UPDATE: The Virginia DEQ is releasing sites to continue work on a rolling basis. For the most updated list of released sites, see the Work Suspension Update on the DEQ website.
Mountain Valley Pipeline announced June 29 that the company would halt work on the Virginia segment of the project, stating the company will take the time to focus on repairing and replacing erosion and sediment control measures. Spokeswoman Natalie Cox stated the decision was made based on “direct consultation” with the Virginia DEQ, which has to date issued no notices of violation for multiple egregious erosion and sediment control failures.
Cox said the issues were the result of “extraordinary rainfall experienced in Virginia.” Based on climate data from NOAA’s Southeast Regional Climate Center, Southwest Virginia experienced incidents of 40 percent more than the average rainfall in the last 90 days. Heavy concentrations of rain along miles of open trench and on steep slopes will create even worse conditions as the construction impacts advance.
Residents of Southwest Virginia know based on lifetimes of observation that the rain events that have occurred in the last 90 days are far from extraordinary. Virginia DEQ approved plans for erosion and sediment controls that were already inadequate to handle the rain this region gets during the spring and summer. Compounded with MVP’s documented failure to adequately implement and maintain those controls according to Annual Standards and Specifications, we will continue to see increased sedimentation in our streams and wetlands.