4th Circuit Court of Appeals Issues Decision Vacating
Nationwide Permit Approval
RICHMOND, VA — Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacated the permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act for the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The ruling revokes MVP’s authority to construct its pipeline through waterways in the Corps’ Huntington District, and implicates MVP’s ability to trench through streams and wetlands anywhere along its route Attorneys from Appalachian Mountain Advocates argued the case on behalf of the Sierra Club, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Indian Creek Watershed Association, Appalachian Voices, and Chesapeake Climate Action Network. The case was argued before a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit just last Friday.
Because the MVP’s certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) specifies that all necessary permits must be in place before the project can proceed anywhere, MVP must also halt work along its entire route.
In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:
“We applaud the Fourth Circuit’s decision to vacate the permit for the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline. Today’s decision shows polluting corporations trying to run roughshod through Appalachia will be held accountable. In their haste to make a quick buck, MVP rushed essential processes because they knew there was no way their dirty project would ever satisfy commonsense protections for water and health. Now, FERC must require MVP to immediately stop construction on the pipeline.”
Howdy Henritz, President of the Indian Creek Watershed Association said:
“Indian Creek Watershed Association applauds the Fourth Circuit decision today. We have been saying for years that the impacts of this MVP project on the waters of our state need to be assessed on an individual stream crossing analysis. The steep slopes and karst topography of WV watersheds deserve independent evaluation.”
Chesapeake Climate Action Network General Counsel Anne Havemann said:
“By vacating permit after permit for the MVP, the Fourth Circuit has been forced to do what the federal government should have been doing all along: protecting the public and the environment from this harmful and unneeded pipeline. Today’s welcome decision is just one in a string of decisions invalidating MVP’s federal permits. The public deserves no less than for regulators to take a real look at the impacts of this massive project. Once they do, we’re confident they will conclude that there is simply no safe way to build the Mountain Valley Pipeline.”