US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds Mountain Valley Pipeline water permit; CCAN objects

Richmond, VA
On March 29, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to uphold the Clean Water Act 401 permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The Court found the DEQ’s granting of this critical stream-crossing permit “was neither arbitrary nor capricious.”  

The Clean Water Act 401 permit addresses water crossings in the state of Virginia. This permit would allow for both trenchless and boring construction under protected waterways. The MVP is currently facing legal challenges to the 401 permit in West Virginia. Additionally, it lacks the Clean Water Act 404 permit – the federal companion permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a 303-mile fracked gas pipeline running through West Virginia and western Virginia. If completed, it would account for the carbon equivalent of 26 new coal fired power plants annually. The pipeline has been the subject of national debate with Sen. Joe Manchin’s attempts to push the project through Congress by limiting oversight and relaxing regulations. MVP LLC is additionally seeking a new permit to cross the Jefferson National Forest. Lacking these permits, the MVP cannot begin any construction.

Elle De La Cancela, the Virginia Campaign Coordinator for CCAN, stated: 

“We are disappointed in the court’s ruling today. Time and time again, the MVP has shown that it has been unable to maintain water quality standards in the Commonwealth. We fear the impending impact on wildlife and the climate if construction were resumed.”

With a formal application in 2015, the Mountain Valley Pipeline was scheduled to be completed in 2018. It is now years past its deadline and $6 billion over budget, due to mounting concerns on construction and legal challenges. Prior cases over water quality violations resulted in millions paid to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. 

Victoria Higgins, 201-937-7017,
KC Chartrand,, 240-620-7144

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The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

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