Another Agency Tries to Rush MVP and Shorts Public’s Right to Speak
Another Agency Tries to Rush MVP Process: The Army Corps Shorts the Public’s Right to Speak
On December 12, 2022, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued notice that it would allow the public just 30 days to comment on a huge body of “supplemental information” that Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC has submitted to the Corps. This information is related to a Clean Water Act permit application for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) to cross hundreds of waterbodies in Virginia and West Virginia. (notice attached)
“Such a limited opportunity to review and comment on the new information is completely unreasonable and unfair,” stated David Sligh, Conservation Director at Wild Virginia. The materials subject to review and comment by the public total nearly 10,000 pages and include extensive new data and analysis.
In response to the public notice, fifteen citizen groups called for an extension of the comment period to allow 90 days, ending March 13, 2023.
In a letter submitted on behalf of the groups on December 13, 2022 (attached), attorneys from Appalachian Mountain Advocates and the Southern Environmental Law Center call the 30-day window, which includes Hannukah, Christmas, and New Years holidays, “grossly insufficient.” The letter states that the Corps should grant the requested extension “[t]o avoid the appearance of discouraging full and rigorous public participation.”
Mountain Valley has had more than a year to submit new information, since an earlier public comment period ended in November, 2021. Sligh stated, “The public and the Environmental Protection Agency pointed out the serious environmental threats of Mountain Valley’s proposal for new construction and serious deficiencies in Mountain Valley’s application to the Corps. We know the horrible damage already caused by MVP is a predictor of what will happen if it is allowed to proceed.”
“Repeatedly, federal and state regulators have cut corners and rushed their deliberations. This approach has resulted in improper and illegal permits that allowed MVP to damage our waters and our communities.” Sligh said. “We hope the Corps will see that the requested extension is necessary and appropriate to avoid the mistakes of the past.”
View the full public notice here.