The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) today announced its second rejection of the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s (MVP) efforts to extend into North Carolina. MVP, which still faces legal and procedural hurdles to obtain all the permits for its currently planned path, had proposed extending its 300-mile fracked gas pipeline another 75 miles through central North Carolina.
The mainline section of the MVP has already racked up more than $2 million in fines in Virginia alone due to hundreds of violations of commonsense environmental protections, and there are questions about whether the project is accurately reporting how much of the project has been completed. The proposed extension project, dubbed “Southgate,” has been controversial since it was announced and there was never any evidence it was necessary. Moreover, the project is billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule, leading investors to call on big banks to stop funding it, and climate advocates to begin a divestment campaign against it.
Today’s announcement comes just weeks before the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board is set to approve or deny a necessary air permit for the MVP Southgate extension’s associated compressor station outside Chatham, Va. The meeting is anticipated to be multi-day, owing to the overwhelming response during a recent public comment period.
In response, Sierra Club Senior Organizing Representative for the Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign Caroline Hansley released the following statement:
“We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the era of fracked gas pipelines is over. MVP’s effort to extend this dirty, dangerous fracked gas pipeline into North Carolina has now been rejected twice.
"We applaud the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality for again prioritizing North Carolina’s clean water over corporate polluters’ profits. Fracked gas pipelines like Mountain Valley threaten the health of our people, climate, and communities, and aren’t even necessary at a time when clean, renewable energy sources are affordable and abundant.
“Considering this fracked gas project is billions of dollars over budget and more than three years behind schedule, it’s long past time for MVP to see the writing on the wall and walk away from this project once and for all.”
In response, Appalachian Voices’s North Carolina Field Coordinator, Ridge Graham released the following statement:
“Despite the legal challenges from MVP and over eight months’ time since the original 401 denial, the mainline MVP project is no closer to being built. It is promising to see the North Carolina DEQ uphold their authority and stance that the best thing for the state and people of North Carolina is to not permit a pipeline to nowhere.”
“I’m thankful that the Department of Environmental Quality once again made this call," Perry Slade, a landowner in Alamance County, said. "It’s obvious that this project would have been a major threat to my community’s water supply and the health of our land. In reissuing the denial of the 401 permit, the NCDEQ is showing legitimate doubt about the Mountain Valley Pipeline project as a whole. I’m hopeful that other state governments will take this hint, so we can finally bring this dangerous project to a halt.”