Construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline halted amid challenges

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Elliston, VA — The Construction:  Construction of the natural gas pipeline halted. Photo: Denashia Dunnaville

By Denashia Dunnaville October 21, 2019

The Mountain Valley Pipeline was recently hit with a $2.15 million fine, a cease order, and a helicopter protest that is slowing down the construction of the pipeline.

Mountain Valley Pipeline is set to pay $2.15 million to resolve a lawsuit that stated the pipeline construction repeatedly violated environmental standards. The lawsuit was filed in December by the Virginia Attorney General, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the State Water Control Board.

According to Attorney General Mark Herring, the agreement also requires Mountain Valley Pipeline to be placed under court-ordered and supervised compliance with environmental laws during the rest of the construction period.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also instructed the pipeline company to cease all construction immediately. FERC’s order came after the pipeline lost three permits due to environmental concerns.

FERC has approved requests from the pipeline allowing the company to stabilize the construction sites in West Virginia but has not yet approved other work.

While this is not beneficial to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, many of the pipeline protestors are rejoicing in the news. One group, Appalachians Against Pipelines, has protested the Mountain Valley Pipeline since 2018.

The group consists of community members protesting the pipeline using signs, tree-sits, and blockades. At the beginning of October, one member locked herself to a Mountain Valley Pipeline helicopter near Elliston, VA. The banner on the helicopter read “doom the pipeline”.

In a statement on Facebook, the anonymous demonstrator said, “I took action today in an attempt to slow the construction of this destructive pipeline project.”

She was released from jail after paying a $15,000 bail. The protester says the money raised by Appalachians Against Pipelines was vital to her release.

The pipeline is planned to run through Southwest Virginia into West Virginia. According to the Mountain Valley Pipeline project schedule, the natural gas pipeline was set to be operational by October 1st, the fourth quarter of 2019.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is now set to be completed by mid-2020.

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