Press Release

U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Virginia’s Clean Water Act 401 Permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

Permit would allow MVP to disregard water quality protections that will have lasting effects on Virginia waterways

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Peter Anderson,, (434) 249-6446
Morgan Caplan,

Richmond, VA – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that federal circuit courts do have authority to review state Clean Water Act section 401 certificates, but upheld Virginia’s grant of the section 401 certificate that the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline needs to proceed with instream construction activities in Virginia water bodies. In its arguments, Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the State Water Control Board argued that the federal court of appeals should not have jurisdiction over whether the certificate was properly granted.

The petition for review was filed by Appalachian Mountain Advocates and the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Wild Virginia, Preserve Craig, Inc., Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Preserve Franklin, Preserve Bent Mountain, Preserve Giles County, and Natural Resources Defense Council.

David Sligh, Conservation Director at Wild Virginia said: “State inspectors in both Virginia and West Virginia have documented hundreds of instances when sediment was discharged off MVP sites and into our streams and even more times when MVP has dumped its mud on private landowners’ properties. There’s no reasonable basis to believe that won’t keep happening if MVP is allowed to start construction again. We and thousands of allies intend to keep that from happening.”

Russell Chisholm, member of Preserve Giles County said: “MVP and Virginia DEQ have repeatedly failed the true test of these permit decisions in the field. Permits don’t withstand ever increasingly dangerous storms – or even the normal amount of rainfall in these Appalachian mountains. MVP and DEQ once again leave our communities to protect the water we depend on for all life in our watersheds and for everyone downstream.”

“We are disappointed with today’s decision,” said Peter Anderson, Virginia policy director for Appalachian Voices. “There are multiple legal roadblocks remaining for MVP and we are committed to working alongside frontline communities until the project is stopped.”

“MVP has violated commonsense water protections hundreds of times, disregarding the protection measures that would avoid lasting and permanent impacts to southwest Virginia’s waterways,” Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels Director Patrick Grenter said. “This has led to major environmental degradation, as well as public health concerns for communities, all for the sake of an unnecessary pipeline that may never be completed. We will continue to do everything in our power to fight for the communities and Appalachian ecosystems impacted by this disastrous pipeline.”



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