An Accident Waiting to Happen

Indian Creek Watershed Association (ICWA) has called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to stop work on Mountain Valley Pipeline after the June 7, 2018 explosion of the 36-inch gas Leach Xpress pipeline near Moundsville, West Virginia. Citing “the similarities of terrain—particularly the prevalence of steep slopes and landslide-prone areas along MVP’s 300-mile route through West Virginia and Virginia,” ICWA calls on FERC to:

  1. Order an immediate halt to construction of the MVP and instruct MVP to reanalyze its route and construction plans to identify locations with conditions similar to those involved in the Leach Xpress explosion and to other sites subsequently identified by TransCanada as areas of concern.
  2. Reconsider its Rehearing Order, issued June 15, 2018 on a 3-to-2 vote, that rejected, dismissed or denied all Requests for Rehearing of the MVP Certificate (FERC Accession No. 20180615- 3053).

Read the full ICWA letter to FERC below.

Related Coverage From the Roanoke Times.


Citizen Groups Call for VA Water Control Board to Meet to Address Violations

Monday, June 18, 2018 at 2:00 pm

Location: Wasena Park, Roanoke, VA

(near Vic Thomas Greenway bridge by the Roanoke River)

Citizen observers for the Mountain Valley Watch program have documented and reported as many as 20 erosion control violations to the Department of Environmental Quality since mid-April 2018. But, DEQ has not issued any violation notices or warnings to the contractor or MVP LLC.  The number and severity of problems requires an immediate investigation into the reported violations, yet DEQ officials denied the existence of violations and problems during a recent court hearing in Roanoke. Residents are concerned that DEQ is not fulfilling its responsibility to correct and enforce serious violations of state laws.

Groups also urge the State Water Control Board to immediately hold a meeting to determine the adequacy of the Army Corps’ Nationwide Permit 12 to protect the Blue Ridge region’s rivers, streams, and drinking water.  The board is currently scheduled to meet August 21 to consider the adequacy of the federal permit. The groups say that in light of the ongoing problems and the daily, direct harm to state waters from pipeline construction activities, a decision on the permit cannot wait until late August.

Speakers include:

  • Delegate Sam Rasoul
  • Russell Chisholm, Preserve Giles
  • Cynthia Munley Preserve Salem
  • Dr. Tina Smusz, MD, MPH, health educator
  • Mary Beth Coffey, landowner
  • Jason Shelton, Mountain Valley Watch

Pick Your Poison: MVP Threatens Health

In this revealing presentation, Dr. Tina Smusz describes the dangers to public health inflicted on communities by construction and operation of fracked gas pipelines and compressor stations.


Every stage of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, from tree clearing through construction and operation, carries pollution. However, it has the most serious consequences for pregnant women, their fetuses, children, and the elderly. Construction creates volatile organic compounds, dust, particulate matter and diesel spills. Operation of the pipeline brings methane leaks, compressor station emissions and high radon levels in the transported fracked gas.

Dr. Smusz has sounded the alarm about the threats to water and health from the Mountain Valley Pipeline in letters to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and presentations to The Virginia State Water Control Board and county governments along the route, and in multiple forums for health professionals. Her warnings have been irresponsibly ignored by regulatory bodies in favor of industry needs and at high cost to public safety. View the entire presentation above and then call your elected representatives in Congress and demand that FERC grant a rehearing based on the commission’s refusal to truly consider public health and public input when recklessly granting Mountain Valley’s Certificate of Necessity and Convenience. Corporate profiteers cannot be allowed unchecked expansion of sacrifice zones in Virginia and West Virginia at the expense of citizens who will be exposed to these deadly poisons and ever present threat of explosion.

Natural Gas Health Impacts Symposium from Physicians for Social Responsibility

Mountain Valley Watch Training Days

Mountain Valley Watch Banner

Mountain Valley Watch (MVW) is a program to monitor the Mountain Valley Pipeline for problems during construction for water source contamination, slope failure, soil erosion into waterbodies, stream channel damage, and damage to adjacent properties. Meetings will be held along the construction route to disseminate information and to train observers for construction monitoring. The training will show you what to look for during construction and how to report possible violations. The first hour will include information on the program and basic training in visual observation of the construction site. The second hour will provide advanced details on visual observations, reporting of observations and using reporting applications.

Next Scheduled Training Sessions:

Giles County, VA observer training session and information meeting:
When:   April 24, 2018 at 7:00 PM
Where:  Newport Recreation Center, 434 Blue Grass Trail, Newport VA
Trainers are Kirk Bowers, PE and Jason Shelton, New River Geographics, LLC
For more Information please call: 833-MVWATCH

Montgomery County, VA observer training session and information meeting:
When:   April 26, 2018 at 7:00 PM
Where:  Blacksburg Presbyterian Church, 701 Church Street SE, Blacksburg
Trainers are Kirk Bowers, PE and Jason Shelton, New River Geographics, LLC
For more Information please call: 833-MVWATCH

Roanoke County, VA observer training session and information meeting:
When:   May 17, 2018 at 6:30 PM
Where:  Bent Mountain Community Center, 10140 Tinsley Lane, Bent Mountain VA
Trainers are Kirk Bowers, PE and Jason Shelton, New River Geographics, LLC
For more Information please call: 833-MVWATCH


Citizen Voices: Marge Lewter

Published with permission from Marge Lewter of Craig County, Virginia.

Dear Governor Northam,

I supported you in the recent election because I knew you were an honest and concerned person. I know you recently met with the Virginia DEQ supporting their PROTECTION and PRESERVATION of our water supplies.

I plead with you to take a moment to see what devastating activities are happening already with the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia. The last minute tree pipeline clearing, the restrictions on citizens from being on their own property and in the national forest, the blatant disregard for deadlines and the changing of the restrictions agreed upon by FERC and the Forest Service is just an example of what is to come. They have not started excavating yet and it is not too late for you to stop this process!

All three river systems in Virginia will be affected by the impending sedimentation, not to mention the disruption of our natural pure water in the underground karst reservoir in western VA.

Another recent example of the disregard for anything else but their own agenda is the FERC has allowed changing the deadlines for tree clearing with disregard for previously agreed upon dates that will affect migratory birds in Virginia.

YOU have the power to step back and take a look at this for the citizens of Virginia. It is your duty and responsibility so please act without delay!



Marjorie M. Lewter, DVM
Craig County Virginia

Citizen Groups Object to FERC’s Automatic Variance Approval Process

Preserve Craig and Indian Creek Watershed Association filed objections March 29 to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s near-instantaneous approval of Mountain Valley Pipeline variance and construction approval requests. The groups, who filed their comments jointly, specifically objected to the quick turnaround time between Request for Variance MVP-1 and Request for Notice to Proceed No. 18, both of which were approved by FERC within hours of the initial filing.

“Action on this hasty schedule raises two primary concerns,” the groups said in their filing. “The first goes to the adequacy of OEP Staff’s review. The second goes to the denial of parties’ opportunity to review and comment on the request prior to final decision.”

The groups asserted that same-day approval of MVP’s requests does not show the due diligence that FERC asserted in the original Certificate would be used “to ensure the protection of all environmental resources during construction and operation of the project.”

Preserve Craig and Indian Creek Watershed Association also indicated that FERC’s almost immediate turnaround time in approving MVP’s requests does not grant the public time to comment on the requests; under FERC’s own rules of procedure, “the public is given five days to review and comment on motions requesting expedited action.”

Attached to the filing are screenshots and copies of emails verifying the timeline of MVP’s requests and FERC’s subsequent approvals.


View/download full text of the objection below.