WVDEP Moves to Withdraw Approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline

September 13, 2017

This morning, the West Department of Environmental Protection filed a motion in federal court to invalidate their Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The 401 certification is an important permit that certifies a project will meet West Virginia’s water quality standards.

During the 401 certification’s public comment period, WV Rivers found the application incomplete and thus unable to certify the state’s water quality standards would be met.

In our comments we asked WVDEP to reject the application as submitted. We are glad to see that, finally, they agreed to give our concerns in-depth consideration.

Today’s motion by WVDEP comes after months of pressure from WV Rivers and other advocates to challenge the MVP’s 401 certification and reevaluate the pipeline’s impact on water resources. Check out this article in the Charleston Gazette-Mail to learn more.

The MVP 401 certification was originally granted by WVDEP in March of this year. In April, WV Rivers and partners requested an appeal hearing on WVDEP’s decision, whicwas rejected by the WVDEP Cabinet Secretary. Then Appalachian Mountain Advocates, on behalf of WV Rivers, Sierra Club, Indian Creek Watershed Association, Appalachian Voices, and Chesapeake Climate Action Network, filed a legal petition in federal court to appeal the approval of the incomplete 401 application. Today’s motion by WVDEP came just one day before WVDEP would have been required to respond to our petition and defend the 401 certification in federal court.

Full story HERE

Summers County Residents Against the Pipeline

Two local sites will host a painting project called The Blued Trees Symphony, on Wed., July 19th, starting at 11 a.m., at the property of Ashby Berkley about a half mile west of Pence Springs on SR 12/3. The Blued Trees Symphony is a creation of artist Aviva Rahmani of NY, and it was created to protect habitat from the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and other toxic and dangerous pipelines. One site will be by the Greenbrier river in Pence Springs . It includes our Endangered Species Cemetery, the Ponca Tribes sacred corn planting, and the Spiritual Garden and Chapel. That site is the river front to the proposed Greenbrier River Crossing of this perilous 42-inch diameter pipe carrying fracked gas at nearly 1500 psi.! It is estimated that an explosion of a pipeline of this size and pressure will incinerate everything within a half mile! 

The second site is located high above the river on a narrow ridge on the Jarrell farm . The MVP would come onto that property and twist down a narrow ridge that averages forty feet wide, meaning that partial mountaintop removal would be used to create the 125-foot wide pipeline right-of-way. The proposed route puts the pipeline directly under high-voltage power lines and within thirty feet of its metal tower. It leaves this property cutting across Clayton Road before heading to the Greenbrier River on a nearly vertical slope through unstable shale and sandstone directly above SR 12/3.

The proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline is a for profit corporation and plans are to install 300 plus miles of trench for natural gas pipelines without benefit to local residents. If the project is approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, private property would be seized under a spurious definition of eminent domain that many feel is illegal. The 125 ft. wide swath of habitat along that entire corridor will be lost and left scarred by the mountain leveling and ditching. The pristine waters of this region would likely be compromised. This is a 10-year experiment at the enormous cost of taking our water, land, forests and fields. Additionally, they will be spraying herbicides to keep the broad leaves from growing. At the end of their life, the pipes will be left in the ground to rust. That will cause significant ditching. The pipe lies several feet below the surface, where it will eventually become junk and possibly contain toxic gas residues.

The Blued Trees Symphony is an intercontinental artwork initiated by internationally recognized ecological artist Aviva Rahmani in 2015 to be installed in corridors where natural gas pipeline expansion is planned. Across America, natural gas pipeline corporations have been seizing personal property for private profit under eminent domain law, by claiming their expansions are for public good. The United Nations recognizes a people’s entitlement to cultural aspirations and earth rights as much as financial concerns. The public good the “Blued Trees” protects is clean water, essential to a safe environment. Teams from local communities in several states and Canada have been painting miles of individual trees, in specific patterns, in the proposed corridors. The artist copyrights the artwork, paving the way to contest the takings, save their trees and protect the artwork.

People are engaging in the project to protect the planet. Methane released from natural gas fracking and pipeline transmission has caused almost 1000 reported accidents since 2010, often fatal. In 2016, property damage from such accidents was $700 million. Natural gas is 95% methane. Methane gas causes 30 times the potential global warming potential than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.

On invitation from threatened landowners, Rahmani works with each team to expand the depth and reach of The Blued Trees Symphony. This project has received extensive international recognition and awards. The content evolves in collaboration with local communities, scientists, and copyright, environmental policy, and real estate lawyers. The site-specific painting creates “tree-notes” on the private land facing condemnation for eminent domain takings. Rahmani registers the work as a copyright-protected sonified biogeographic sculptural composition under the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), to halt proposed pipeline expansions. Working with activists, The Blued Trees Symphony contributed to halting three pipeline projects in New York State.

Interested parties should join us on Wed., July 19th, at 11 a.m. on Ashby Berkeley’s property on the beautiful Greenbrier River or check our Facebook page HERE


Forest Service allows 11 exceptions to Jefferson Forest Plan for
Mountain Valley Pipeline
Augusta Free Press  June 26, 2pipeline017





A Draft Record of Decision document released by the United States Forest Service would allow 11 exceptions to the Jefferson National Forest Plan and adopt an amendment that allows old growth forests, rare species and wetlands to be destroyed by the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline.

In addition, by accepting the recently released Final Environmental Impact Statement for the MVP (FEIS) in this draft decision, the USFS has refused to fully analyze the purpose and need of the project and any alternative that would be consistent with the current Jefferson National Forest Plan.

The Draft Record of Decision (ROD) on the Mountain Valley Project Land and Resource Plan Amendment for the Jefferson National Forest, released Friday, June 23, would adopt exceptions to the plan that were not even considered in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

“The USFS has decided to adopt an alternative plan amendment that wasn’t even discussed or analyzed in the DEIS,” said Misty Boos, Director of Wild Virginia.  “This deprived the public and other agencies from any consideration or any meaningful analysis.”  Full story HERE



ATC: Mountain Valley Pipeline an unprecedented threat to ALL national trails

Many small pipelines currently cross the Appalachian Trail, but they are nothing like the proposed new Mountain Valley Pipeline that would be built by a consortium led by EQT, a fracking company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The latest edition of AT Journeys, the magazine of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, has a major article on the threat of this pipeline to all national trails.  “Cutting to the Core:Setting a Precedent for Pipeline Proposals” by Jack Igelman. 
(if you have trouble getting this link to open properly, please right click, copy the link, and paste into a new tab)
Unlike existing pipelines, this one would be visible off and on for almost 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. In Giles County, the pipeline would cut an ugly swath that would be visible from Kelly Knob on the AT, only about 2 miles away. Even worse, the project would create a 500-foot utility corridor through the national forest that would invite co-location of two or three equally large projects immediately adjacent to this monster.
Full story HERE



Problems with the pipeline




The DEIS for the Mountain Valley Pipeline lists the following cumulative geological impacts from mile marker MP165 to MP 237. This are includes Summers and Monroe Counties, West Virginia, Jefferson National Forest and Giles, Craig and Montgomery Counties, Virginia. Seismicity and Potential for Soil Liquefaction: In the area of the GCSZ (Giles County Seismic Zone) between about MPs 165 to 230, peak ground accelerations approach 14 percent of the force of g, and the potential for a magnitude 5.8 earthquake exists. The potential for soil liquefaction exists mainly in the area of the GCSZ. Slopes and Landslide Potential: the potential for landslides or slope failure could be triggered by seismicity from the GCSZ or from intense and/or prolonged rainfall events. Geology 4-41. the areas that would be crossed within the Jefferson national Forest by the MVP contain slopes greater than 30 percent and the potential for landslides within the Jefferson National Forest would be moderate to high. Jefferson National Forest: Landslides are a dominant geologic process shaping Peters Mountain, Sinking Creek Mountain and Brush Mountain. The largest known landslides in eastern North America are on the south flank of Sinking Creek Mountain where the pipeline route would cross the Jefferson National Forest. Slip-Prone Soils: Soils 4-68 Certain soil types such as shlae or clay soils are more prone to slipping than other soils. Due to this increased potential for slipping, the probability of landslides is increased when constructing through slip prone soils. the Gilpin-Peabody complex, 35 to 70 percent slopes, Carbo, Faywood, Frederick, Nolichucky, Poplimento and Sequoia soils are considered to be slip-prone. The MVP would affect about 17.5 acres of these soils between MP 172 and 196. In Virginia 290.2 of these soils would be affected from approximately MP 196 to 235.

More info HERE

Full story HERE
Concerned citizens were invited to an informational meeting to be held in Summers County about the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The meeting, hosted by West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Summers County Residents Against the Pipeline and Greenbrier River Watershed Association,  provided information on the impacts the proposed project may have on local residents and educate citizens on how to make effective comments to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

 Attendees can expect to receive information on how the project could impact water, safety and property values and property rights.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a 300-mile long, high-pressure, natural gas pipeline proposed to cut through Wetzel, Harrison, Doddridge, Lewis, Braxton, Webster, Nicholas, Greenbrier, Fayette, Summers, and Monroe counties.

The Department of Environmental Protection must issue three state permits to approve the proposed project, which are all open to public comment. The project is subject to DEP regulation of stormwater runoff, stream preservation permit for its crossing of the Greenbrier River and a water quality permit to allow fill material discharge.

A Department of Environmental Protection public hearing on these permits will be held at 6 p.m. on March 7 at the Memorial Building in Hinton.

Greater Greenbrier Conservation Focus Area

The Greater Greenbrier CFA encompasses the Greenbrier River watershed from the joining of the East and West Forks at Durbin downstream to the confluence with the New River. In the Allegheny Mountains Ecoregion, it includes a globally significant karst landscape surrounded by ridges and valleys of shale and sandstone. Complete PDF of Conservation Focus Area Plan (Draft)

Fossil fuels foe calls proposed pipelines ‘climate disasters’

An organization that describes its mission as exposing the true costs of fossil fuels contends that the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline and the separate but similar Atlantic Coast Pipeline would be “climate disasters.”

Courtesy of Hill Studio for Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition
This simulation shows what the view of the Mountain Valley Pipeline would look like from Giles High School in Pearisburg.

Oil Change International, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., cites evidence it says debunks the conventional wisdom that natural gas is a cleaner fuel than coal for generating electricity.

The organization released reports Wednesday that suggest the two pipeline projects and associated pollution from methane emissions “would together contribute as much greenhouse gas pollution as 45 coal-fired power plants.”  Full story HERE

Are the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline Necessary?
An examination of the need for additional pipeline capacity into Virginia and Carolina’s  Complete PDF Prepared for Southern Environmental Law Center and Appalachian Mountain Advocates

State, feds call for improved pipeline environmental impact statement
December 23, 2016 5:30 pm
By Duncan Adams 981-3324

An alleged CliffNotes version should not pass muster. That appears to be a growing consensus. Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality cited federal law Thursday when adding its voice to many others calling for a more complete draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. The law states, “If a draft statement is so inadequate as to preclude meaningful analysis, the agency shall prepare and circulate a revised draft of the appropriate section.” DEQ advised the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that “a supplemental [draft statement] is needed to address adequate analysis of newly submitted route changes.”

FERC issued the draft environmental impact statement, or DEIS, on Sept. 16. The deadline was Thursday for public comment on the draft, which featured a 781-page statement and appendices that totaled 2,671 pages. Read more.

Proposed pipeline to cut through Appalachian Trail
December 15, 2016

mcafee-knob-roanoke-appalachian-trail-jefferson-naitonal-forest-ksteryous-flickrThe proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline would carry natural gas 300 miles from northwest West Virginia to southern Virginia, crossing the Appalachian Trail and clearing trees on its way.
Cutting through one of the most celebrated hiking trails in America, the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline threatens wildlife habitat, recreational lands and the health of local Appalachia communities, while setting a terrible precedent of building energy infrastructure through our national forests. Continue


FERC’s Pipeline Statement Full of Errors
December 7, 2016

screen_shot_2016-12-07_at_7-40-37_pmThe public comment period on the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline ends December 22. Supporters and opponents are weighing in on the prospect of a 300-mile pipe carrying natural gas through Virginia. But environmental groups are refusing even to comment on the government’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement, released in September.  They say it’s riddled with errors that misrepresent the effects of the pipeline. Continue 

A Modern Day Threat to the AT: The Proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline
November 18, 2016

carter-road-pipeline-660x330I was driving down my country road recently to go check out hiking trails just south of the Appalachian Trail near Blacksburg, Virginia and enjoy the fall colors.   On my way I passed multiple large signs along the sides of the road stating  “Entering Blasting Zone” and “Exiting Blasting Zone” – evidence of my community fighting back against the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), a proposed $3.5 billion dollar pipeline that would extend 301 miles from West Virginia through northwestern and central Virginia.  Continue


WV Supreme Court: No Pipeline Surveys for Private Gain
November 2016

West Virginia property owners won an important case at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on Tuesday when that Court sided


with Appalachian Mountain Advocates attorneys, ruling that the Mountain Valley Pipeline cannot survey for its proposed natural gas pipeline without landowner permission. The Court held that such a survey would constitute an illegal “private taking for private use,” because the proposed pipeline would not benefit West Virginians.

The Supreme Court’s ruling came in a case brought by Appalachian Mountain Advocates on behalf of Bryan and Doris McCurdy. Mountain Valley Pipeline threatened to sue the McCurdys after they refused to allow the pipeline company to survey their homeplace in Monroe County, West Virginia. Appalachian Mountain Advocates helped the McCurdys sue Mountain Valley Pipeline first to keep the company from trespassing on their property. They argued that state law prohibits the pipeline company from setting foot on McCurdy’s property without their permission unless the pipeline company first showed that its pipeline would be for public use.

Mountain Valley Pipeline could not make that showing because no West Virginians will use the gas transported through the pipeline.

Appalachian Mountain Advocates represented the McCurdys when they won in the trial court in 2015. The pipeline company later appealed this decision to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. On November 15, 2016, the West Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling, and held that the Mountain Valley Pipeline is not for public use by West Virginians.

“This is a great day for private property rights in West Virginia,” said Derek Teaney, Senior Attorney with Appalachian Mountain Advocates, who represented the McCurdys in their case against Mountain Valley Pipeline. “This ruling vindicates the rights of landowners in the path of this ill-advised pipeline and shows that private companies cannot bully West Virginians into allowing them onto their property without their permission.”

The Mountain Valley Pipeline would transport fracked natural gas over 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia to connect to the Transco Pipeline, a mega-pipeline that ships gas to burn in the Southeast. The pipeline would be 42 inches in diameter (by comparison, Keystone XL would have been just 36 inches).

Mountain Valley Pipeline Project Threatens Ecosystems and Landscape of Virginia and West Virginia   By Jordan A. Bowman | Nov 18, 2016

gas-line-const-smallThe Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is strongly opposed to the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline project, which would detract significantly from the scenic landscape of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), produce irreversible damage to local ecosystems, and potentially lead to millions of dollars in lost revenue for communities that rely on outdoor recreation-based tourism.

The ATC has a history of working with various industries to ensure that the energy needs of the public are met while simultaneously preserving the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and the unique hiking experience that the A.T. provides.

However, after studying the woefully inaccurate Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline and witnessing the inadequacies of the environmental compliance process initiated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), we feel the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline threatens the A.T. on an unprecedented scaleContinue

Too Many Pipelines?