Sign the letter to the DEQ, Water Board, and Air Board: Reject New Permits for MVP
To: David Paylor, Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director; Melanie Davenport, DEQ Water Division Director; Mike Dowd, DEQ Air Division Director; Members of the State Water Control Board; Members of the Air Pollution Control Board
cc: Governor Ralph Northam; Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler
We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, write to urge you to reject any new permits requested by Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). Virginia has suffered through three years of MVP’s inadequate erosion and sedimentation control practices, which have created horrific, long-lasting sedimentation, streambank collapse, and the loss of species, forest and waters. These are losses from which farmers and communities may never recover.
Over two years after a so-called “enforcement” suit and deal that actually allowed MVP to cover itself via excuses like ‘act of god’ and ‘flood,” and resulted in a mere two million in fines for a six billion dollar project, MVP’s inevitable harms continue.
Under criminal investigation and the subject of continued state complaints and fines, MVP has solidly proven it cannot build its pipeline safely through the mountainous terrain and karst geography through which it is routed. This point is echoed at the federal level where the joint venture LLC is bogged down in litigation over the inadequacy of several agency permits, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Owing to vacated federal permits, MVP has recently abandoned its original plan to use the general Nationwide Permit 12 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to cross waterbodies, and has indicated its pursuit of individual permits for the hundreds of stream and wetland crossings the pipeline intends to make.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is aware, via the January 26 letter MVP sent to the Department regarding Water Permit Certification Pre-Filing Meeting Request, that MVP intends to submit new applications for crossing waterbodies in Virginia. In a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also dated January 26, MVP claims DEQ and the State Water Control Board’s involvement in the process for these new permits “should be minimized” because MVP submitted a permit application years ago--- indicating the company intends to rely heavily on its original permit application which has, repeatedly since 2017, been predicted and proven to be inadequate.
The minimal fines imposed by Virginia for violations, and the hundreds of complaints that DEQ has ignored, have resulted in DEQ allowing a long and appalling track record of unspeakable harms to the Commonwealth, making it no surprise that MVP intends to rely on its first state permit application. Given its clear absence of intent to change trajectory from its original plans, the only reasonable decision by the Department and Board must be to reject MVP’s new permits for the pipeline. MVP is years behind schedule, billions over budget, is proven immitigable, and has caused immense harm to Virginians’ water and lives.
Alarming concerns pointed out by a wealth of experts and impacted community members for years before the pipeline’s original permit was granted by the Water Board, at the behest of DEQ, have come to fruition. State regulatory agencies have wasted Virginians’ tax revenues for years, attempting to regulate a project that has proven itself time and again to be unregulatable - a project that should have been rejected to begin with and has been proven unneeded by years of flat energy load demand in Virginia.
DEQ and the State Water Control Board have the absolute authority to prevent these harms from continuing. In order to fulfill the Department’s and Board’s obligation to conserve and protect Virginia’s waterways, DEQ and the Board can only reject any new permit applications for Mountain Valley, or any request from MVP for new permits.
Especially in light of the above, we further request that DEQ and the Air Pollution Control Board reject the air permit for MVP’s Lambert Compressor Station. Approving a permit for this station, proposed to push gas into North Carolina via MVP’s proposed Southgate extension, would perpetuate environmental injustice and be an insult to injury in the face of all the dangers and lack of need already proven for MVP’s mainline. North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality rejected state water permits for MVP’s Southgate extension, acknowledging that it defies logic to issue permits for an MVP extension when the status of MVP’s mainline is so troubled. Virginia DEQ and state regulatory authorities should acknowledge the same and reject any permits relating to MVP Southgate and its Lambert Compressor station.
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