Mountain Valley Pipeline opponents react to debt ceiling deal

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 7:15 PM EDT
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ROANOKE CO., Va. (WDBJ) - Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline are reacting to the deal on the US debt limit that could fast-track the controversial project.

And they are rallying their supporters as members of Congress prepare to vote this week.

Tuesday morning, landowners on Bent Mountain gathered along Bottom Creek, just a short walk from the Mountain Valley Pipeline right of way, to offer their reaction.

“It’s disturbing for many. It’s enraging for some,” said Roberta Bondurant. “It resolves us to keep working.”

The legislation unveiled over the weekend included specific language related to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, requiring federal regulators to issue all permits for the project. The provision would also limit judicial review.

“The only way to get Mountain Valley Pipeline through and get it completed is to do away with every protection we have for our planet,” said Red Terry.

The Bent Mountain residents and other groups that have been fighting the project for years, are urging their supporters to contact members of Congress without delay.

“The pipeline is very important to me, because it’s right outside my front door,” said Mary Beth Coffey, “but the precedent that is set in this action could be very dangerous.”

“It shouldn’t have all of these other things just dropped in because somebody in particular wants a project to be done,” added Robin Austin.

A spokesperson for Mountain Valley Pipeline said the company is grateful for the support of the White House and key lawmakers, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia).

Supporters argue the project is in the national interest, will serve existing demand, increase reliability and availability of natural gas, allow producers to access additional markets, reduce carbon emissions and facilitate the transition to renewable energy.

US Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) opposes the pipeline provision and says he will introduce an amendment removing it from the debt ceiling legislation.

Kaine’s office released the following statement:

“Senator Kaine is extremely disappointed by the provision of the bill to greenlight the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia, bypassing the normal judicial and administrative review process every other energy project has to go through. This provision is completely unrelated to the debt ceiling matter. He plans to file an amendment to remove this harmful Mountain Valley Pipeline provision.”

The House could vote Wednesday, with a vote in the Senate later this week.

Following is the complete statement from the Mountain Valley Pipeline:

We are grateful for the full support of the White House, as well as the strong leadership of Democratic and Republican legislators for recognizing the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) as a critical energy infrastructure project. In particular, it was the leadership and unwavering commitment of Chairman Manchin who first recognized the importance of MVP to our nation’s energy security and spearheaded the development of broad, bipartisan support for the completion of MVP. We are also appreciative of Speaker McCarthy and Senator Capito for their steadfast support and efforts to complete this crucial project, and for the strong support of House Representatives Reschenthaler, Miller, and Joyce.

MVP is among the most environmentally scrutinized projects to be built in this country, having been subject to an unprecedented level of legal and regulatory review. With a capacity of up to 2 billion cubic feet per day fully subscribed under long-term contracts, the MVP will serve as essential energy infrastructure that will ensure American families have reliable, affordable access to domestic energy, while also assuring national energy security and helping to achieve state and national goals for lowering carbon emissions.

Mountain Valley has committed to making MVP one of the nation’s first interstate natural gas transmission lines to fully offset its operational emissions, and we look forward to completing this important infrastructure project by the end of 2023 and flowing domestic natural gas this winter for the benefits of reliability and affordability in the form of lower natural gas prices for consumers.

For more information from pipeline opponents, click on the following links: