In reckless decision, FERC approves two massive, risky fracked-gas pipelines in Appalachia

Cat McCue, Appalachian Voices Director of Communications, 434-293-6373, cat [at]

In July, 2016, more than 600 people gathered in Richmond, Va., for the “March on the Mansion” to ask Gov. Terry McAuliffe to stand against proposed pipelines in the state.

In July 2016, more than 600 people gathered in Richmond, Va., for the “March on the Mansion” to ask Gov. Terry McAuliffe to stand against proposed pipelines in the state.

VIRGINIA – Late yesterday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the controversial and dangerous inter-state Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. The projects are still pending approval from state agencies like the Virginia State Water Control Board, which meets in December to consider the projects’ impacts on state waters.

North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality recently rejected the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, citing an insufficient erosion and sediment control plan for the project. And West Virginia’s environmental agency has asked a court to remand its state approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline as inadequately assessing harm to state waters.

Lara Mack, Virginia Field Organizer for Appalachian Voices, released the following statement:

“We condemn FERC’s decision to grant approval for both of these pipelines, but ultimately, the fate of these projects will be decided by Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. It is up to the states to properly evaluate the harm posed by these projects and deny their approval.

“In Virginia alone, the pipelines would cross pristine streams, rivers, wetlands and other waters at more than 1,000 places – including tunneling dozens of feet underneath the James and other major rivers – and bring significant peril to the quality and safety of our water supply. While we expected this decision given FERC’s history of rubber stamping approvals — including pipeline projects that have been rejected by courts and sent back to the agency for further review – we are nonetheless disappointed in the disregard for Virginia’s water quality.

“We applaud Commissioner LaFleur for the careful consideration that was expressed in her dissenting opinion rejecting the pipelines as not being in the public interest, and, noting that FERC has not properly balanced the environmental issues ‘including the downstream impacts’ of the projects with the need.

“In Virginia, residents will now rely on the State Water Control Board, which has the authority to deny the required state water permits if the pipelines are likely to fail Virginia’s water quality standards. We call on the water board members to fulfill their duty to protect Virginians and deny the energy companies their needless pipelines, which would harm Virginia businesses, communities and resident across the state. At the very least, we urge them to meet their obligation to request more information and time to ensure they are sufficiently analyzing the effect on our water.”

Appalachian Voices works in partnership with the two grassroots coalitions working to stop the pipelines – Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights (MVP) and Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ACP).

Press statement from Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights (POWHR) coalition regarding the Mountain Valley Pipeline

Press statement from Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA) regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline