Appeals court vacates permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

On Tuesday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the Clean Water Act Section 404 stream and wetland crossing permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The permit allowed the pipeline to cross through waterways in the Corps’ Huntington District. This ruling has put the pipeline in jeopardy because it affects the pipeline’s ability to cross through streams and wetlands along 160 miles of the route. A spokeswoman for the Mountain Valley pipeline expressed disappointment with the ruling but said it plans on reapplying for the permit.

Opponents of the pipeline praised the Fourth Circuit’s decision. The Sierra Club and other environmental groups had argued that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had overlooked the 72-hour requirement imposed by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. It requires that the work on four major rivers crossing be completed with 72 hours. This requirement is meant to limit potential environmental harm.

According to opponents of this pipeline, the certificate issued for the Mountain Valley Pipeline by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires that all necessary permits be acquired before construction of the pipeline can occur. These groups argue that until this permit is reissued by the Army Corps of Engineers construction on the pipeline should be halted. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has not yet responded to this latest development.