News! FERC issues certificates for MVP and ACP
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.
MVP files for eminent domain against 210 WV landowners / Landowners’ lawsuit against FERC and MVP gets first hearing
On October 24, 2017, Mountain Valley Pipeline filed for Condemnations against more than 200 landowners in 9 West Virginia counties and more than 300 landowners in Virginia, seeking to obtain easements by eminent domain.
On Friday, November 3, 2017, the first of two constitutional challenges to FERC and MVP will be heard in federal court in Roanoke, Virginia. For background, see Landowners along pipeline route sue FERC and Mountain Valley Pipeline, July 27, 2017 (Roanoke Times)
US Forest Service stands by its draft decision to approve MVP route through Jefferson National Forest
On Friday, October 20, 2017 the US Forest Service issued its “response to objections” about the FS draft decision approving the current proposed route through the Jefferson National Forest. Essentially, the FS stands by its draft decision and says the review process is over. Read JNF Draft Record of Decision (DROD) / Read Objection Response Letter from Reviewing Official
Challenges are anticipated by neighboring counties in WV and VA, together with other groups that oppose this route across the JNF and the Appalachian Trail.
For a brief but good overview of the FERC’s action by Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette-Mail read here >>.
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)
ICWA and others are continuing to raise objections. Factors such as decisions required by the Forest Service and other federal and state agencies, as well as pending legal challenges at WVDEP and VADEQ, could also affect whether the pipeline will be built. Read more >>
If you are on or near the proposed MVP route and concerned about the safety of your water, please see ICWA’s Water Testing Information here.
Latest news On October 17, 2017, the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals granted WVDEP’s motion for voluntary remand with vacatur of the 401 permit. In effect this decision throws out DEP’s approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and lets them start anew. Under section 401 of the Clean Water Act, states must certify that proposed pipelines will not violate state water quality standards before construction can begin. DEP has the responsibility to determine whether or not to issue that certification for West Virginia. Although the MVP received FERC approval last week, pipeline construction cannot proceed until DEP issues a new decision.
Read the press release from ICWA and other groups challenging DEP>>
Read the order from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals>>
On September 13, 2017, the WVDEP officially “vacated” its water quality certification (401 permit) for the MVP and on September 8, the WVDEP withdrew the MVP Stormwater permit. Read more >>
ICWA Challenges WV Department of Environmental Protection Decisions
The WVDEP can prevent the Mountain Valley Pipeline from being built by not issuing key permits that protect West Virginia water. WVDEP has the responsibility and authority to ensure the quality of the waters of West Virginia. The federal courts have upheld the NY Department of Environmental Conservation decision to stop the Constitution 42” interstate gas pipelines from being built because of the risk of harming their state’s water. We need our WVDEP to do the same. There are three required DEP permits:
- 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC-16-0005) requires that WV ensure that federal agencies will not issue permits or licenses that violate the water quality standards of a state.
- Oil and Gas Construction Stormwater General Permit (WVR310667) requires that WVDEP prevent stormwater runoff from increasing sedimentation and polluting aquatic habitats.
- WV Natural Streams Preservation Act Permit for crossing the Greenbrier River (NSP-17-0001) which is the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi—“an enduring resource of free-flowing streams possessing outstanding scenic, recreational, geological, fish and wildlife, botanical, historical, archeological or other scientific or cultural values.”
Despite substantive evidence provided by ICWA, as well as other organizations, professional experts and individuals, the WVDEP decided in favor of MVP on all three permit applications required by MVP.
ICWA has joined with other environmental organizations and affected landowners to challenge the permits that WVDEP has issued. Read more >>
Landowners Challenge the FERC and MVP on Eminent Domain Authority
Landowners from Monroe and Summers Counties have joined suit with others from four Virginia counties in a legal challenge that contends the FERC does not have the authority to grant the power of eminent domain to a private company (MVP) for “private pecuniary gain.”
Landowners along pipeline route sue FERC and Mountain Valley Pipeline, July 27, 2017 (Roanoke Times)
WV and VA Groups Challenge the Jefferson National Forest Draft Decision
The US Forest Service (FS) has the authority to issue its own decision regarding the proposed MVP route through the Jefferson National Forest (JNF). In June 2017, the FS issued a Draft Record of Decision that would allow MVP construction on a route that includes crossing the Appalachian Trail (AT) on Peters Mountain near Lindside, WV. ICWA, Save Monroe and others continue to challenge that decision since the pipeline would cross Peters Mountain on very steep slopes, entailing massive erosion, cutting of old growth forests, damage to the AT and viewsheds and increasing invasive species problems within the forest. Read more >>
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Opposes MVP Crossing AT on Peters Mountain
The MVP pipeline would cause “irreversible damage” as it runs parallel to the Appalachian Trail for over 20 miles, carves ugly gashes in the landscape that will be seen from 90 miles away, crosses multiple fresh water sources and destroys protected forest areas.
This is the first time that the Appalachian Trail has ever opposed any project or crossing of the trail. Although the Conservancy generally works with companies and government agencies to mitigate damage, they were unable to make any progress in justifying this MVP route or reducing its harm to the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and the unique A.T. hiking experience. They concluded that “the proposed pipeline will needlessly devastate the Appalachian Trail on an unprecedented scale.” Visit their website for an easy way to send letters to your representatives and government agencies.
- 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
ICWA’s Interactive Environmental Map
We welcome your help to defend West Virginia’s precious water resources!
- Use the map to identify critical risks and sensitivities. Send your comments about potential impacts to the FERC, the WV Department of Environmental Protection, the US Army Corps of Engineers, legislators, and others. Click to view or print a Quick-Start PDF guide.
- Share your ideas and suggestions. Email us at IndianCreekWater@gmail.com.
To support Here are two ways to support future development of the Interactive Environmental Mapping Project:
- Send a check: Please make your check payable to Indian Creek Watershed Association or ICWA, and indicate “Environmental Map Project” on the check. Mail to: Indian Creek Watershed Association, P.O. Box 711, Union, WV 24983.
- Donate on-line:
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