This week we’ll provide an overview of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), what it will take to stop it and the costs to do so.
This horrendous project can and must be stopped, for the good of all the people. But it requires continuing opposition by citizens and legislators speaking out. We also need to raise and spend money to prove in court that this is not for “the public good” but rather taking of private land for no benefit to the citizens of Virginia, only for profit by export of gas. We are convinced that the process and the project will violate the U.S. Constitution, the Virginia Constitution, and numerous laws and regulations intended to protect our property, our precious clean water and us.
In August, we reported that several Federal and State agencies must approve the MVP before it can proceed to take private land and harm this region. None have given their approval since that report, due in part to massive opposition being pursued with each of these agencies. Here’s an update:
U.S. Forest Service: Our Forest Service would have to finalize its draft decision to change its long-established management plans for Jefferson National Forest. They would have to allow degradation of the viewsheds for the Appalachian Trail and permit permanent harm to woodlands, waterways and soils. Preserve Craig science and legal experts objected to the Forest Service’s proposed Record of Decision to modify its management plan to allow Mountain Valley Pipeline to build on extremely steep slopes, permanently erode soil and pollute our water, remove old growth timber and build in roadless areas. The Forest Service’s own documents indicate that they are basing their decisions on MVP’s claims, not on the independent expertise that has been presented. The Forest Service appears to have even agreed to let MVP provide “litigation support” to the Forest Service, presumably to defend their illegal actions. If the Forest Service announced a final decision to change its plan, legal challenges will need to be filed within 30 days and will cost in the range of $30,000.
Bureau of Land Management: The BLM is proposing to issue the permits necessary for MVP to cross public lands. It can’t do so until the Forest Service changes its management plan. Preserve Craig submitted extensive comments opposing the Bureau’s environmental assessment, schedule and its procedures. Before going to court, an appeal of any BLM decision must be filed within 30 days at an estimated cost of $7,500. If that appeal is denied, a federal court case would be the next step at costs more than $25,000.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC): MVP’s application is pending before the FERC, which would grant eminent domain authority to take private land for this project. Preserve Craig and numerous other groups and individuals continue to submit information to the FERC documenting the massive deception in MVP’s filings and in the FERC’s conclusions that the project should proceed. The FERC now has a quorum of commissioners. Comments are still being accepted until they vote on MVP’s application. Two lawsuits are being filed against the FERC and MVP stating that this “taking” is unconstitutional. If the FERC approves the project a request for rehearing and a stay must be filed within 30 days at an estimated cost of $15,000. If the decision is not reversed, a Judicial Review would have to be filed with 60 days, at costs at least $40,000.
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ): DEQ must issue 401 water permits for MVP to cross numerous creeks and rivers and approve sedimentation and erosion control plans. Some of those plans have not even been submitted yet, but DEQ is closing its public input period on October 22. If DEQ issues certification it must be appealed in Federal Court within 60 days, at costs estimated to be about $37,000.
These actions are time-sensitive, and, combined, will cost more than $150,000. But that is a drop in the bucket compared to the damage that MVP will cause to our water, our economy and our quality of life if it is allowed to be built. We know that it can and must be stopped. The good news is that we are not alone and that many organizations are coming together to oppose MVP.
More information on these efforts and what you can do to participate can be found at the Preserve Craig website.
Preserve Craig has received a few generous contributions in the last few weeks to continue its efforts. Thank you for this support!! But it is going to take quite a bit more money and work to stop this project, so any tax-deductible donations will be appreciated.
Preserve Craig, Inc. is a 501C3 nonprofit volunteer public charity formed in 1991 using volunteers and donations to protect our natural, historical, and cultural resources. Tax-deductible donations are welcome online at http://www.preservecraig.org or by mail to: Preserve Craig, Inc., PO Box 730, New Castle, VA. 24127. Phone: 540-309-9560. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-Chair Preserve Craig, Inc.