"Over the past two years, federal and state agencies tasked with enforcing the nation’s environmental laws have moved repeatedly to clear roadblocks and expedite the pipeline, even changing the rules at times to ease the project’s approvals," Kate Mishkin and Ken Ward of the Gazette-Mail and Beena Raghavendran of ProPublica report. "Projects like the Mountain Valley Pipeline ... require a variety of approvals before being built. Developers and regulators must study various alternatives, describe a clear need for the project, and show that steps will be taken to minimize damage to the environment and reduce negative effects on valuable resources like public lands and the water supply. But in numerous instances, officials greenlit the pipeline despite serious unanswered questions."
For example, when citizen groups sued on the grounds that pipeline construction would illegally block the flow of rivers for too long, the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers moved to rewrite their rules for how long pipeline construction can block rivers' flow. West Virginians have seen such behavior from state and local governments before with the coal industry, and the pattern is continuing with natural gas, Mishkin, Ward, and Rahavendran report.