PRESS RELEASE ~ Legal Challenge to MVP Submitted in WV over §401 Permit

by S. Tom Bond on January 5, 2022

Greenbrier River one of WV streams needing protection

Mountain Valley Pipeline faces legal challenge to water crossing permit in West Virginia >>>>…………>>>>…………>>>> Action comes on the heels of challenge to Virginia granting similar water crossing permit

>> From the Appalachian Voices, Environmental Interest Group, January 3, 2022

Charleston, WV — A new lawsuit filed today challenges West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) approval of a key water-quality permit for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. The lawsuit argues that WVDEP’s approval violates the Clean Water Act.

The suit was filed by lawyers from Appalachian Mountain Advocates, on behalf of the Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and Indian Creek Watershed Association.

The West Virginia DEP has allowed construction of MVP to proceed despite widespread opposition, the threatening climate crisis, and environmental damage that continues to harm Appalachia’s streams. If completed, MVP would also exacerbate health and environmental degradation in communities, as well as continuing to spur more dependence on dirty fracked gas.

This legal challenge adds to the mounting uncertainty over whether this project will ever be completed, following a legal challenge filed late last month to a key Virginia permit, and two additional pending cases at the Fourth Circuit challenging the pipeline’s Forest Service and Endangered Species Act approvals.

In addition, the proposed MVP Southgate extension faces its own permitting challenges. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has already denied a key water quality certification for the project, twice, and in December the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board denied a necessary air permit for the proposed Lambert Compressor Station.

“MVP has repeatedly violated environmental safeguards, clean water protections, and plain common sense in their construction of this fracked gas pipeline,” Sierra Club Senior Organizer Caroline Hansley said. “Thanks to the work of pipeline monitors on the ground, we know that MVP has proven it can’t build this unnecessary pipeline without devastating streams and rivers. This is just another fight in our books that we are ready to take on for the sake of environmental justice and a livable future for all.”

Peter Anderson, Virginia Policy Director for Appalachian Voices, said “We have long known that the Mountain Valley Pipeline cannot be built across the steep landscapes in West Virginia and Virginia in compliance with state and federal water protection laws. If state regulators will not prioritize the public interest, perhaps the courts will. The people relying on the precious natural resources of this region deserve better.”

Angie Rosser, Executive Director of West Virginia Rivers Coalition, said, “We cannot let this decision by WVDEP go unchecked while our waters and communities stand to pay the price. With the health of hundreds of our waterbodies at stake, we need the court to take a close look at why it’s evident that MVP has not and will not be able to meet Clean Water Act requirements.”

Cindy Rank, Chair of the Extractive Industries Committee of West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, bemoaned the WVDEP decision that allows MVP to continue polluting our valuable headwater streams: “The future health of the state depends upon the health of these streams and wetlands which are being violated with each additional mile of construction and every stream crossing that is permitted.”

Appalachian Voices is a leading nonprofit advocate for a healthy environment and just economy in the Appalachian region, and a driving force in America’s shift from fossil fuels to a clean energy future.


Mountain Valley Pipeline threatens the Greenbrier River, Letter, Beckley Register~Herald, March 27, 2021

The Greenbrier River is one of West Virginia’s crown jewels. Why risk ramming the 42-inch Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) across it so the big out-of-state energy corporation can profit?

After the courts threw out MVP’s slapdash plans to dig a trench across the Greenbrier, the MVP is asking the state to approve – six years into the project – a new plan to bore under the river.

The bore at Pence Springs would use half a million gallons of water mixed with drilling mud and take up to four months to complete. It will be the longest bore on the MVP – nine times the average. If any of that drilling mud gets into the river, it would be a disaster for both tourism – the one industry offering real hope for the area – and the health of the river itself.

MVP has a terrible record. State officials in West Virginia and Virginia have fined the project more than $2.7 million because – as the Roanoke Times put it – “construction on steep mountainsides has led to muddy runoff, and to hundreds of violations of environmental regulations meant to control erosion and sedimentation.”

Environmental Hydrologist Dr. Jacob Hileman says the MVP would have more impact on forests and streams than any other gas pipeline. He called the MVP “an unprecedented and highly consequential experiment.”

Why do we have to risk the best things we have? Will we continue to allow West Virginia to be a sacrifice zone for big energy corporations, or will we protect our vulnerable water resources? Sadly, the Legislature seems to want to ignore the health and safety of our water. I hope the WV Department of Environmental Protection doesn’t ignore MVP’s impact on the Greenbrier River.

Let’s stop this misguided pipeline project now and get to work on renewable energy projects for a sustainable, clean energy future!

>> Leslee McCarty, Founding Member, Greenbrier River Watershed Association, Lewisburg, WV

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