Pipeline opponents renew call for stop work order

Published: Jan. 2, 2019 at 10:11 PM EST
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Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline renewed their call for a stop work order, during a meeting Wednesday afternoon in Roanoke County.

Recent court rulings have restricted construction on National Forest land and at stream crossings in Virginia and West Virginia. Opponents of the natural gas pipeline project say work should be suspended along the entire length of the project.

Tammy Belinsky is an attorney who has worked with groups that oppose the pipeline.

"We are very appreciative that the State Water Control Board finally heard us, finally recognized the concerns, valid concerns, and whether or not their duty had been fulfilled," Belinsky told the audience at the Bent Mountain Community Center, "but they didn't stop work."

Also attending the meeting was former State Water Control Board member Roberta Kellam.

Kellam visited several sites in Franklin and Roanoke Counties, where landowners say pipeline construction has caused problems with erosion and sedimentation.

Later, she said the Governor and Virginia's Secretary of Natural Resources should get a firsthand look at conditions along the pipeline corridor.

"I'm not on the State Water Control Board any more," Kellam said. "I don't feel that I have confidence in DEQ and I think that's something that the Governor, this administration, the Secretary of Natural Resources they need to think about "

Wednesday evening, a spokesperson for Mountain Valley Pipeline said the company remains focused on responsible and safe construction, and respects the ongoing oversight.

Following is the complete statement:

"The MVP project team remains focused on the responsible and safe construction of this important pipeline project and Mountain Valley appreciates and respects the comprehensive permitting process established by the State Water Control Board (SWCB) and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VA DEQ), as well as their ongoing oversight. Since the onset of the MVP project, we have worked to design a route with the least overall impact to landowners and communities; and to preserve and protect sensitive species, historical resources, and the environment. MVP continues to work closely with state and federal environmental agencies to provide accurate, comprehensive construction updates that ensure compliance with previously approved plans and regulations.

Approximately 70% of the MVP project is now complete and finishing the remaining 30% of the project's construction work in accordance with plans previously approved by state regulators is the most environmentally prudent course of action."