Preserve Craig Wins Critical Legal Battle:
Court Cancels MVP Permits and Forest Plan Changes
Last Friday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with the lawsuits filed by Preserve Craig and several other groups, and rescinded both the Forest Service Management Plan changes and the BLM Permits that had granted the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) permission to cross the Jefferson National Forest. The three-judge panel unanimously ruled that approval of MVP’s project was arbitrary and capricious and violated their own regulations and other laws, cancelling MVP’s license to cross the 3+ miles of federal land and the Appalachian Trail.
Preserve Craig has now asked that MVP halt all construction on the entire 303-mile project, because the conditions of the umbrella federal permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires they have all state and federal permits in place. As of press time, MVP has not commented, but is in trouble on numerous other fronts as well. Before this new court ruling, MVP had just disclosed that the project would not be completed on time and expected in-service date would not be until 2019.
The Virginia Department of Environment Quality issued its first round of violation notices that can lead to major fines and stop work orders, based on inspections in May that showed inadequate erosion controls in place. In West Virginia, they have lost key Army Corps river-crossing permits.
MVP is the brainchild of EQT. EQT, the managing partner and largest owner of MVP, was already in serious financial trouble before this most recent court ruling. EQT continues to lose money in its core business, and is now selling off assets and announcing changes in its proposed stock-split scheme. EQT’s stock price continues to fall. Last month, financial advisory firms changed their recommendations for EQT from “Hold” to “Sell”, the lowest rating a stock can receive. This week EQT sold off its conventional wells to Diversified Gas & Oil, reporting that it is doing so “to reduce debt.”
According to its quarterly filing to the SEC, EQT is still planning to do a new public offering showcasing the MVP pipeline, but that stock split, to be called “SpinCo,” also appears to be in trouble. MVP continues to look like a Ponzi-scheme, bringing in new investors to cover costs. Now they propose to split off their pipeline businesses in a new public offer appropriately called SpinCo and then retain less than 20% of that business. When MVP was originally proposed over four years ago, EQT insisted they would always be the majority shareholder and managing partner.
On an even more local front, MVP asked permission and received the OK from the FERC to do night-time construction. Preserve Craig’s attorneys had filed legal objections to the request, which violates their own original construction plans. Night-time heavy-equipment construction violates county and state ordinances and is dangerous and disturbing to quality of life.
Preserve Craig has asked that the Commonwealth of Virginia withdraw its permits for MVP. The State Water Control Board will meet on August 21 in Richmond to hear reports of damage to Virginia waters by MVP construction.
Preserve Craig is working to nullify all permits that MVP obtained from State and Federal Agencies using faulty claims of public benefit. You can help by planning to attend the State Water Control Board (SWCB) meeting on August 21, 2018 in Richmond.
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.
The MVW is monitoring the Mountain Valley Pipeline for problems during construction: water source contamination, slope failure, soil erosion into waterbodies, stream channel damage, and damage to adjacent properties. Violations of erosion control regulations observed during construction are being documented and reported to responsible agencies for corrective action.
FEDERAL COURT RULING HALTS MVP
“MVP’s proposed project would be the largest pipeline of its kind to cross the Jefferson National Forest. American citizens understandably place their trust in the Forest Service to protect and preserve this country’s forests, and they deserve more than silent acquiescence to a pipeline company’s justification for upending large swaths of national forestlands. Citizens also trust in the Bureau of Land Management to prevent undue degradation to public lands by following the dictates of the MLA <Mineral Leasing Act>.
As a result, for the reasons set forth herein, we grant the petition for review of the Forest Service Rule of Decision and vacate that decision. We also grant the petition for review of the BLM’s Rule of Decision and vacate that decision. We remand to the respective agencies for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
PETITIONS FOR REVIEW GRANTED,
VACATED AND REMANDED”
UNANIMOUS THREE JUDGE PANEL RULING, UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEAL FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT, RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, JULY 27, 2018
From EQT SEC Filing 8-K ON 7/26/18:
“SpinCo Share Retention
EQT plans to retain 19.9% of the shares of the new midstream company (SpinCo) that will be spun-off to EQT shareholders. EQT currently plans to dispose its retained SpinCo shares after the spin-off. The proceeds from the sale of SpinCo shares will be used to reduce EQT’s post-spin debt and to fund the stock buyback program.”
Help 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. Phone: 540-309-9560. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org