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Friday, August 16, 2019
Work suspended on Mountain Valley Pipeline
On Monday, a group of environmental organizations petitioned the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate a 2017 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opinion that the pipeline would not significantly harm endangered species along the pipeline's route. "The 4th Circuit has already thrown out a similar permit issued for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, ruling that the federal agency had apparently 'lost sight of its mandate,'" Hammack reports.
"Most work will be halted on a 75-mile stretch, along watersheds in the counties of Giles, Craig, Montgomery, Roanoke, Franklin, and Pittsylvania. Another 20 miles, including some streams and rivers in West Virginia, are also included," Hammack reports. "Mountain Valley also said it would cease tree-felling in areas populated by endangered bats. But with the exception of a wooded slope in Montgomery County — where two tree-sitters have been blocking work on the pipeline since last September — nearly all of the trees the company had planned to cut are already gone."
Mountain Valley spokesperson Natalie Cox said construction will continue on other areas along the pipeline where no impact on endangered species is anticipated. About 238 of the pipeline's 303 miles have already been constructed. Cox said the move would not have any "material impact" on the number of workers employed and won't delay the expected mid-2020 completion date, Hammack reports.