Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP)

by Duane Nichols on November 2, 2017

WV-DEP: Wednesday, November 1, 2017 @ 10:57 AM


WVDEP Announces Permit Adjustments for Mountain Valley Pipeline

“State Stormwater Permit includes enhanced inspection and enforcement, stronger environmental guidelines for project”

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) Cabinet Secretary Austin Caperton announced today that the agency has lifted the suspension of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) state Stormwater Permit. The suspension of the state Stormwater Permit was put in place in September to allow the agency to properly respond to all public comments received.

Additionally, the state has chosen to waive the individual 401 Certification of the federal permits for the MVP. The Army Corps of Engineers recently reissued, with provisions that are specific to West Virginia, the Nationwide 12 permit which is used for stream crossings. These new conditions, when combined with specific requirements that are included in the state’s storm water permit, will allow for better enforcement capabilities and enhanced protection for the state’s waters.

“This is a case where the public review and comment system worked especially well,” noted Secretary Caperton. “This summer, after months of diligent work, WVDEP put forth for public review and comment a draft certification and permit for the MVP pipeline. As a result of some of the issues that were included in those public comments, our agency developed a revised strategy that will better utilize the state storm water permit to provide significantly stronger safeguards for the waters of West Virginia.”

West Virginia is unique among all surrounding states in that it has a stormwater permitting program for oil and gas activities that it created nearly five years ago. The program was purposely designed to provide protection from the impact of large-scale projects like the MVP that are otherwise exempt from federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit conditions.

For more WV-DEP news and information, go to www.dep.wv.gov.



Dereliction of Duty: WVDEP Abandons Water Quality Review of Fracked Gas Pipeline — State Surrenders to Fossil Fuel Industry Instead of Protecting Health of West Virginians

CHARLESTON, WV — Today, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) waived its opportunity to review the water quality impacts of the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline. Under section 401 of the Clean Water Act, states must certify that proposed pipelines will not violate state water quality standards before construction can begin. DEP has the responsibility to determine whether or not to issue that certification for West Virginia, but announced today they are abdicating that responsibility.

WV-DEP previously certified the MVP, but in response to a lawsuit brought by Appalachian Mountain Advocates on behalf of a coalition of environmental groups, a federal court set aside that certification and allowed DEP to start over. That coalition is now exploring legal strategies in response to today’s news.

Derek Teaney, Senior Attorney at Appalachian Mountain Advocates, issued this statement:

“This is an outrageous and unprecedented dereliction of duty by DEP. After assuring a federal court that it was committed to reconsidering whether the MVP would degrade the hundreds of streams that it would impact, DEP has thrown up its hands and admitted that it is not up to the task of protecting West Virginia’s environment. This action suggests that DEP does not believe in the laws–including the antidegradation policy–that it is charged with enforcing. It also makes you wonder whether DEP intends to give the Atlantic Coast Pipeline–the other ill-conceived pipeline project it is currently reviewing–the same free pass it has just given to MVP.”

Angie Rosser, Executive Director, West Virginia Rivers Coalition said:

“DEP is a taxpayer-supported agency whose job is to protect public health and the environment. But when it came to one of the biggest projects DEP needed to review to protect water quality, the agency quit on the citizens of the state. We often hear from our political leaders that we don’t need federal agencies to regulate, that the state can handle it. But waiving their authority to do so is no way to handle it. It appears that political favor to industry has won the day over the agency’s responsibility to do everything in its power to protect the public’s right to clean water.”

>>>>> See also the Comments on this Article

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Indian Creek Watershed November 2, 2017 at 9:27 am

The West Virginia DEP has turned its back on WV waters and West Virginians by giving up its authority to protect our waters through the 401 water quality permit. Indian Creek Watershed Association joins other groups in condemning this clear abandonment of responsibility. Politics should not over-rule commonsense protections for our critical water resources. ICWA will continue to work hard to challenge this dereliction of duty by DEP and to preserve and protect Monroe County waters.

>>> The Indian Creek Watershed Association, PO Box 711, Union, WV 24983

In response, Sierra Club West Virginia Chapter Gas Committee Chair Justin Raines issued this statement:

“Instead of protecting West Virginia’s water, WV-DEP has sold us down the river. They had one job to do and they failed to do it, leaving our water in the hands of the federal government and out-of-state corporate polluters who are more interested in making money than protecting West Virginians. If we can’t trust our own state to protect our water, health and tourism, who can we trust to do it? Governor Justice and his DEP have let us all down by abandoning the responsibilities we trusted them with.”

Judy Azulay, Indian Creek Watershed Association President, issued this statement:

“It’s incomprehensible that DEP is not using the authority granted to it by the West Virginia legislature to protect our water. Instead of issuing enforceable conditions for the 401 permit, WV-DEP allows MVP to pen its own free pass to pollute. Instead of overseeing this unprecedented construction project, DEP turns a blind eye to the evidence documented in annotated maps and reports submitted by Indian Creek and other organizations and West Virginians identifying specific areas where the MVP would cause unacceptable degradation of our water. How can our Governor and his appointees allow DEP to abandon its mission and turn its back on the people and our natural resources?”

Anne Havemann, General Counsel, Chesapeake Climate Action Network said:

“Shame on WVDEP Director Austin Caperton and Governor Jim Justice. After directing agency staff to spend over a year’s worth of time, effort, and taxpayer money to look at the impacts to waterways from the massive Mountain Valley Pipeline, they’ve passed the buck to the federal government knowing full well that the pipeline won’t get the thorough review such a massive project deserves. West Virginia’s decision to waive its right to protect hundreds of streams and rivers from MVP is a complete abdication of its duty and a irreparable breach of the public’s trust.

Peter Anderson, Virginia Program Manager, Appalachian Voices said:

“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission clearly stated in its Mountain Valley Pipeline Order that construction may not commence without a water quality certification from each state and that states may impose additional conditions to protect water quality. By waiving its opportunity to do that, the WVDEP has utterly failed to fulfill its mission to preserve, protect, and enhance the state’s watersheds for the benefit and safety of all its citizens. West Virginians deserve better, and they certainly deserve clean water every bit as much as citizens of other states.”


Stormwater Permit November 2, 2017 at 4:48 pm

MVP Responsiveness Summary and AO 8780

Dear Commenter: Date: November 2, 2017

Please see the attached Responsiveness Summary prepared for comments received in regards to Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC’s application for registration under Permit No. WV0116815 (Stormwater Associated with Oil and Gas related Construction Activities).

The Responsiveness Summary is organized such that comments frequently mentioned, or general in nature, or outside the scope of DEP’s authority, are responded to first, Section A (General and Permit Scope Exceedance Comments and Responses). More specific comments on the Construction Stormwater Permit Registration, and the DEP’s response, are second, Section B (Construction Stormwater Permit Registration – Specific Comments and Responses). Oral comments received at the Public Hearings are summarized in Section C (Oral Comments and Responses). Comments and updated responses initially mailed on July 14, 2017 can be found in Section D (Previous comments/response letter dated July 14, 2017 (UPDATED)). In many instances, multiple/similar comments were provided on specific sections or issues. Those comments and responses were summarized to the extent possible.

The Responsiveness Summary as well as Administrative Order 8780 can be found on the following link:


Please share this attachment and link.

Again, thank you for your interest and comment on the Mountain Valley Pipeline Stormwater Permit Registration. If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

–Jon Michael Bosley
–Stormwater Permitting Supervisor


Drilling Industry News November 2, 2017 at 9:19 pm

WVDEP Reverses, Waives Water Permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

From Marcellus Drilling News, November 2, 2017

Hold on or you might get whiplash. In March, the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) issued a federal water crossing permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP)–a $3.5 billion, 301-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA.

In June, a group of profoundly radical “environmental” organizations (Sierra Club, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Indian Creek Watershed Association, Appalachian Voices and Chesapeake Climate Action Network) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit against the WVDEP for doing their job issuing the permit.

Because of the pressure of that lawsuit, the WVDEP caved and reversed their decision in September, rescinding (called “vacating”) the permit for MVP.The WVDEP said they will “re-evaluate the complete application to determine whether the state’s certification is in compliance with Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.”

Just two weeks ago the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld WVDEP’s decision and granted the agency’s motion to invalidate the previous certificate they granted the project.

Yesterday, in yet another 180 degree about face, WVDEP announced it has “lifted the suspension” of the MVP stormwater permit – and that the agency has decided to waive the permit, MVP has no need to get it before beginning construction.

It appears newly-minted Gov. Jim Justice, still in his first year, put a branding iron to the backside of WVDEP. Hold on to your cowboy hat! MVP is on the way to getting built in the Mountain State…..

Source: http://marcellusdrilling.com/2017/11/wvdep-reverses-waives-water-permit-for-mountain-valley-pipeline/


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