Virginia Landowner Seeks Injunction Against Mountain Valley Pipeline

by Duane Nichols on August 13, 2021

Mountain Valley Pipeline causing problems now (and future)

Fight brewing over alleged aquifer damage by Mountain Valley Pipeline

From an Article by Sarah Vogelsong, Virginia Mercury, August 10, 2021

Already tense relations between Mountain Valley Pipeline and opponents of the project were further inflamed Wednesday after the owners of a property on which the pipeline was drilling alleged the company had penetrated the shallow local aquifer.

An attorney for J. Coles Terry, the owner of a property on Bent Mountain in Roanoke County where the pipeline developer has been drilling holes for dynamite, sought a temporary injunction against the company from a federal court on Aug. 11 as part of an ongoing eminent domain case, citing alleged damage to the aquifer.

In a motion filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Terry said that after Mountain Valley began drilling on Aug. 9, he discovered that “half of the borings are half-full with water from the shallow aquifer serving as the headwaters of Bottom Creek.”

In a separate complaint filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which certificates gas pipelines, Terry reported that water in one 13-foot hole had risen by seven feet and 9 inches.

“I am requesting that FERC require MVP to immediately stop work on my property until a qualified hydrogeologist inspects what has happened,” he wrote. “I am very concerned that if drilling continues, it could cause damage to my well which is my family’s sole source of drinking water.”

Mountain Valley Pipeline, however, called reports that the aquifer had been penetrated by drilling “inaccurate and blatantly false information based on unsubstantiated claims” and said opponents’ “willingness to mislead the public and mischaracterize construction activities to advance their agenda is wrong and unnecessarily consumes public agency resources.”

“The construction activities occurring on Bent Mountain include drilling holes to a depth of less than 15 feet below the surface,” said MVP spokesperson Natalie Cox in an email. “Given the local terrain, the fact that water may be present in the holes is normal and there is no evidence that an aquifer has been penetrated.”

Roberta Bondurant, co-chair of the Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights group that has opposed the pipeline since its inception, said that “when you drill down in several places and you hit water, I believe it’s a fair inference that your drill has gone into a watery aquifer.”

According to Ann Regn, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, inspectors who visited the area Aug. 9 through 11 found “no evidence of any damage to the aquifer.”

“We believe the potential for impact to the aquifer or water supplies is low but will continue to monitor the areas,” she said in an email, adding that “if a groundwater source were to be impacted, there is a legal process in place requiring MVP to remedy the situation.”


See also: Hileman and Bowers: Mountain Valley Pipeline is an unnecessary imposition | Commentary| Roanoke Times, August 11, 2021

Because of delays caused by permit suspensions and environmental violations, the MVP is nearly four years behind its original in-service date, and closing in on $3 billion over budget.

The ever-expanding cost of the MVP will add billions to the energy costs of customers throughout the region — the shipping rates established for the MVP have already increased more than 170%.

The sole justification for the MVP was to provide low-cost gas to consumers. That is no longer a reality. Instead, the rest of us will suffer the overwhelming damages that a few corporate shareholders want us to bear.


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