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Thursday, June 30, 2022
ArlingtonOpinionLetter: There is a chance to stop calamitous pipeline

Letter: There is a chance to stop calamitous pipeline

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Editor: The Virginia Water Control Board is poised to adopt a stream-bed permit drafted by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality that would enable it to complete the 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) between Wetzel County, W.Va., and Pittsylvania County, Va.

This wouldn’t be so remarkable except that, by now, a number of governmental bodies have weighed in against the pipeline project, including:

• The 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
• Virginia’s attorney general.
• North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality.
• The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In July 2018, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals halted construction by throwing out U.S. Forest Service/Bureau of Land Management permits sought by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

In October 2018, the 4th Circuit threw out an Army Corps of Engineers permit that waived a 72-hour limit on river-crossing construction activities.

In October 2019, the Virginia state government itself fined MVP $2 million for 200 violations of existing permits, despite the fact that Govs. McAuliffe and Northam had approved the project.

In May 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, objecting to the absence of baseline data on which to assess impacts and inadequate assessment of those impacts.

The intramural conflict bodes well for environmentalists seeking to keep fossils in the ground and landowners seeking to preserve their natural surroundings. To keep heat on, an environmental coalition is hosting an “MVP Violation Vigil” in Richmond on Dec. 11.

Audrey Clement, Arlington

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