CRAIG Co., Va. (WDBJ7) 2018 has been a year of construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, but also a period of frequent protests.
And while the company says it is more than half-way toward completing the natural gas pipeline, opponents say they believe the courts are now paying attention to their concerns.
Construction started in February. And earlier this month the company said it expects to have approximately 70% of the project complete by year-end.
Bill Wolf is the Co-chair of Preserve Craig,
"They say they're 70% done," Wolf told WDBJ7. "They're only 30% done in the real damage that could occur."
Wolf said the pipeline has yet to traverse some of the most sensitive terrain, including river and stream crossings. He and other opponents say they're encouraged by recent court rulings that call into question the pipeline approval process.
"I'm optimistic for the first time frankly," Wolf said Friday. "In the last few months we've had half a dozen pieces of good news about cases that we've been involved in and our allies have been involved in."
Brian Murphy is the Preserve Craig Science Committee Chair.
"We're optimistic that the courts are going to see that this project was really rammed through without sufficient analysis on the front end," Murphy said.
The protests will continue and so will construction, but 2019 could be a year in which the focus of this fight continues to shift from the pipeline right of way to the courtroom.