U.S. Supreme Court Asked to Hear MVP Eminent Domain Case

A group of 13 landowners in Virginia whose property was force taken by Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) using eminent domain is appealing a case they already lost in federal court to the U.S. Supreme Court. The landowners claim MVP has taken private land–their land–to use for private/corporate gain and not (as the law requires) taken for a “public” benefit. Eminent domain allows the taking of private land for public benefit, but not taking private land for private benefit. The issue really revolves around the question of, What is a public benefit? Can a private company use government powers because what they provide benefits the public? The big question is, will the Supreme Court, which gets some 8,000 such appeals each year, make this appeal one of the 80 or so they consider?
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MVP Allowed to Restart Pipe Construction at WV Trail Crossing

Although EQT Midstream’s 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project has experienced a number of legal and regulatory setbacks and is currently blocked from constructing pipeline across/under/near any river, stream, or wetland in all of West Virginia and all of Virginia (some 1,100 different locations), believe it or not there are still many places where MVP can and is still installing pipeline (see Mountain Valley Pipe Keeps Building Despite Court Action re Permits). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, rather than shut down all MVP construction as is being demanded by antis, continues to grant permission to MVP to build. Here’s a few more such places in West Virginia.
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EQT Board Votes to Split Company in Two Beginning Nov 12

We now have a date for when EQT (the driller) and EQT Midstream (the pipeline company) will split and become two separate, independent companies that will no doubt continue to work together, but will in fact be two companies. That date is November 12. In a pair of press releases issued yesterday, EQT outlined how the transition to two publicly traded companies, EQT Corporation (stock ticker EQT) and Equitrans Midstream Corporation (ticker ETRN) will happen. One of the releases names four new members for the EQT board once the split occurs, and reaffirms that current EQT CFO Robert McNally will stop “Acting” and become the full, official President & CEO of EQT.
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6 Protesters Arrested for Blocking MVP Pipe Trucks in WV

Although EQT Midstream’s 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline project has experienced a number of legal and regulatory setbacks and is currently blocked from constructing pipeline across/under/near any river, stream, or wetland in all of West Virginia and all of Virginia, there are still places where MVP can build (see Mountain Valley Pipe Keeps Building Despite Court Action re Permits). MVP is legally continuing construction activities. Except sometimes MVP is illegally blocked by protesters who irrationally believe natural gas will kill the planet because it’s a “fossil fuel.” It happened again on Monday when six nutjobs were arrested at an MVP pipeline storage yard near the border of Raleigh and Fayette counties in WV.
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Another Setback for MVP – Permits Pulled in WV Northern Panhandle

We thought that all of Mountain Valley Pipeline’s (MVP) permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for stream and wetland crossings had been pulled in both West Virginia and Virginia, but alas, no. One of the regions where permits issued by the Army Corps (called NWP 12 permits), in the northern panhandle of WV, is issued by a different Army Corps district office (in Pittsburgh). That office has now revoked MVP’s permits in Wetzel and Harrison counties–another 59 stream and 62 wetland crossings. Which now makes it complete: MVP cannot engage in any construction across/under/near any river, stream, or wetland in *all* of WV and *all* of VA. That is, until they get the NWP 12 permit reworked and reissued.
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Va. Governor Refuses to Stop Mountain Valley Pipeline Work

Va. Gov. Ralph Northam

The pressure DC swamp dwellers and anti-fossil fuelers from across the country (indeed from across the world) have put on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (a Democrat) has been intense. They want Northam to abuse his executive authority, in contravention of the law, and block both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) projects in his state. Northam’s predecessor, Terry McAuliffe (also a Democrat) created the state’s first Environmental Justice Advisory Council. That Council, packed with anti-fossil fuelers, has advised Northam to block ACP and MVP. Northam has just given his own Council a polite but firm, NO.
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Mountain Valley Pipe Keeps Building Despite Court Action re Permits

Mountain Valley Pipeline, a project of EQT Midstream, continues to work on constructing its 303-mile long project from West Virginia into Virginia–despite a recent court order overturning some of the permits for the project (see Court Overturns MVP WV Permit; FERC Shutdown Coming Again?). The fact that MVP is working as fast as they can despite a partial shut down has antis fit to be tied. Which puts a broad smile on our face.
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Sections of Mountain Valley Pipe Wash onto Landowner’s Property

It’s one thing for mud and sediment to wash away from a pipeline drilling site due to heavy and relentless rains–as we have experienced in the northeast these past few months. But it’s another thing entirely when actual sections pipeline sitting at the construction site float away! That happened in Franklin County, Virginia last Thursday. The landowner, who was (and is) opposed to the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline from slicing through his property, has complained repeatedly about erosion and sediment from the construction path spilling over onto his farmland. Friday morning he woke up to MVP pipes washed onto his cornfield following torrential rains and wind, the leftovers of Hurricane Michael.
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Army Corps of Engineers Shuts Down MVP Pipe Work in Virginia

More bad news for EQT Midstream’s Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for MVP in West Virginia (see Court Overturns MVP WV Permit; FERC Shutdown Coming Again?). It’s the second time that permit has been overturned, stopping work at some 591 stream/river crossings the pipeline traverses in WV. Given the permit is overturned in WV, the Army Corps on Friday told MVP to stop work under the same permit in Virginia–affecting another 525 stream and water crossings.
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Court Overturns MVP WV Permit; FERC Shutdown Coming Again?

We’ve seen this movie before. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (quickly becoming the Fourth Circus) has once again listened to the arguments of anti-fossil fuel groups including the Sierra Club and Chesapeake Climate Action Network and has overturned a recently re-issued permit that allows Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) to use certain methods to build the pipeline across streams and rivers in West Virginia. The court action pretty much shuts down all work on MVP in WV.
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US District Court Throws Out ACP/MVP Eminent Domain Case

We’ve lost track of how many lawsuits have been filed by anti-fossil fuel groups against EQT Midstream’s Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), and Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Among the flood of never-ending lawsuits was a lawsuit against both pipelines from a group of 50 or so landowners who tried to overturn the constitutional use of eminent domain to force hold-out landowners to accept the pipeline. The landowners tried to court-shop and find a court to aide them in their cause. Last Friday the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected that effort.
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Federal Judges in Richmond Hear 4 Anti Cases Against MVP, ACP

Line ’em up and knock ’em down. Last Friday a panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (in Richmond, VA) heard four cases against Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), one after another, bing bing bing bing. Both pipeline projects, very important to the Marcellus/Utica region, are in various states of litigation, brought on by the odious Sierra Club and co-conspirators like the Southern Environmental Law Center.
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Mountain Valley Pipeline Cost Goes Up $1.1B, Online by Late 2019

The price tag to build the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline is going up. When first announced, the project, which will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA, was originally estimated to cost $3.5 billion. That number was tweaked this summer to $3.7 billion. Now MVP (i.e. EQT Midstream) says it will cost a whopping $4.6 billion–more than a billion dollars higher than the original estimate. Why the big hike? Two things, says MVP: (1) A work stoppage imposed by the courts and by FERC (thank you Sierra Club), and (2) heavy rain. The rise in cost is due more the former rather than the later. It was only yesterday we ran a story about how much it costs, per mile, to build a major pipeline in the northeast (see How Much Does it Cost to Build a Pipeline in the Northeast?). The costs to build all northeast pipelines continue to rise because of frivolous lawsuits by groups like the Sierra Club (nasty organization). We told you yesterday that it’s costing MVP’s chief competitor, Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline, $8.5 million per mile to build. Doing the math with the new/higher cost, the 303-mile MVP project will cost $15.2 million per mile to build! Ouch. The one bit of good news coming from MVP is that they say the project is still on track to be built and flowing gas by the end of 2019…
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Virginia Tech Radical Prof Gets Light Sentence for Pipeline Crime

It doesn’t help the cause of justice to let a repeat offender who breaks the law in order to protest pipeline projects, off easy. That’s what happened last week in Virginia when a U.S. Magistrate Judge essentially slapped the wrist of Virginia Tech radical professor Emily Satterwhite following yet another violation in her protest of Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). Police had taped a “no trespass” area and Satterwhite brazenly violated it, using the excuse she was taking pictures of other nutjob protesters who intentionally ran into the construction zone. OK, so she crossed a taped line. That’s no big deal is it? Thing is, she previously chained herself to a bulldozer, delaying construction of MVP for a whole day. The tape is up for a reason–to protect bystanders and workers. She violated it. She got off easy. The charge will be dropped if she doesn’t repeat offend yet again (fat chance of that happening)…
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WV County Court Judge Orders MVP to Stop Work at River Crossing

On again, off again, on again, off again. Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), EQT Midstream’s 303-mile pipeline from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, has had its share of ups and downs. A myriad of lawsuits have been filed against the project. Wacky radicals took to sitting in trees and poles to try and stop it. Most of the illegal protests and lawsuits only served to slow down the project, not stop it. But then a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club (and a few other colluding Big Green groups) yielded fruit in July when a federal court pulled permits for 3.5 miles of the pipeline where it runs through Jefferson National Forest (see Court Cancels Permits for Mountain Valley Pipe on Fed Land). Based on that court action, in early August the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told MVP to stop work everywhere, on all 303 miles (see FERC Shuts Down ALL Work on Mountain Valley Pipeline in WV, VA). FERC’s stop-work order resulted in thousands of layoffs (thank you, jobs-destroying Sierra Club). A few weeks later, FERC reversed itself and allowed work to restart everywhere, except for the 3.5 miles in JNF (see FERC Lifts Mountain Valley Pipe Stop-Work Order, Rehiring). And now, here we go again. This time a county judge ordered MVP to stop work at the Greenbrier River. Yes, it’s just one isolated location and the stoppage is “temporary”–at least until the next hearing on Oct. 23. But given the way antis have leveraged such minor incidents in the past into larger work stoppages, we’re always weary when it happens. Here’s the latest in the MVP soap opera…
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Antis Convince Libertarian Group to Oppose Mountain Valley Pipe

We have to confess we have a lot in common, philosophically, with Libertarians. We like the philosophy of live and let live–as long as what you do (or what I do) doesn’t hurt the other person, nobody has a right to stop you (or me) from doing it. But the Libertarian philosophy does have its quirks–things we don’t agree with. Sometimes wacky. Like support for legalizing pot smoking. Can you imagine a bunch of potheads driving down our roads? We don’t care if they want to stone themselves into oblivion in the privacy of their own homes–but we do have public safety concerns. A fine line/balance between the public good and private freedom. Here’s another case of public good vs. private freedom: pipelines. We’ve always had a tough time with the use of eminent domain for pipelines. But in the end, the greater public good is served by running pipelines, and if there’s one or two landowners here and there who refuse to deal, eminent domain is regrettably, sometimes necessary. As a last resort. The Niskanen Center, a “right-leaning” Libertarian think tank, has just entered the pipeline debate by filing a “friend of the court” brief with U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, siding with radical anti-fossil fuelers against the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The Niskanen Center is understandably concerned about landowners’ property rights being infringed. Unfortunately, they’ve allowed themselves to be used by antis, people whose political philosophy is closer to Mao Tse Tung (Communist) than it is to freedom for everyone. How could the Niskanen Center be so easily duped? We think we know. They believe in the fairy tale of man-made global warming, which appears to color their view of freedom. If they can fall for that one, they’ll fall for anything…
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