Richmond, VA — Today, the U.S. Forest Service published its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) for the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), a proposed 303-mile fracked gas pipeline through Virginia and West Virginia that would contribute the equivalent of 26 coal plants’ worth of carbon emissions. The FSEIS allows MVP to cross 3.5 pristine miles of the Jefferson National Forest and represents the company’s third attempt to receive approval for the controversial crossing. MVP suffered another blow last week when a crucial water permit for construction in West Virginia was thrown out.
Outcry from impacted communities in Appalachia has been immense. Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) supporters submitted more than 4,000 comments over the last year in opposition to the pipeline during comment periods for numerous permits, including several hundred during the Forest Service comment period. Moreover, construction of large, new fossil fuel projects is incompatible with both national climate goals and global commitments, including President Joe Biden’s pledge to reduce emissions by over 50% by 2030.
Anne Havemann, the General Counsel for CCAN, stated:
“We are gravely disappointed in the Forest Service’s decision to allow the Mountain Valley Pipeline to rip through the cherished Jefferson National Forest. With this decision, the Forest Service is not fulfilling its mission to ‘sustain the health of the nation’s forests’ so as to ‘meet the needs of present and future generations.’ Present and future generations need a pristine environment and a stable climate, not a fracked-gas pipeline that destroys forests, pollutes waterways, and exacerbates global warming. CCAN is committed to ensuring that no gas ever flows through the Mountain Valley Pipeline.”
In the last several weeks, MVP has had permits both vacated and issued by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Industry analysts are now skeptical of a 2023 in-service date. Federal “permitting reform” to speed fossil fuel project approval is stagnant, and new legal challenges have been mounted against MVP’s recently reissued Biological Opinion by CCAN and partners.
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