In August 2020, NC Department of Environmental Quality denied MVP Southgate's permit for the 401 application, which would allow them to cross streams. The permit was denied on several claims, but the main point was arguing that the MVP mainline may never be completed.
NCDEQ's hearing officer recommended that the permit remain denied outright, or that "construction of the MVP Southgate pipeline (and its corresponding impacts) cannot occur until all legal ambiguities presently surrounding the mainline pipeline have been resolved, and all necessary permits and authorizations have been obtained."
MVP Southgate challenged this decision, stating that NCDEQ does not have the authority to make its decision based on the viability of the MVP mainline project. Southern Environmental Law Center(SELC) and Appalachian Mountain Advocates(AppalMad) intervened on behalf of NCDEQ to defend the permit denial decision. SELC and AppalMad are representing Haw River Assembly, Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, Center for Biological Diversity, and several impacted landowners through our organizations. The oral arguments between NCDEQ and MVP Southgate will be heard by the Office of Administrative Hearings on January 26th.
Following that hearing, a decision will likely be made in the next three months. This is a bureaucratic process that will likely be more drawn out that usual due to COVID precautions and delays.
We're hearing from a few landowners that they are getting calls from attorneys pressuring them to sign easements. If you are facing issues like this, please contact Emily Sutton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FERC Denies request for MVP Mainline
Mountain Valley Pipeline is facing more setbacks thanks to the hard work of our partners in Virginia and West Virginia. This means more delays, increasing costs, and narrowing profit margins for investors of the MVP mainline project. These setbacks on the mainline make it even more evident that the Southgate extension, threatening the Dan and Haw River watersheds, is not feasible or necessary for NC!
"Federal regulators hit the brakes Tuesday on a request to speed up construction of a portion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, throwing another wrench into the problematic project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission deadlocked 2-2 on Mountain Valley’s request to bore under streams and wetlands along the pipeline’s first 77 miles in West Virginia."
Sierra Club challenges Forest Service Environmental Impact Statement
Adding to the growing list of "legal ambiguities," Sierra Club is challenging the Environmental Impact Statement conducted by the Forest Service for the MVP mainline. This EIS was inadequate and disregarded the requests of the 4th circuit court.
Virginia changes requirements for Nationwide Permit 12 requirements
Virginia has changed its requirements for allowing one single permit (Nationwide 12) to apply to all stream crossings in a major project like the MVP mainline projects. Projects with pipeline diameters greater than 36" must do individual stream crossing permits. We believe this will apply to MVP mainline, even though the legislation has only recently changed, due to the delays on the pipeline project. If this is the case, MVP mainline will have to reapply for each individual stream crossing, which will add a significant amount of time and cost to the project.