July 5, 2022

MVP Opposition Continues Amid New Permits: A Chance for Public Action

***July 12 Update: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has added 15 days to a public comment period for the proposal to allow four more years to complete the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The new deadline is July 29, 2022.

Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is again asking federal regulators for a slew of new permits – without approvals, the pipeline will never be completed. MVP opposition continues despite new permit inquiries and we continue to insist that agencies do their jobs to stop this unneeded project and prevent further destruction. 

Below, I’ll describe three recent developments and ways you can join the opposition or renew your efforts with us. We’re prepared to help you every step of the way.

FERC License Extension Request

MVP is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for 4 more years to finish this disastrous project. With our success in court challenges, the company will miss its October, 2022 deadline for completion due to failures to meet numerous legal requirements. Even partners in the venture have admitted that there is “a very low probability of pipeline completion” but the lead proponents desperately continue to push forward.

This is the second time the company has been forced to seek permits / an extension from FERC. They first thought they’d be finished by October 2020, but we and you have slowed them with roadblock after roadblock. MVP has recently told the government and investors it can complete the pipeline by late 2023 – a claim in which they seem to place little confidence, because they’re now asking FERC for permission to give them until October 2026. 

This project was never needed to serve customers in our region. Renewable energy sources are becoming widely used and more affordable – this makes MVP an even more unwise and wasteful project. Also, MVP has damaged our waters and our communities with pollution and been cited hundreds of times for these misdeeds. FERC relied on company claims that the pipeline could be built safely and without environmental destruction – claims we disputed from the start. The real-world damages must compel FERC to reject these claims and stop the pipeline.

On June 29th, FERC issued a public notice, soliciting comments on the permits / extension request. The deadline for submissions is July 14, 2022. To help you file comments, we and our partner organizations offer the following:

  • Wild Virginia’s step-by-step guide to comment through FERC’s website and/or to become an official intervenor. 
  • Tips for Effective Public Comments – with hints to keep in mind whenever making comments on regulatory proposals.
  • MVP FERC Certificate Renewal Comment Party on July 7, where we’ll provide more information and assistance. Follow this link and register to attend now!

Let FERC know you oppose this extension.

Don’t miss this important chance to join the opposition, and help protect our wild places and communities!

Application to Damage Our National Forest

In June, MVP applied for permits (for the third time) to cut and blast across the Jefferson National Forest – after two attempts rejected by federal courts.  

The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which both have roles in this decision, have cut corners on their own regulations and laws and we will insist that the current administration step up and do the right thing this time, by rejecting MVP’s proposal. The cost to our public lands is just too high.

There will be a public process where you can weigh in on this application, but that has not yet been started. Stay tuned and follow us through our email list or social media so we can give you further updates on how you can help in that process as well.

Further Threats to Endangered Species

In a third development, FERC has announced that it is again asking the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to find that MVP can be built without violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In two previous decisions, the FWS has betrayed the public interest, making decisions that would push some of our most sensitive and precious species closer to extinction. 

Again, a federal appeals court has judged that FWS and MVP analyses and claims of protection were improper and sent them back to the drawing board. And, as with other agencies, we are now advocating that the FWS apply the strict requirements established by Congress in 1973. The urgency of species disappearing has only increased in the decades since that law was adopted and we can’t afford ill-considered projects to hasten further decline. 

While the FWS process won’t involve an official public comment process, be assured that we and our allies are continuing to bolster the case against approval and applying all possible pressure to make sure our public servants don’t again improperly bow to pressure from industry and politicians. Stay tuned for further updates on these issues and how you can join the opposition as well.