Mountain Valley Pipeline at Tipping Point – You Can Make a Difference

The future of the Mountain Valley Pipeline hangs in the balance as state and federal regulatory agencies consider important permits that regulate stream crossings. After developers backed out of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and the Biden Administration pulled the plug on the Keystone XL Pipeline, the Mountain Valley Pipeline might be the next project to fall.

WV Rivers has long taken the stance that we do not generally oppose any project straight out of the gate. We look to the science, and we look to the legal framework that is set up to protect our water resources. We advocate that all projects, like pipelines, meet all legal requirements and do not violate any water quality standards.

A volunteer water quality monitor documents Mountain Valley Pipeline erosion control deficiencies resulting in a WVDEP violation in Braxton County.

But what we’ve observed over and over by Mountain Valley Pipeline, and most, if not all, major pipeline projects is that they cannot meet water quality standards.

If you look at the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s track record in West Virginia for adherence to permit requirements, it doesn’t foster much confidence. In fact, the pipeline has received 55 notices of violation – 46 of those were for violating water quality standards.

In February, they were hit with a $303,000 fine for their water quality violations. It’s safe to say that with the remaining construction for the project involving stream crossings there’s no way our waterways won’t be negatively impacted by the pipeline.

And we’re not alone in that observation. Over the last few years, the Mountain Valley Pipeline has found itself in legal limbo as it tries to prove to regulators that it can cross streams and wetlands without violating the Clean Water Act and state water quality standards. And those legal fights are adding up, as of this article, the MVP is behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.

So what’s next for the Mountain Valley Pipeline? Right now, they are waiting for the WV DEP, the VA DEQ and the Army Corps of Engineers to approve their individual stream crossing permits and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve their plan to bore under 180 streams and wetlands – a last ditch effort to gain approval to cross 500 stream segments and wetlands. Learn more about the different stream crossing methods and how their impacts in our stream crossing report.

Rivers in the path of the pipeline include:

The Gauley River, home of the Candy Darter, where they want to bore under the river to preserve Candy Darter habitat. Yet, there will be a total of 191 waterbody crossings within the Gauley watershed potentially flushing sediment into Candy Darter habitat.

The Elk, the drinking water source for 6 public water systems including the City of Charleston which supplies drinking water to over 300,000 people.

The Greenbrier, one of the longest and most technical borings will be 1,250 feet in length, will require half a million gallons of water and drilling slurry and take up to 4 months to complete.

If crossing some of West Virginia’s most cherished rivers isn’t enough, the remaining crossings are of headwater streams – over 80% of all the stream crossings are headwaters.

In a new video on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, soil scientist Nan Gray explains why West Virginia’s soil structure makes the Mountain Valley Pipeline even more risky. 

Like soil scientist Nan Gray describes in the video above, West Virginia’s soil structure just isn’t suitable for such large scale construction projects.

So, what can you do to help tip the balance in favor of our streams? An immediate impactful action you can take is to make a financial donation to support our work to analyze and expose the dangers of the pipeline. Make a tax-deductible donation.

The next few months will play a big role in determining the future of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and all eyes are on West Virginia. Please, make a donation today to help us create more educational videos like Nan’s. Donate.

Help us conduct scientific research that provides decision-makers and the public the information they need to fully understand the risk posed by the pipeline. We need funds now to support our science team in analyzing and responding to MVP’s pending application to cross streams and wetlands. Donate.

Help us train more volunteer water quality monitors to be the eyes on the ground for the streams in the path of the pipeline. In early May, we trained 80 volunteers to identify, document and report pollution by pipelines.  Donate.

Please donate today, help shift the balance in favor of our streams.

– Chett Pritchett, Development Officer

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