This piece is posted with permission from Preserve Craig, the group who submitted it for publication in the The New Castle Record.
Preserve Craig files two new actions to block MVP this week
The Jones family has lived on Sinking Creek for seven generations. Gordon Jones in Craig County and Donald Wayne Jones in Giles have been reporting to the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and its surveyors about the important historic cemeteries and building on Sinking Creek for three years. MVP has ignored and mislabeled these national treasures, which are along their proposed route. Preserve Craig has joined the Newport Historical District to protect our heritage, including a Civil War cemetery that was intentionally relabeled as a recent cemetery. We’ll give more details on this soon, but need to give you an update on efforts to oppose MVP.
Preserve Craig’s attorneys, the Water & Power Law Group, filed a formal motion with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Monday, February 26, to block any construction in Craig County. MVP is ignoring important historic sites, and the Adlai Jones historic properties along the proposed pipeline route are at risk and have been mislabeled by MVP. Preserve Craig also claims that MVP should not be allowed to proceed until it’s motions to stay and requests for rehearing are acted upon.
Preserve Craig’s lawsuits against the Forest Service (FS), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have been consolidated and accepted under expedited procedures for initial hearing May 8 before the Fourth Circuit US Court of Appeals. The opening brief was filed by Preserve Craig’s expert attorney on Forest Service matters, Tammy Belinsky, together with counsel for four other national plaintiffs. The suit asks that the court to reverse FS and BLM decision because they violated FS planning rules and environmental laws when it modified its management plans. A friend of the court briefs from other Forest protection groups was also filed this week in support of Preserve Craig’s suit.
Numerous suits and appeals are flying
MVP is pushing hard to get the trees cut before March 31, or their construction schedule and their financing strategy would be disrupted. EQT, the managing partner of MVP, announced it would split into two companies later this year and construction on time is expected to continue affecting their stock price.
Meanwhile, we are pushing back on numerous fronts. In other Federal Court cases opposing MVP this week:
•A new suit stopping MVP from crossing any West Virginia creeks, pending appeal of MVP’s use of a nationwide blanket 404 Army Corps of Engineers water quality permit that did not require review of any risks to streams or watersheds.
•Bold Alliance, together with 50 landowners, filed for an expedited hearing that FERC and the Gas Act that FERC is using violates the U.S. Constitution by granting MVP rights to take private property for corporate gain.
•A federal judge ordered MVP to post bonds several times greater than MVP’s undervalued appraisals, to protect landowners fighting eminent domain condemnations.
What you can do
Write to our new Governor to ask that he keep his campaign promise. Demand that the 401 Water Quality permits, issued without adequate data, as well as the new “mitigation” agreements, be revoked and a full investigation be undertaken. The DEQ has not accepted MVP’s Erosion Control Plans, and our new Governor Northam indicated that his administration would review the situation and the DEQ water permits. You can find details on our website.
Preserve Craig is actively working to block MVP from harming our waters, our forests, our viewsheds, and our economy. We are working with our neighbors in adjoining counties and across the country to protect our way of life here in Craig. The FERC rehearing requests, motions opposing permitting, lawsuits against the FERC, MVP, DEQ, the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management are moving forward in the Federal Courts.
We are blessed to be living in this special place. We need to protect Craig County and this region for generations to come and need your donations and support to continue these efforts!
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Preserve Craig, Inc. is a 501C3 nonprofit volunteer public charity formed in 1991 using volunteers and donations to protect our natural, historical, and cultural resources. Tax-deductible donations are welcome online at http://www.preservecraig.org or by mail to Preserve Craig, Inc., PO Box 730, New Castle, VA. 24127. Phone: 540-309-9560. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org