WV DEP Secretary Issues Letter Explaining MV Pipeline Decision

In March, the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) issued a federal water crossing permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP)–a $3.5 billion, 301-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA (see WV DEP Grants Mountain Valley Pipeline Water Crossing Permit). In June, a group of profoundly radical “environmental” organizations filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit against the WVDEP for doing their job issuing the permit (see Radicals File Lawsuit Against WV DEP for Approving MV Pipeline). Because of the pressure of that lawsuit, WVDEP caved and reversed their decision in September, rescinding (called “vacating”) the permit for MVP (see Trouble for Mountain Valley Pipe: WV DEP Withdraws Water Permit). The WVDEP said they would “re-evaluate the complete application to determine whether the state’s certification is in compliance with Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.” The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld WVDEP’s decision and granted the agency’s motion to invalidate the previous certificate they granted the project (see Court Backs WVDEP Move to Cancel Permits for Mountain Valley Pipe). Then earlier this month, in yet another 180 degree about face, WVDEP announced it has “lifted the suspension” of the MVP stormwater permit–and that the agency has decided to waive the permit, MVP has no need to get it before beginning construction (see WVDEP Reverses, Waives Water Permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline). Since that time WVDEP has faced withering criticism from antis, accusing the agency of abandoning their oversight of the project. On Monday, WVDEP Secretary Austin Caperton issued a letter to agency staffers (and to the public) to explain the agency hasn’t given up anything–that instead they have opted for a different type of oversight of the MVP project. We have to confess, it’s a very good letter and explains a lot. Bottom line: WVDEP is still very much large and in charge when it comes to overseeing impacts from the project on WV’s streams and rivers…

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