Press Release

NC regulators deny environmental permit for fracked-gas Southgate pipeline

CONTACT:

Ridge Graham, Appalachian Voices, (828) 994-7444, ridge@appvoices.org

Perrin de Jong, Center for Biological Diversity, (828) 252-4646, perrin@biologicaldiversity.org

Emily Sutton, Haw RiverKeeper, (573) 979-1038, emily@hawriver.org

Today, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality denied the permit application for Southgate extension of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The agency said “that work on the Southgate extension could lead to unnecessary water quality impacts and disturbance of the environment in North Carolina.”

After questioning the need for the project to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the DEQ has denied a Clean Water Act permit that would have allowed Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC to cross water bodies in North Carolina and to begin using eminent domain to take private land in both Virginia and North Carolina.

“We wholeheartedly support the DEQ and its decision to deny this permit. The agency indicates that it is unwilling to allow construction of Southgate to impact ‘high-quality waters and protected and critical drinking 
water supplies of North Carolinians’ when completion of the main line Mountain Valley Pipeline is uncertain,” said Ridge Graham, North Carolina Field Coordinator for Appalachian Voices. “This denial does not bode well for the main line of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is itself lacking several permits and has been slapped repeatedly with environmental fines.”

(Read Secretary of the Department Environmental Quality Michael Regan’s statement.)

“With MVP mainline permits on hold and after hundreds of violations of environmental laws in West Virginia and Virginia, North Carolina has seen enough and rightly averted disaster. Rewarding MVP LLC with a 401 certification would have been an unwarranted extension of harm to local streams, wetlands and communities. North Carolina DEQ deserves high praise for staying true to its mission and ensuring ‘that the waters of North Carolina are protected, developed, maintained and managed in a sustainable manner for the benefit of all water users,’” says Russell Chisholm, Co-Chair of Protect our Water, Heritage and Rights.

“I am so excited, my ancestors are grateful that we will keep the land, the people and the water safe. We walk for the water, and as we heal the water, we heal all of life. We are a prayer for the water. We must continue to protect the water. Thank you all who helped fight this. It is not over, but we must remain united,” says Crystal Cavalier, an indigenous activist and citizen of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation based in north-central North Carolina.

“We’ve spent over two years fighting this and finally someone sees it like we see it. I cannot tell you what that feels like. We’ve talked to people and elected officials and Pipeline representatives, but finally someone realized what we were saying. We don’t need any more pipeline projects,” says Perry Slade, landowner in Alamance County.

“We are overjoyed that North Carolina made the right call in protecting our state’s endangered aquatic wildlife from the mindless destruction that this fracked-gas pipeline would have inflicted on our state’s waterways,” said Perrin de Jong, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity in Asheville. “North Carolina endangered species like the Roanoke logperch, James spineymussel, and Carolina creekshell can rest easy now that this dumb boondoggle is no longer hanging over their heads.”

“We’re so thrilled to hear that DEQ has made the right decision to deny this unnecessary pipeline. This pipeline would have destroyed streams and critical habitat throughout the Haw River watershed. This is a win for all North Carolinians and a step forward in our state’s commitment to limiting our dependence on fossil fuels,” says Emily Sutton, the Haw Riverkeeper.

“Praise and gratitude to NCDEQ! The agency has repeatedly questioned the need for MVP Southgate and now refuses to risk North Carolina’s water quality and aquatic wildlife for a company that has flouted environmental protections in Virginia and West Virginia,” says Katie Whitehead, landowner in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, whose farm would be directly impacted by the Southgate project.

“Today we have yet another victory, another step towards securing our future and our right to clean resources in the Dan River watershed thanks to the perseverance and diligence of many community members, organizations and the NCDEQ. Today we won and tomorrow, we will keep fighting,” says Steven Pulliam, the Dan Riverkeeper.

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