Lawmakers call on state water board to delay or deny approval for Mountain Valley Pipeline

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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ7) Delegate Sam Rasoul and Delegate-elect Chris Hurst are calling on the State Water Control Board to delay action on the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

And if state regulators won't order additional study, they say members of the board should deny a permit for the controversial project.

"The Mountain Valley Pipeline project keeps me awake at night, due to the threats to our water, " said Dr. Tina Smusz, who spoke during a news conference Monday afternoon.

She and other pipeline opponents gathered at Parkway Brewing Company, a Salem business that depends on the local water supply.

Pipeline opponents have been sounding the alarm for months, but say their concerns about the project's impact on water quality have fallen on deaf ears.

And now that federal regulators have approved the project, they fear members of the State Water Control Board will do the same when they meet this week.

"It's our best opportunity for the Commonwealth itself to speak loudly," said Roanoke Delegate Sam Rasoul, "and say you know what, we are not going to compromise our natural resources, our drinking water, just for the profit of some outside company from Pittsburgh."

"We need more data, otherwise we need to delay," said Delegate-elect Chris Hurst. "And if we aren't going to delay, we need to deny, because we simply don't know what the impacts of this pipeline in its construction and its actual transmission of natural gas are actually going to be on our land on our water and on our soil."

Mike Pensinger is the General Manager of Parkway Brewing Company.

"The impact to our water make-up is potentially huge," he told WDBJ7. "And from a business standpoint we have to look at that."

Mountain Valley Pipeline has repeatedly defended its environmental review. The company has promised stringent controls, inspection and maintenance to minimize any potential impacts on water.

The State Water Control Board will take up the project when it meets near Richmond on Wednesday and Thursday.