At close of business October 5, the Army Corps of Engineers published a notice that the Nationwide 12 Permit Verification for the Mountain Valley Pipeline was being suspended.
The verification was previously issued January 23, 2018 and allowed MVP to construct a pipeline across “383 separate stream crossings and 142 separate wetlands.” However, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order October 2 in Sierra Club v. Army Corps of Engineers (Case No. 18-1173) vacating the Nationwide 12 Permit verification for the Huntington District of West Virginia.
“Because of that order, it is uncertain whether NWP 12 will ultimately be available to authorize work for MVP in West Virginia,” the Corps’ letter said. “Therefore, the Norfolk District finds it appropriate to suspend your authorization and await clarity on this issue.”
“Effective immediately you must stop all activities being done in reliance upon the authorization under the NWP,” the letter said.
MVP has ten days to request a meeting with the Norfolk District office of the Army Corps to discuss the issue.
In the order issued October 2, the court agreed with plaintiff attorneys that “if any part of a project requires an individual permit, then the NWP does not apply and all portions of the project must be evaluated as part of the individual permit process.” Shortly after the order was filed, plaintiff attorneys at Appalachian Mountain Advocates filed a letter with FERC asserting that the Commission must issue a Stop Work Order for the full route of the pipeline, as a condition of the permit that requires the company to obtain all state and federal permits is no longer satisfied. FERC has not yet issued a Stop Work Order as a result of the Army Corps verification being vacated and suspended.
Roberta Bondurant, POWHR Coalition Co-Chair
“We are encouraged the Corps saw the wisdom in deferring to the Fourth Circuit in the Court’s vacation of the Section 404 permit on MVP. This decision does not go far enough, though. The POWHR Coalition today filed a request with FERC to stop all work, noting MVP’s reckless and assaultive rush to build through and near streams before the shell LLC — whose stock is plummeting — could be stopped.
“The Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Army Corps Section 404 permits are now vacated, and the Natural Streams Preservation Act permit for the proposed Greenbrier River crossing is stayed in circuit court in Summers County. MVP is unquestionably noncompliant with FERC certificate — FERC should revoke the certificate, and all work should stop.”