MVP Blocked from Crossing Forest or Waterways
Criminal Investigation Underway
Three Disappointing Decisions
Although MVP has won two recent court decisions and one Virginia state agency reversal, the project is still stalled and risks permanently harming our region unless it is stopped.
Federal prosecutors are gathering data from MVP and its various investor-partners as part of a criminal investigation for violations of EPA and other federal water protection laws. EQM Midstream was forced to disclose to its stockholders and the SEC that the project is under grand jury scrutiny and criminal investigation. In addition, MVP is continuing to mislead shareholders and banks, claiming the project is mostly complete. In fact, its own filings with the FERC show that less than 50% of the pipe has been buried. These events are triggering interest in class action and other filings for fraud or securities violations.
In addition, at Least three other challenges are blocking MVP:
— MVP is still blocked from crossing the Jefferson National Forest when the Forest Service/BLM permit was vacated by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In December 2018, the same 3-judge panel of the 4th Circuit issued a decision that the Forest Service does not have authority to allow the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail – a decision that should also affect MVP. On Feb. 25, the Court refused ACP’s appeal for a rehearing before the full 4th Circuit Court.
— MVP is prohibited from performing any activities in streams and wetlands along its entire route because their Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide 12 permit also was also declared invalid by the 4th Circuit in Richmond.
— A decision is still pending on the Greenbrier River crossing lawsuit, a challenge by the Greenbrier River Watershed Association, Indian Creek Watershed Association, and local landowners to West Virginia’s special permit to cross the Greenbrier in violation of state-designated protection under the Natural Stream Preservation Act.
In contrast, there were three disappointing government decisions that favor MVP. January the Supreme Court declined to hear the Constitutional lawsuit led by the Gentry Locke law firm of Virginia concerning private property rights.
In February a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit returned a surprisingly quick and disappointing opinion on our suit against the FERC and MVP. Following the January 28th hearing, the 3-judge panel dismissed the case without addressing many of the significant issues raised by the suit. Options for further rehearing are being considered.
And on March 1st, the Virginia State Water Control Board reversed a December decision by voting not to consider revoking the water quality certification that had been issued to MVP. This decision came despite a lawsuit by the VA Attorney General’s Office against MVP for repeated environmental violations decision and continued reports of erosion control failures.
While recent decisions by courts and agencies have been disappointing, we have compelling reasons to continue our efforts to challenge MVP’s certificate and permits and to stop the environmental damage – current and future – caused by this massive project and its potential future operations. Preserve Craig and its allies continue to seek every avenue to halt this project. It’s not a “done deal”. … The fight is still important and worthwhile — for now and for the future.