§ — Mountain Valley Pipeline Not Needed Nor Not Wanted!

by Duane Nichols on August 17, 2021

Rev. Morris V. Fleischer, Newport, Virginia

Defenders of Homes, Hills, and Heritage United Against the Mountain Valley Pipeline

From an Essay by Nicole Greenfield, Natural Resources Defense Council, NRDC.org, August 13, 2021

Meet five people who are fighting on the ground — from Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina — to stop the destructive fossil fuel project before it’s too late.

Though it’s been under construction for the past three years — and in discussion since 2014 — the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) has been somewhat easy to overlook. Easy, that is, for those who don’t live along its proposed route: West Virginia landowner Maury Johnson calls it the “ugly stepchild of pipelines” because, compared to high-profile pipeline fights like that against Keystone XL, for a long time only a small segment of Appalachian residents seemed to be talking about the 303-mile MVP.

As Gillian Giannetti, an NRDC attorney who focuses on energy issues at the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC), explains, MVP has likely received less national attention because it passes through a rural, low-income part of Virginia, through places even many Virginians themselves haven’t visited.

Still, if completed, its impact would be felt far beyond those areas. MVP would transport fracked gas in an unprecedented 42-inch-wide pipe—double the diameter of Keystone XL’s proposed pipe—through properties in West Virginia and Virginia as well as in North Carolina (via the MVP’s proposed Southgate extension). Along the way, the pipeline would travel under more than 500 local rivers, streams, and wetlands, down dangerously steep slopes, over sensitive and unpredictable karst terrain, and through active seismic zones. MVP is also slated to cut through the public lands of Jefferson National Forest and the Appalachian Trail.

This is why concerned citizens—including landowners, youth activists, and community leaders—have been fighting the project for years, pointing out how it would devastate lands, waterways, and wildlife, while further fueling the climate crisis. (MVP doesn’t deny the harm it’s already caused: To date, it has agreed to pay millions in penalties for more than 300 water-quality violations in West Virginia and Virginia.) Community members have also witnessed the pipeline’s owners seize land via eminent domain from dozens of residents along its route, upending lives and livelihoods, and adding insult to injury.

In May, some relief came in the form of a letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommending that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deny a permit that would allow MVP to cross hundreds of streams in West Virginia and Virginia. Activists see this development as a hopeful setback for the project, which is already three-and-a-half years behind schedule and nearly $3 billion over budget, thanks in large part to their organizing and resistance efforts.

“They’re not FERC experts — they’re not supposed to be,” Gillian Giannetti says of the people living along MVP’s route, several of whom are featured below. “They’re thrust into this process against their will, and it takes people who are able and willing to devote their lives to this to protect their property and protect their communities.”

Meet Carson Hopkins, Crystal Cavalier-Keck, Pastor Morris V. Fleischer, Maury Johnson, and Bernadette “BJ” Lark and hear their stories HERE.


See also: Judge says she can’t halt mountain pipeline blasts, John Lynch, WTRF News 7, August 16, 2021

ROANOKE, Va. — A federal judge has declined to block the blasting of bedrock on a Virginia mountain where a natural gas pipeline is supposed to be laid. U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Dillon says she lacks authority to step into a dispute over the Mountain Valley Pipeline because a Bent Mountain landowner already had sought action from federal regulators.

The property owner says the blasting could contaminate well water. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and pipeline officials have said they’ve not seen evidence of the potential harm described by the owner.

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