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Pipeline opponents urge State Water Control Board to increase oversight

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 7:58 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline continue to press their case with the State Water Control Board.

Wednesday, more than a dozen spoke out, urging a thorough review before MVP is allowed to cross, or bore underneath, water crossings in Virginia.

A staff member from the Department of Environmental Quality offered an update on construction during the meeting.

“There’s about an eight-mile stretch west of Blacksburg, where the active land disturbance and pipe installation are underway.”

And he said recent inspections haven’t identified major problems with erosion and sediment controls.

Opponents disputed that assessment and urged board members to exert more control over the project.

“It sounds as though you all think that things are okay,” said pipeline opponent Irene Leech. “And those of us who are living out here and are watching the streams and what’s happening, feel there is damage and very blatant violations.”

Opponents praised the state for requesting more time from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a stream-by-stream analysis.

They called for a temporary stop-work order to protect endangered species. And they urged board members to oppose a variance that would allow MVP to bore underneath streams without a thorough review of each crossing.

“Boring is a major change to the project, that was not addressed during the original application for the project,” said opponent Freeda Cathcart.

A spokesperson for the Mountain Valley Pipeline said the company is disappointed with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality request to extend the amount of time it needs to review stream crossings.

“MVP believes that an efficient permitting process, including all required public participation, can be completed in a timely manner,” said Natalie Cox.

“MVP continues to target a late 2021 in-service date,” she said, while adhering to the requirements and decisions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

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