The MVP still lacks several permits necessary to finish the project. CCAN joins groups in seeking to block construction until ALL challenges are resolved.
RICHMOND, VA. Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) reissued a Biological Opinion detailing the expected and potential impacts on wildlife from the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The previously issued Biological Opinion was vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit last year, concluding that the MVP’s environmental assessment did not adequately protect endangered species like the Roanoke logperch and the candy darter. In yesterday’s announcement, USFWS said that MVP has addressed those concerns and therefore reissued the document, removing one of several permitting barriers that must be resolved before the project can be completed.
However, USFWS noted that petitioners in Fourth Circuit litigation had submitted “voluminous materials” to the Service as they were in the process of finalizing this Opinion and those materials were not addressed. USFWS said that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other agencies will need to assess whether those materials contain new information that might prevent them from relying on this Opinion to meet their obligations.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a 303-mile fracked gas pipeline running through West Virginia and western Virginia, majority-owned by Equitrans Midstream Corporation. If completed, it would account for the carbon equivalent of 26 new coal-fired power plants annually. The MVP is still waiting on verdicts from both the DC and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and requires a Clean Water Act 404 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In addition, the MVP is seeking a renewed permit to cross the cherished Jefferson National Forest after two prior issuances were struck down by courts.
Chesapeake Climate Action Network and other environmental groups are objecting to the new permit and seeking to block any construction until all permits are acquired and unchallenged.
Statement from Elle De La Cancela, CCAN’s Central Virginia Campaign Coordinator:
“The Mountain Valley Pipeline still has much to answer for and a long way to go until the project is completed. The company’s exorbitant track record of vacated permits and water quality violations should signal that the MVP is incapable of abiding by the law. Coupled with our national and necessary shift to clean energy, I’m questioning — and I imagine investors are, too — how much money the MVP is willing to waste for a project that is billions of dollars over budget and totally out of step with national climate goals.”
In documents submitted to regulators, Equitrans expressed trepidation on a firm completion date. The company said that they were uncertain of returning the expected returns to joint partners. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is currently several years over timeline and $6 billion over budget.
Elle De La Cancela, Central VA Campaign Coordinator, email@example.com, 804-723-0441
KC Chartrand, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 240-620-7144
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