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.

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R. Chisholm

Volunteer organizer and pipeline monitor for POWHR and Preserve Giles County. Coffee wrangler.