MVP Didn’t Listen: Key Permits Revoked Again
Numerous experts warned Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) that their proposed massive pipeline could not be safely built and should not traverse the steepest terrain and most fragile and precious soils and waterways in the eastern U.S. Further, Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioners (FERC) warned that MVP should not begin construction until all permits are litigated and final. Instead, they rushed headlong into construction as soon as they were granted eminent domain authority by the FERC.
Three Key Permits Revoked or On Hold. In the last few weeks, MVP again lost key permits to cross our National Forest, or authorizations to traverse our streams & wetlands.
- US Forest Service and BLM authorizations for two crossings of Jefferson National Forest in and near Craig County were revoked on January 25, 2022, by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Richmond, VA. This is the second time these permits were removed but this time the ruling also documents violations of the Forest Management rules that Preserve Craig attorneys pointed out. Therefore MVP is unlikely to be allowed to cross our public lands.
- US Fish & Wildlife’s Biological Opinion was invalidated. On February 3, 2022, the courts vacated the opinion as being inaccurate and incomplete, noting that the project would likely harm important endangered species in Craigs Creek and other special waterways. Of note, an MVP contractor actually prepared this underpinning review even though it is required before any permits can be granted.
- The Army Corps of Engineers affirmed last week that they will not consider issuing the Section 404 permit which MVP requires to cross waterways, unless a valid Biological Opinion has been issued by USFW.
Meanwhile, EQT, the initial designer/owner/manager of MVP is no longer an owner. Project costs have more than doubled – now to over seven BILLION dollars. Other court cases are still pending. Hundreds of violations and millions of dollars in fines have been levied by two states and the damage to waterways, land, viewsheds, soils, and caves is well-documented. Normally, three strikes and you are out, but MVP still plans to resume construction soon where the FERC permit alone allows it. FERC has been asked to issue a Stop Work Order, as they did in the past when the Forest Service permits were revoked.
Preserve Craig and allies still have other open appeals and lawsuits pending against the FERC, the State Water Control Board (VA DEQ) and MVP. We intend to win these cases as well.
Preserve Craig believes that it is our sacred duty to do everything in our power to cherish Craig County and oppose the destruction that Mountain Valley Pipeline is now causing.
It’s been months since the last Preserve Craig column, because there wasn’t much to report until now. Know that Preserve Craig continues every effort to stop the project and this ungodly destruction:
- Continue raising the money for attorneys to fight and win in the courts.
- Convince our elected officials and the courts that the Natural Gas Act is wrong and unconstitutional.
- Affirm that our water and quality of life is more precious and more important than the fantasy of exporting gas for private profit.
- Watchdog every foot of construction and report about the violations and devastation.
- And, equally important, look to the future to make sure no more projects like this can attempt to come through our mountains.
Preserve Craig is a participant in the Mountain Valley Watch (MVW), a collaboration of volunteers, nonprofits, and private interests. MVW is documenting construction activity of the Mountain Valley Pipeline to assure compliance with environmental regulations during construction. Call or text to 833-MVWATCH (833-689-2824) with any info on harm MVP is causing.
We Need Help to Protect Our Community
We need your donations to protect this special place. Preserve Craig, Inc. is a 501C3 nonprofit volunteer public charity formed in 1991 to protect our natural, historical, and cultural resources. Tax-deductible donations can be made online at www.preservecraig.org or by mail to: Preserve Craig, Inc., PO Box 730, New Castle, VA. 24127.