Updated June 18, 2018
Fossil fuel companies and monopoly utilities are pushing hard to criss-cross central Appalachia with fracked-gas pipelines — not because they are needed, but because the companies stand to pocket a huge profits. These risky, dangerous and unnecessary pipelines would put thousands of Americans at risk of contaminated drinking water supplies, weakened local economies and possible explosions.
Two of the interstate pipelines are the largest proposed gas pipelines to ever cross the steep slopes and rugged terrain of the Appalachians — the Mountain Valley (MVP) and Atlantic Coast (ACP) pipelines.
Three ways to take action below.
The deadline for public comments to the State Water Control Board ended June 15.
The board had opened the comment period regarding whether the Army Corps of Engineers’ “Nationwide Permit 12” is adequate to protect Virginia waterways from the impacts of building the MVP and ACP.
Appalachian Voices and a growing number of organizations, citizens and elected officials firmly believe it is not, and we are demanding that state Department of Environmental Quality conduct a stream-by-stream analysis.
The DEQ will now process the comments it received. The board, which has ultimate voting decisions over the fate of the two pipelines, is currently scheduled to meet August 21 to review the comments. However, we are calling on the board to hold its meeting as soon as possible in light of the fact that MVP construction has already resulted in almost two dozen water pollution violations in just a few months.
(FYI, here is a good summary by our partner, Wild Virginia, of the concerns that were sent to the board about the “nationwide” permit.)
On April 11, 2018, news broke that EQT, the natural gas company behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline, is now planning to extend the MVP from it’s current terminus in Pittsylvania County, Va., about 70 miles south into North Carolina.
Appalachian Voices vigorously opposes this expansion of the ill-conceived and unneeded MVP, and is working with local communities in both states to educate residents.
The company is holding a series of “open houses” the week of June 25. We encourage people to attend! See here for more details.
The state Department of Environmental Protection waived its right to issue a water quality permit under the Clean Water Act for both the ACP and MVP, essentially giving the pipeline companies the go ahead under the Army Corps of Engineers “Nationwide Permit 12,” which is an utterly inadequate permit for projects this size and, as name indicates, is essentially a one-size-fits-all permit that fails to account site-specific conditions that will directly impact water quality.
Appalachian Voices and other groups, represented by Appalachian Mountain Advocates, are fighting the projects in court.
There is no official opportunity for public engagement at this time.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October, 2017 issued a “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” for each of the MVP and ACP. In both cases, the agency said the pipelines can be built with minimal environmental harm. We strongly disagree with this assessment (read our press release for MVP and ACP).
Appalachian Voices and dozens of other public interest groups have filed legal challenges against those FERC permits. In addition, landowners in West Virginia and Virginia have filed separate lawsuits challenging FERC’s authority to grant the power of eminent domain allowing the for-profit pipeline companies to take private property for their own gain.
FERC is current reviewing both its 1999 Pipeline Policy Statement and its policies on certification of natural gas pipelines, and is taking public comments through July 25, 2018.
This is a critical time for citizens from Appalachia and all across country to voice their objections to the rigged process FERC has been operating under for almost 20 years!