WVDEP Reverses, Waives Water Permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

Hold on or you might get whiplash. 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 (Sierra Club, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Indian Creek Watershed Association, Appalachian Voices and Chesapeake Climate Action Network) 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, the 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 will “re-evaluate the complete application to determine whether the state’s certification is in compliance with Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.” Just two weeks ago 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). Yesterday, 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. It appears newly-minted Gov. Jim Justice, still in his first year, put a branding iron to the backside of WVDEP. Hold on to your cowboy hat! MVP is on the way to getting built in the Mountain State…

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