Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Mountain Valley Pipeline regains three key permits, moving it closer to resuming construction

"A path across nearly 1,000 streams and wetlands was cleared Friday for the Mountain Valley Pipeline," Laurence Hammack reports for The Roanoke Times. "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reissued three permits for the natural gas pipeline being built in Virginia and West Virginia, nearly two years after they were invalidated by a federal appeals court." 

The decision brings the project one step closer to resuming construction, but it's not the only hurdle facing the controversial project, which halted construction in August 2019 following a lawsuit over its impact on endangered species.

"Also on Friday, the U.S. Forest Service released its proposal for the 303-mile pipeline to pass through the Jefferson National Forest, an approval that was struck down in a separate ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals," Hammack reports. "A decision on that permit is not expected until the end of the year."

The environmentalists who filed suit against the pipeline project sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking for an administrative stay of the stream-crossing permits. "Derek Teaney, with the nonprofit law firm Appalachian Mountain Advocates, wrote that he intends to file a legal challenge," Hammack reports. "Teaney represents the Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Indian Creek Watershed Association, Wild Virginia, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Appalachian Voices."

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