Pittsburgh, PA — Late Friday, at the request of a coalition of clean water advocates including the Sierra Club and Appalachian Mountain Advocates, the Pittsburgh District of the Army Corps of Engineers suspended a third permit that the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) must have in order to build through waterways in Wetzel and Harrison Counties in West Virginia. This action follows MVP’s loss of a stream crossing permit in southern West Virginia in a federal court decision, and the Army Corps’ suspension of MVP’s Virginia stream crossing permit. MVP is required to have Nationwide Permit 12 authorizations from three Army Corps of Engineer districts in order to continue construction; it now has zero. As a result, MVP is now prohibited from any construction in any stream or wetland in its path.
The clean water advocates who brought this challenge are now calling on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to halt all work on the pipeline, as FERC’s order approving the project requires that all permits be in place for construction to take place anywhere along its 303-mile route.
The action is the result of an October 11, 2018 request to the Corps by attorneys from Appalachian Mountain Advocates on behalf of the Sierra Club, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Indian Creek Watershed Association, New River Conservancy, Appalachian Voices, and Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
In response, Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign Representative Joan Walker released the following statement:
“No matter the area, there is no way to build fracked gas pipelines that doesn’t endanger or water, our communities, or our climate. We’re pleased to see today’s suspension, and demand that FERC immediately halt all construction on the dirty and dangerous Mountain Valley Pipeline. We cannot allow corporate polluters to lock us in to decades more of fossil fuels when clean, renewable energy is available and ready to use now.”
Derek Teaney, Senior Attorney at Appalachian Mountain Advocates, released the following statement:
“The Pittsburgh District did the right thing in granting our request to suspend MVP’s last stream crossing permit. Now the ball is in FERC’s court to put a stop to upland construction. Not only is continued construction unlawful, but it makes no sense–environmentally, financially, or otherwise–to allow MVP to install its pipeline in between streams and wetlands now and just assume that it will ultimately be able to come back later and complete its stream crossings. It is surprising that FERC hasn’t yet put a stop to this illegal, wasteful, and inefficient construction method that MVP is undertaking.”
Anne Havemann, General Counsel at Chesapeake Climate Action Network, released the following statement:
“Friday’s suspension makes clear yet again that the permits hastily given to the fracked-gas Mountain Valley Pipeline don’t stand up to scrutiny. Key permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline have been thrown out again and again, confirming that this pipeline — and the similarly destructive Atlantic Coast Pipeline — is too dangerous to ever be built.
“Despite this, construction for most of this dangerous pipeline continues. FERC must issue a stop-work order on the entire pipeline — to do otherwise is completely unacceptable.”
Howdy Henritz, Indian Creek Watershed Association President, said:
“This is welcome news, but the FERC must now issue a Stop Work Order for all MVP construction activities along its entire route. Muddy water has been spewing into our waterways from upland construction. It is outrageous that FERC has allowed MVP to continue upland construction without having all required permits. The environmental costs borne by landowners today as MVP construction continues unabated is unconscionable. The financial costs to be borne by gas customers in the future will be intolerable.
Angie Rosser, West Virginia Rivers Coalition Executive Director, said:
“FERC must apply the brakes on this project. The unlawful permitting of this project proves the old adage, ‘haste makes waste’. We simply can’t afford more waste in our streams for the benefit of multi-billion dollar corporations who can shift the financial consequences of its haste ultimately upon its customers.”