CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — All week long we’ve been following the big political battle over West Virginia’s Mountain Valley Pipeline in our nation’s capital, but there are also environmental concerns to be addressed. This battle has been highly politicized, but we should know an answer within the next week.
Pipeline backers include Governor Jim Justice, Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Shelley Moore Capito.
They believe extracting and selling the state’s abundant natural gas reserves will bring the Mountain State billions of dollars. But the ongoing battle over this and other pipelines has been going on for years with numerous protests and court battles.
The biggest concerns are from environmental groups which are concerned about air and water quality.
“We want to be a place of tourism. We want to be a place that attracts people for all these great and wonderful things. But if our waters get contaminated – the Elk, the Gauley, our well-water sources, and our air – we’re really up a creek, I’ll put it that way,” said Kathy Ferguson from Our Future West Virginia.
Now it isn’t just the pollution concerns. The permitting of the Mountain Valley Pipeline is tied to a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded beyond next Friday, or else it will shut down Oct. 1.
Environmentalists and other critics, such as Senator Bernie Sanders, say the two items are completely unrelated and should be dealt with in separate bills before Congress.
At this point, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Joe Biden support keeping the pipeline in the government spending bill. The deadline to decide is Friday Sept. 30.