Environmental advocates yesterday asked federal regulators to suspend construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).
Appalachian Mountain Advocates, on behalf of a coalition of environmental and citizen groups, sent a letter Tuesday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting the federal agency revoke its approval of the MVP.
The 303-mile pipeline’s route crosses state lines as it travels from northern West Virginia down to Virginia, which gives FERC partial jurisdiction over construction activities.
The request comes just days after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals halted some construction of the natural gas pipeline in West Virginia, siding with conservation groups who challenged the pipeline’s water-crossings permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Specifically, the court stayed the pipeline's federal Clean Water Act Section 404 permit that was issued by the Army Corps. The Corps granted the MVP a Nationwide Permit 12, a broader permit under the law.
It covers nearly 600 stream and wetland disruptions planned by the pipeline in the agency’s Huntington district, which covers all planned construction activity in West Virginia.
Environmental groups argued the MVP’s own planning documents showed river crossing for the Elk, Gauley, Greenbrier and Meadow rivers would take 4-6 weeks to complete and could not comply with the permit’s 72-hour deadline. The federal appeals court agreed.
In the letter to FERC, Appalachian Mountain Advocates stated that because of the federal appeals court decision last week, the pipeline no longer has all of the federal authorizations it needs and thus FERC’s approval, known as a Certificate Order, should be suspended.
"Because that mandatory federal authorization is now lacking, FERC must not allow pipeline construction to continue, not only within the Corps' Huntington District but anywhere along the pipeline route," they wrote.
Tamara Young-Allen, a spokeswoman for FERC, confirmed the agency had directed the MVP to halt construction in the Huntington District per the federal court's order, but declined to comment on the recent letter.
MVP spokeswoman Natalie Cox did not respond to a request for comment.
Environmental groups yesterday also petitioned the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting it review the Army Corps’ Nationwide Permit 12 issued for the Virginia section of the MVP.