Updated April 20, 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.
In an important move, the State Water Control Board voted April 12 to set a 30-day public comment period on whether n whether the Army Corps of Engineers’ “Nationwide Permit 12” is adequate to protect Virginia waterways from the impacts of building the MVP and ACP. The state Department of Environmental Quality had early on abdicated it’s right to review the projects in a stream-by-stream fashion to the Corps, whose “blanket” permit fails to account for site-specific conditions. The public comment period has not be set yet. Stay tuned.
On April 18, numerous state legislators held a press conference in Richmond to press the Northam administration to reclaim its responsibility to assess the impacts of the pipelines at each of the more than 1,000 individual stream crossings in Virginia. They also called on the administration to direct law enforcement authorities to allow supporters to get food and water to “Red” and the other tree sitters on Bent Mountain.
(Watch the press conference here.)
On April 11, 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 new project and is looking into more details of this latest threat to local communities and waters.
The W.V. 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.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October, 2017 issued the “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” for both 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).
FERC announced in December 2017 that it would be reviewing both its 1999 Pipeline Policy Statement and its policies on certification of natural gas pipelines. Yet three months later, the public has no idea how, when or even if this review is actually proceeding and to what degree, if any, the public will be given the opportunity to be involved.
You can sign this petition calling on FERC to conduct a full, fair, and properly informed decision-making process for fracked gas pipelines, compressors, LNG export, storage and related infrastructure projects.
Appalachian Voices and dozens of other public interest groups have filed legal challenges against those permits. Challenges have also been filed to other state and federal permitting agencies for their recent approvals of the projects. In addition, landowners in West Virginia and Virginia have filed separate lawsuits challenging FERC’s authority to grant the power of eminent domain that allows the for-profit companies to take private property for their own gain.