West Virginia DEP Proposes $265,972 Fine Against MVP, Releases Consent Order for Public Comment

To Comment on the Consent Order:

Mail written comments to WVDEP’s Public Information Office at 601 57th
St., S.E., Charleston, WV., 25304. OR e-mail your comments to
DEP.Comments@wv.gov. (Reference Mountain Valley Pipeline, Consent Order
#8951)


May 14, 2019

CHARLESTON, WV — Today, the West Virginia DEP publicly released their draft Consent Order for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, in which they propose a fine of $265,972 for 26 Notices of Violation issued between April 3 and November 30, 2018. The release of a draft initiates a public comment period that will be open until June 20, 2019. Attached to the draft order were 160 pages of photos showing inspections of violations by DEP staff. Cited violations include failure to implement perimeter controls, failure to prevent sediment-laden water from leaving the site without going through an appropriate device, and causing conditions not allowable in waters of the State.

The draft Consent Order was submitted to MVP for review April 19, 2019 and was signed by Robert Cooper, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Construction for MVP, LLC, and returned to DEP May 6, 2019.

Maury Johnson, POWHR Executive Committee Member and WV Impacted Landowner

“Today’s Consent Order, assessing fines in excess of over $265,000 for damages to WV streams, springs and wetlands though November of 2018 from the Mountain Valley Pipeline is welcome, but it is a pittance to the true cost of the damages citizens have documented in Summers and Monroe Counties alone.  $265 million dollars might be a little closer to the real damages that have occurred across the state on this one unnecessary fracked gas pipeline.

“We commend the environmental inspectors who are trying to do their jobs, given the impossible task before them with not enough resources or staff to do the job. I hope that WV DEP uses this money to hire more environmental inspectors to monitor these pipelines and other projects that imperil the water we all depend upon to sustain life.

“In the meantime, we believe the most prudent course of action for DEP would be to issue a Stop Work Order while the violations mentioned in the Consent Order are cleaned up and the public comment period conducted.”

Ashby Berkley, WV Impacted Landowner

“Again the will and protection of the people of West Virginia is sold out to the out-of-state Gas, Coal, and Mineral Companies. The violation settlement of $265,000 assessed to MVP would not pay for chemotherapy for one child with cancer caused by water polluted by fracking, or for one home destroyed by explosion of a massive gas line.  Why do we pay for environmental protection if it is not enforced for the protection of the people? This is no different from the massive sell out of natural resources and minerals that started in the 1800s. Why are we the poorest state and they are the richest companies?”

Contact:

Maury Johnson, POWHR Executive Committee Member, maurywjohnson@yahoo.com, (304) 832-6085

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MVP Organic Farm Protection Plan

In their Final Environmental Impact Statement, Mountain Valley Pipeline notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of five organic farms that would be impacted by the proposed pipeline — four in Monroe County, WV and one in Franklin County, VA.

Please see the following document with MVP’s Organic Farm Protection Plan (OFPP), which was originally published January 2016 and provides additional guidelines and restrictions for construction on organic farms.

Among the stipulations in the OFPP are restrictions on substances such as fuel and lubricant for machinery, stipulations on the handling and storage of any topsoil removed from the site, and guidelines for increased compensation for landowners if organic certification is lost due to the construction project.

MVP Organic Farm Protection Plan

MVP Requests Variances F-1, G-2, and Bradshaw-3 in Raleigh, Giles, Wetzel Counties

Mountain Valley Pipeline requested two variances March 27.

The first, labeled as F-1, seeks approval of an additional laydown yard in Raleigh County, WV. Aside from this request, Raleigh County is not impacted directly by any portion of the pipeline. Based on the alignment sheets attached to the request, the proposed laydown yard is located next to Interstate 64 and would cover 21.09 acres.

According to the request, a contractor working for MVP already owns the land in question.

To prepare the site for MVP use, the land would need to be graded to form a flat surface, and a few trees in one corner of the property would need to be cleared.

MVP included the following attachments with Variance Request F-1:

  1. Alignment Sheet of the site in question
  2. Cultural Resources Report
  3. Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species Report
  4. Stream and Wetland Delineation Report

The second variance requested by MVP March 27, labeled as G-2, seeks approval of a laydown yard in Giles County, VA along US Highway 460. The proposed laydown yard would cover 14.84 acres.

MVP states they will put a construction safety fence along the boundaries of the laydown yard in the vicinity of the existing businesses, as well as maintain a speed limit of 10 mph to “ensure the safety of the public in this area.” MVP also noted the entire site would need to be graded for use and the surface would be rocked.

MVP included the following attachments with Variance Request G-2:

  1. Alignment Sheets of the site in question
  2. Resource Map
  3. Cultural Resource Concurrence
  4. Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species Report
  5. Stream and Wetland Delineation Report
  6. Landowner Exhibit (labeled as Privileged)

>  MVP Variance Requests F-1 and G-2: Laydown Yards in Raleigh Co, WV and Giles Co, VA

On March 29, MVP filed a clarification to Variance Request F-1, indicating they were mistaken in stating that additional trees would need to be felled as a result of the variance.

MVP Variance Request F-1 (Clarification)

MVP filed an additional variance request March 29, seeking permission for additional temporary workspaces in proximity to the Bradshaw Compressor Station site in Wetzel County, WV.

MVP cited the following reason as the need for the variance:

A natural slip of the hillside was occuring adjacent to the Bradshaw Compressor Station access road. Construction crews need to access two additional work spaces at the location of the slip (approx. 200′ x 135′ and 230′ x 315′), to repair and stabilize the hillside.

MVP included the following attachments with Variance Request Bradshaw-3:

  1. Resource Map
  2. Cultural Resource Concurrence
  3. Stream and Wetland Delineation Report

MVP Variance Request Bradshaw-3: Slip Repair

FERC approved the variance request March 30.

FERC Letter Granting Variance Request Bradshaw-3

MVP Requests NTPs Nos. 18 and 19, FERC Responds Within Hours

Mountain Valley Pipeline submitted Requests for Notice to Proceed Nos. 18 and 19 early morning March 28.

Per Request for NTP No. 18, MVP seeks permission to being full construction activity on some segments of the pipeline and facilities in Summers and Monroe Counties, WV.

MVP requested that the Notice to Proceed be granted the same day, as “the facilities listed in Attachments A and B are located in bat habitat.”

Within hours, FERC granted MVP’s Request for Notice to Proceed No. 18.

> MVP Request for NTP No. 18

> MVP Notice to Proceed No. 18

In Request for NTP No. 19, MVP seeks permission to begin construction of its pipeline in Wetzel, Harrison, Lewis, Braxton, Nicholas, Greenbrier, Summers and Monroe Counties, WV, and Giles, Montgomery, Roanoke, Franklin, and Pittsylvania Counties, VA. MVP requested that FERC issue a Notice to Proceed for the locations listed in the request by March 30. FERC approved the request March 29.

> MVP Request for NTP No. 19

> MVP Notice to Proceed No. 19

MVP Status Report No. 20 Features Seven Landowner Complaints

Mountain Valley Pipeline filed their Weekly Status Report No. 20 March 26. The report includes information from the period between March 10 and March 16.

The report included a total of 16 self-reported Environmental Compliance Reports — 15 Problem Area Reports (PARs) on Spread B and one Noncompliance Report (NCR) on Spread G.

MVP’s report also included seven landowner complaints — one on Spread A, two on Spread G, three on Spread H, and one on Spread I. Among the concerns of landowners are complaints of trees falling outside of the limit of disturbance, trees breaking fences on property as they fall, surveyors leaving property gates open, and letters being sent with inaccurate property descriptions.

Attached to the filing are construction reports indicating the percentage of completion of each stage of construction on each spread, compressor station site, and interconnect site.

MVP indicated that, over the next reporting period, tree felling will continue on Spreads A, B, C, F, G, and H, site construction will continue at the authorized compressor stations and interconnects in West Virginia, and road construction will continue in West Virginia.

MVP Weekly Status Report No. 20

FERC Environmental Compliance Monitoring Report Feb 25-Mar 3

FERC released a third Environmental Compliance Monitoring Program weekly summary reports for the Mountain Valley Pipeline March 22. The report details activities from the period of February 25 to March 3.

For the time period covered in the report, FERC monitors issued 25 reports labeled “acceptable,” 14 communication reports, one approved level one variance, and one approved level two variance. The Compliance Monitors inspected the following activities:

  • Spread A – Observed tree climber clearing crews and timber felling activities within Spread A.
  • Spread B – Coordinated with Environmental Inspectors regarding the placement of signage for sensitive environmental features; identified access roads and took pre-construction photographs of sensitive environmental resources along the project right-of way; observed staking crews, evidence of landowner logging near MP 58.7; identified low water crossings.
  • Spread C – Met with Environmental Inspectors and West Virginia Department of Environmental Quality staff regarding logging activity and issues with access road AR-09- 001; observed installation of signage along access roads, survey, and staking of boundaries of approved construction.
  • Spread D – Coordinated with Environmental Inspectors; observed landowner logging activity near waterbody S-E52; observed survey and staking crews and sign installation; attended a tree felling safety training.
  • Spread E – Coordinated with Environmental Inspectors and attended safety training; reviewed alignment sheets; observed survey, staking, and wetland delineation crews.
  • Spread F – Coordinated with Lead Environmental Inspector regarding a potential resource at MP 182.6; met with members of the Karst Mitigation Team and reviewed the Karst Mitigation Plan; observed survey and staking crews; followed up with Environmental Inspectors regarding tree felling crews that have been cutting and felling trees outside of the limits of disturbance.
  • Spread G – Inspected tree felling (hand felling) activities; located and identified right-of-way crossings and access roads.
  • Spread H – No substantive activity conducted by Mountain Valley.
  • Spread I – No substantive activity conducted by Mountain Valley. Compliance Monitor became familiar with the Project area and permit requirements.

The Compliance Monitors also inspected construction activities at the Harris, Bradshaw, and Stallworth Compressor Stations.

>> FERC Environmental Compliance Report Feb 25-Mar 3