The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a motion for stay on all stream crossing construction in the Huntington District of West Virginia June 21. The order was issued as part of the challenge to the use of the Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide 12 Permit along the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The original Motion for Stay was filed May 22.
In the lawsuit, environmental organizations — specifically Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and West Virginia Rivers Coalition — are asserting that the Army Corps Nationwide 12 permit cannot be applied to the Elk, Greenbrier, Gauley, and Meadow Rivers in West Virginia because the pipeline cannot cross those streams within the WV required limit of 72 hours. The Corps conceded that fact and partially suspended the permit for just those four crossings. Attorneys with Appalachian Mountain Advocates, who are working on behalf of the environmental groups, are arguing that because the permit cannot be applied to four crossings along the route, the entire permit must be suspended until the court reviews it.
“Today’s decision shows once again that the Nationwide Permit 12 cannot be used as a one size fits all approach for dirty and dangerous pipelines that pose serious threats to our communities and clean water,” the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign Director Kelly Martin said in a press statement. “Construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline must be halted immediately as the case to protect our water and communities proceeds.”
“Today’s decision by the 4th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals is very welcome,” Maury Johnson of Preserve Monroe and POWHR said. “I believe that the US Army Corp of Engineers made grievous errors in issuing their NWP 12 Certification for this disastrous project. I hope my neighbors in Virginia, namely the VA DEQ and the VA State Water Control Board, will not make the same mistake.”
“It brings a sense of relief to see this pause button hit,” WV Rivers Coalition Executive Director Angie Rosser said in a press statement. “What we’re seeing is that short-cuts and easy-outs just won’t work for this massive project. Already with MVP, we’re seeing its early construction causing problems for our waters. It’s encouraging that the court agrees a more intensive review of this permit is required before risking any further damage.”