Appeals court vacates permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

Local News

The Sierra Club said a permit for the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline has been vacated by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

A statement issued by the grassroots environmental organization said the permit was issued by the Army Corps of Engineers and allowed MVP to build a natural gas pipeline through streams and wetlands.

MVP said it is disappointed with the decision which covered stream and wetland crossings along a 160 mile stretch of the route in West Virginia.

A statement from MVP said it is evaluating options for moving forward with construction.

STATEMENT FROM SIERRA CLUB:

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacated the permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act for the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The ruling revokes MVP’s authority to construct its pipeline through waterways in the Corps’ Huntington District, and implicates MVP’s ability to trench through streams and wetlands anywhere along its route  Attorneys from Appalachian Mountain Advocates argued the case on behalf of the Sierra Club, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Indian Creek Watershed Association, Appalachian Voices, and Chesapeake Climate Action Network. The case was argued before a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit just last Friday.

Because the MVP’s certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) specifies that all necessary permits must be in place before the project can proceed anywhere, MVP must also halt work along its entire route.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

“We applaud the Fourth Circuit’s decision to vacate the permit for the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline. Today’s decision shows polluting corporations trying to run roughshod through Appalachia will be held accountable. In their haste to make a quick buck, MVP rushed essential processes because they knew there was no way their dirty project would ever satisfy commonsense protections for water and health. Now, FERC must require MVP to immediately stop construction on the pipeline.”

Howdy Henritz, President of the Indian Creek Watershed Association said:

“Indian Creek Watershed Association applauds the Fourth Circuit decision today. We have been saying for years that the impacts of this MVP project on the waters of our state need to be assessed on an individual stream crossing analysis. The steep slopes and karst topography of WV watersheds deserve independent evaluation.”

Chesapeake Climate Action Network General Counsel Anne Havemann said:

“By vacating permit after permit for the MVP, the Fourth Circuit has been forced to do what the federal government should have been doing all along: protecting the public and the environment from this harmful and unneeded pipeline. Today’s welcome decision is just one in a string of decisions invalidating MVP’s federal permits. The public deserves no less than for regulators to take a real look at the impacts of this massive project. Once they do, we’re confident they will conclude that there is simply no safe way to build the Mountain Valley Pipeline.”

STATEMENT FROM MOUNTAIN VALLEY PIPELINE:

Mountain Valley Pipeline is disappointed with the decision by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate the Clean Water Act Section 404 stream and wetland crossing permit (Nationwide 12 permit) issued by the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). This decision affects stream and wetland crossings along approximately 160 miles of the route in West Virginia, and the MVP team is evaluating options to understand its ability to continue with construction activities that do not include stream and wetland crossings along this portion of the route.
 
During the past few months, the WV Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) has proposed modifications to its Section 401 Nationwide Permit Certification that, among other things, clarify that a 72-hour limitation does not apply to dry-cut crossing methods and other environmentally protective crossing methods requiring more than 72 hours to complete; and that crossing methods that have been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the West Virginia Public Service Commission are exempt from the 72-hour requirement. The public comment period for WVDEP’s proposed Section 401 NWP modifications closed on September 17, 2018. Upon completion of the modification process, MVP intends to apply for a new permit with the USACE. MVP expects to secure a new Nationwide 12 permit from the USACE early in 2019.
 
With ongoing evaluation of its construction plan, MVP continues to target a full in-service during the fourth quarter 2019. MVP is committed to the safety of its communities, to the preservation and protection of the environment, and to the continued responsible construction of this important natural gas infrastructure project that will serve homes and business in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast United States.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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