Breaking News! Judge issues stay in MVP case
HINTON — Summers and Monroe County Circuit Judge Robert Irons issued a temporary stay Tuesday to work being done in Summers County on the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).
Specifically, the stay will halt work being done on property where the pipeline will enter the Greenbrier River in Pence Springs.
The motion was brought before Irons by Greenbrier River Watershed Association, Indian Creek Watershed Association, Ashby Berkley, and Ty and Susan Bouldin, after Berkley was made aware that tree removal had begun on his property last week.
Among concerns over due process, the petitioners have argued that the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) permit for the crossing is not in compliance with the Natural Streams Preservation Act.
Attorney Kevin Thompson, who made arguments for the petitioners, told Irons that the stay was necessary because if not granted, the petitioners’ appeal would be worthless because construction would be quickly finished and their concerns would not receive their due process.
Attorney Robert McLusky, who represented pipeline interests during the hearing, argued that a delay in construction would push back the Greenbrier River crossing until next summer.
An attorney with DEP, seated next to McLusky, agreed with his arguments and asked the judge to allow the construction to proceed.
While listening to the arguments from McLusky, Judge Irons told the attorney that he had not had sufficient time to review documents that McLusky had submitted and said McLusky’s 25-page brief and a 1,000-page record had only been submitted to the court after its closing on Monday.
The judge also countered the attorney’s argument that a stay would automatically lead to a lengthy delay in the construction process.
“I have heard that before on cases involving the Mountain Valley Pipeline,” Irons said, explaining his role in a Monroe case earlier in the year involving two tree-sit protestors blocking construction on the pipeline on Peters Mountain.
“It was represented that there was a hard deadline,” Irons harkened back to the previous case. “Well, that deadline got extended for a couple months. It seems to me that these deadlines aren’t really set in stone on this particular project.”
Irons granted the stay in the case and scheduled the next hearing for 10 a.m. Oct. 23 at the Summers County Courthouse. Continue story HERE