WV DEP Proposes Changes in Pipeline Stream Crossing Permit

West Virginia has just published a draft revision for terms and conditions under which the state will issue a “Section 401” water permit for federally approved pipeline projects. Under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), the federal government delegates some of the responsibility in approving a pipeline project to the individual states. It’s a small but important part of the regulatory pie. Under Section 401 of the CWA, states get one year to review a pipeline project–to evaluate where that project will cross streams and rivers. If the state doesn’t like something about the plan, they tell the pipeline company and the plan gets revised. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Instead, some states (like New York) are abusing Section 401 and simply refusing to issue the permit, effectively killing entire pipeline projects. That’s not the intent of the regulation, something Congress is now looking to fix. We can’t have tinhorn dictators like Andrew Cuomo telling other states (like Pennsylvania) that you can no longer build pipelines into or through a neighboring state. That’s why approval of interstate pipeline projects resides at the federal level and not the state level–to prevent one state holding another hostage. WV has had some issues of their own with respect to Section 401 approvals (see WVDEP Reverses, Waives Water Permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline). Perhaps because of previous problems, like the issue with MVP, the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection has just floated proposed changes to the criteria they use in awarding a Section 401 permit…

Please Login to view this content. (Not a member? Join Today!)
You do not have permission to view the comments.

Please Login to post a comment