News! On Monday, November 13, a coalition of groups including Save Monroe, Preserve Monroe, and Indian Creek Watershed Association submitted a formal “request for rehearing” to FERC on the MVP Certificate decision. This request, spearheaded by Preserve Craig, was one of 16 requests filed by individuals and organizations in Virginia and West Virginia. These rehearing requests challenge the Certificate issued to MVP on a 2-1 vote by FERC commissioners on October 13, 2017.
Among the many issues raised: FERC violated the Natural Gas Act (and the constitutional rights of landowners) because it failed to establish the public market demand for the gas to be carried by the MVP; FERC erred because it relied only on MVP’s agreements with its corporate affiliates to show the need for and public benefits of the Project; FERC granted MVP’s request for an unreasonably high rate of return on equity of 14 percent without substantial evidence.
Others addressed environmental impacts: FERC ignored extensive gaps and inaccuracies in MVP’s information and failed to consider the complex geologic hazards of the proposed route, as well as MVP construction impacts on water resources, forest fragmentation and regrowth, endangered species, visual resources, and cultural and historical resources, among others. (Clearly, this is just the tip of the iceberg!)
Here are a sampling of rehearing requests:
- Preserve Craig et al. (citing five broad issues, challenges FERC’s failure to take a “hard look” at environmental impacts, geologic hazards, and several areas of critical resources)
- Appalachian Trail Conservancy et al. (prepared by Appalachian Mountain Advocates; see pp. 6-12 for concise summary statements about 25 key issues)
- Sierra Club’s Supplemental Statement to ATC request (includes affected Sierra club members in Monroe and Summers)
- Carl Zipper et al. (focuses on FERC’s failure to require adequate mitigation and restoration measures for forest loss; includes landowners in Monroe and Summers)
Requests for rehearing were also submitted to FERC by county officials in Virginia, including Montgomery County and, in a joint request, Roanoke, Giles, and Craig Counties.
On October 13, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued decisions approving both the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The decision was 2-1, with an important dissenting opinion by Commissioner and former Chairman Cheryl LaFleur. The FERC included numerous conditions that apply to the approval. There are also pending challenges and permits required before MVP can proceed with construction activity.
More links to information about FERC’s decision:
Federal energy panel grants certificates for Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines, by Duncan Adams, October 13, 2017 (Roanoke Times)
FERC Sidesteps Broader Issues in Approvals of Pipelines, by Ken Ward, October 14, 2017 (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
Mountain Valley Pipeline still faces hurdles before construction, by Duncan Adams, October 20, 2017 (Roanoke Times) – Good summary; includes quote from ICWA on 401 permit
Fayette commissioner, others object to approval of pipelines, by Jessica Farrish, October 19, 2017 (Register-Herald Reporter)
FERC Rubber Stamps MVP Application–POWHR (Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights)
- Ernst Kastning’s reports about geologic hazards in karst regions of VA and WV
- Pamela Dodds’ reports about hydrogeology in Monroe and Summers Counties
- Cultural Attachment report by Applied Cultural Ecology
- Economic Costs of the MVP by Key-Log Economics