Stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline

Learn how to fight back

Big Gas wants to build a huge new fracked-gas pipeline through the Blue Ridge and Appalachian regions of Virginia and West Virginia called the Mountain Valley Pipeline.  This pipeline is being built with a lifetime of 40 years and will lock us into dirty energy for decades. This is NOT the future we need and it flies in the face of the Commonwealth’s historic clean energy standards. From fueling toxic fracking, to removing mountain ridgetops, to polluting majority Black neighborhoods, to leaking heat-­trapping methane, this pipeline would harm our communities and our climate every step of the way. 

Click HERE for a downloadable factsheet.

Learn how to join the Citizen Monitoring initative.

CCAN is committed to working alongside Virginians on the front lines of the Mountain Valley Pipeline to stop this monstrous pipeline. We are also legally intervening in the permit process to hold decision-makers allowing new pipelines in Virginia accountable.

Click here to learn more about how to take action resisting the Virginia pipelines with CCAN Action Fund.

 

The Mountain Valley Pipeline

The proposed new Virginia pipelines would transport fracked-gas across the state.
Proposed map of pipelines in Virginia. Photo Credit: The Roanoke Times.

EQT and NextEra’s proposed 300-mile, $6 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline would require up to four new compressor stations ­facilities that keep the gas pressurized as it travels­, subjecting communities to air pollution, groundwater contamination, unsafe noise levels, lowered property values and on­site accidents. Additionally, the timeline keeps being extended, which goes to show that the pipeline isn’t truly needed, and only increases the cost. The builders claim that 92% of the pipeline is completed, but in reality, it’s only 51% completed, with much work to be done in the most dangerous, but also most beautiful and pristine terrain. This is the most expensive pipeline ever on a cost-per-mile basis.

The Stakes for Our Communities and Our Climate Are High

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 8.33.59 AMClimate: Building new pipelines would incentivize more fracking across Virginia and surrounding areas, and more fracking means more emissions of methane, a powerful heat-­trapping gas. The pipelines would also trigger direct emissions of carbon dioxide from compressor station engines and diesel fuel equipment, and leak methane emissions. According to growing scientific data, fracked gas could disrupt the climate on par with coal, when factoring in the full cycle of emissions from extraction to piping to and burning. With rising seas already flooding Virginia’s coastal communities, this is a risk we can’t afford to take.

Virginia tells Dominion Energy “NO PIPELINE.”Public Safety: A pipeline “blowout” near Appomattox, Virginia in 2008 created a fireball reported to be ¼ mile high, injured five residents (including three who suffered second and third degree burns), destroyed two houses and damaged 95 more.5

Property Values: The Forensic Appraisal Group LTD found that the negative impact of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on property values could be “up to 30% or more” and that the presence of a 42 ­inch, high pressure natural gas pipeline could lead to insurance and mortgage issues.Similar impacts are expected for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Water Quality: Run-off and sedimentation during construction, as well as chemical additives used to keep rights ­of­ way clear can impact local surface waters, and chemicals could potentially leak into groundwater.

Iconic Mountains and Forests: The current proposed routes for this projects takes it through some of the most beautiful land in Virginia, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Monongahela National Forest, the Appalachian Trail and the George Washington National Forest, permanently scarring landscapes and destroying critical habitat.

Environmental Justice: The MVP developers are proposing to site a dirty compressor station for the project in a vulnerable, majority-Black community of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. And the Southgate expansion would run through indigenous communities in Virginia and North Carolina, impacting sacred rivers for the Monacan and Occaneechi Tribes.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline Fight: Are We Winning? 

A growing coalition of grassroots groups are working to oppose the Mountain Valley Pipeline, including the regional coalition Preserve Our Water, Heritage, and Rights (POWHR). CCAN has been supporting opponents of the pipeline in organizing music festivals and rallies to bring attention to the issue and raise the funds to keep fighting this dirty and dangerous project, and worked with groups to bring landowners, farmers and others living along the route of this pipeline to open houses and scoping meetings.

Currently, eight out of the ten major banks are invested in this pipeline. Con Edison Transmission, a major investor in the pipeline, has capped its backing of the project at 10% of the total cost, reason being that it does not see much of a future in natural gas ventures. We must put pressure on investors and shareholders of these companies to encourage them to pull their funding, because clearly they know this pipeline is not a great investment.

FERC released its flawed Environmental Impact Statement for the MVP in June of 2017, which was roundly criticized by citizens, advocacy groups, and government agencies alike. This happened after tens of thousands of U.S. citizens submitted comments demanding that FERC do a thorough, accurate and unbiased review of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, and ultimately reject the project. Almost every relevant federal government agency also expressed deep concerns and criticisms of the draft review, including the Department of Interior, National Parks Service, and Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality — and both the Bureau of Land Management and the Environmental Protection Agency questioned whether the project is even necessary. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality also denied a pipeline extension, called Southgate, which would have been 75 additional miles of pipeline, costing $500 million.

CCAN is continuing to build grassroots opposition and a robust legal case. Since construction began along the MVP in 2018, everyday citizens have participated in bold and courageous actions to raise awareness of the injustice  of the MVP. Chief among these have been a number of tree sits, where property owners and allies have literally refused to leave trees along the MVP’s path to slow the encroachment onto private lands. They have been ordered down from their trees, though, and as of late 2020, face $500/day penalties for their activism.

While public comment is now closed, there is good news on the legal front. A key permit for the Lambert compressor station — which would be needed to extended the project into North Carolina — is currently under fire for environmental justice concerns. It would be sited in a majority-Black neighborhood, spewing dangerous pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, particulate matter, and more. This pipeline’s permit has been delayed after a massive outpouring of public comments and concern over the project. 

Perhaps more significantly, a federal circuit court granted a stay regarding water crossings, meaning that the pipeline can no longer cross over hundreds of different streams throughout Virginia. In July 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency recommended that this key permit not be granted. 

However, this isn’t the end. The company could seek individual water crossing permits in lieu of the blanket permit. Resistance camps remain underway. Meanwhile, the MVP continues to construct as fast as possible with more violations being documented on a near-daily basis — more than 300 egregious water quality violations have already been found.

Virginia Needs Wind and Solar Solutions ­­– Not Dirty and Dangerous Pipelines

Virginians make it clear they oppose new pipeline infrastructure. Contrary to industry claims, Virginia doesn’t need this pipelines. In fact, much of the gas is likely to flow through Virginia rather than power the state. Virginia can build a better economy by investing in solar and wind power and creating more clean energy, permanent jobs and a stable climate without jeopardizing our homes, health and heritage for new pipelines.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline’s costs have ballooned from $3.7 billion to $6.2 billion. In 2016, Chesapeake Climate Action Network carried out an analysis comparing the costs of the similar (but now dead) Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and found that for the $5 billion intended for that pipeline, Virginia could redirect the funds to:

  • Install enough solar panels to power nearly 400,000 Virginia homes.1
  • Reduce carbon emissions at a rate equal to taking 600,0002 cars off the road.
  • Installing and maintaining this solar industry would create 2,500 temporary construction jobs and support 216 permanent jobs annually,3 plus additional jobs due to lower energy prices over time, and improved health outcomes of workers across the state. By comparison, the Dominion commissioned Chmura analytical economy report predicted that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would support 1462 short term jobs and 118 jobs annually.4

Winning the pipeline battle: Two major projects down. One to go!

Until recently, Virginia was facing pipeline expansion projects from all fronts. But we’ve had major success in beating them back: 

We beat the Header Injustice Project: In 2020, Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) proposed a massive pipeline project called the “Header Improvement Project” — a horribly misleading misnomer. CCAN called it the “Header Injustice Project” because it was a travesty of environmental injustice. The proposal was for three new gas pipelines, totaling 24 miles, and three new or expanded gas compressor stations from Northern Virginia, through the middle of the state, and to the shore in Hampton Roads. Key components of the project would run through majority-minority communities. To fight this pipeline, CCAN joined with key allies to form the Stop the Abuse of Virginian Energy (SAVE) Coalition. During the height of the coronavirus crisis, we worked with the coalition to turn out hundreds of Virginians to virtual public meetings, led Twitter storms, and highlighted to the media the environmental racism that this project embodied. And our efforts worked! Read more here. 

We beat the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: On July 5, 2020, after six years of dedicated and powerful opposition, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The ACP would have carried fracked gas for 600 miles from West Virginia, across the Appalachian Trail and into Virginia and the Carolinas, costing the people $8 billion and visiting immeasurable harm on the communities in its path. The ACP was an environmental justice nightmare, siting a compressor station in the historically Black neighborhood of Union Hill in Buckingham County. As US Circuit Judge Stephanie Thacker wrote in the ruling revoking an air pollution permit for this compressor station, “environmental justice is not merely a box to be checked.” Read more here.

Will the Mountain Valley Pipeline be next? 

Join the Movement: No New Pipelines!

Protestors take a stand against new pipelines in Virginia. The good news is that we are NOT powerless to stop new pipelines in Virginia. Dominion and the other companies behind these projects need permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and state regulators before they can move forward. A groundswell of resistance to these projects is spreading across Virginia and the region.

We won’t stand by as Dominion and their allies destroy our neighbors’ dreams and dig us into a deeper hole on climate change.

We need our leaders to stop these dangerous new pipelines and instead stand with us to bring clean energy solutions to Virginia.

Take Action!

Pledge to Resist the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. Click here to pledge to serious, dignified, peaceful civil disobedience that could get you arrested, or pledge support to those who do, to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline for fracked gas.

CONTACT

Want to get more involved? Contact Elle de la Cancela, Central Virginia Organizer at elle@chesapeakeclimate.org.

Key Articles 

Resources

SOURCES

1. U.S. Energy Information Administration. “2013 Average Monthly Bill- Residential.” 2014, <http://www.eia.gov/electricity/sales_revenue_price/pdf/table5_a.pdf> Based on capital costs assumptions, and a median 20.3% capacity factor, we assume a solar output of 5,631,220 megawatt-hours. The average monthly electricity usage in Virginia is 1,156 kilowatt-hours

2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “GHG Equivalencies Calculator – Calculations and References.” N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www2.epa.gov/energy/ghg-equivalencies-calculator-calculations-and-references#vehicles>

3. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. “About JEDI Photovoltaics Model.” N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/jedi/about_jedi_pv.html>. Calculated using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Jobs and Economic Development Indicator (JEDI) “Scenario_PV_Model_rel._PVS3.24.14”

4.The Economic Impact of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. Chmura Economics and Analytics for Dominion Resources, 2014.

5. “What a Pipeline Breach Looks Like. The Cost of the Pipeline. N.p. 18 Aug 2015. Web. 2 Oct 2015. <http://thecostofthepipeline.com/2015/08/18/what-a-pipeline-breach-looks-like/>.

6. Stanton, Elizabeth W., et al. Atlantic Coast Pipeline Benefits Review: Chmura and ICF Economic Benefits Reports. Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. for Southern Environmental Law Center, 2015.