FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 14, 2020

Contact:
Collin Rees, collin [at] priceofoil.org
Doug Jackson, doug.jackson [at] sierraclub.org

Over 43,000 Demand Feds Reject Extension of Fracked Gas Pipeline Permit Timeline

WASHINGTON, DC — Water and climate advocacy organizations submitted comments and signatures from more than 43,000 people demanding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) deny the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline more time to construct the pipeline. Developers of the controversial project, which is billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule, asked FERC for a two-year extension of a certificate it needs to continue construction. Planned to run over 300 miles through West Virginia and Virginia, state inspectors have already identified hundreds of violations of commonsense water protections, and MVP has paid millions of dollars in penalties. There are also questions about whether MVP is accurately reporting how much of the project has been completed.

The comments and petition signatures were collected by the Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth Action, Beyond Extreme Energy, 198 Methods, and the NC Alliance to Protect Our People and the Places We Live. They represent people from West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. The Sierra Club and several of its allies also moved to intervene in the proceeding and submitted comments opposing the extension request. Additionally, senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner have asked FERC to extend the public comment period on MVP’s request, asking for 30 days because the 15 currently granted are “inadequate.”

In response, the following coalition organizations fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline issued the following statements:

Joan Walker, Beyond Dirty Fuels Senior Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club, said:

“There was never any need for the fracked gas in the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and it never should have been proposed in the first place. Since construction started, inspectors have identified hundreds of violations of commonsense water protections and MVP has proven they can’t be trusted to build this dirty, dangerous pipeline over any period of time. That’s why over 43,000 people signed petitions telling FERC that enough is enough — time’s up for the MVP.”

Collin Rees, Senior Campaigner with Oil Change International, said:

“The Mountain Valley Pipeline has been a disaster for communities and the climate since the day it was proposed. MVP’s attempted construction has already resulted in hundreds of reckless violations, and it’s clearer than ever that there’s no justifiable need for this fracked gas boondoggle. That’s why the public comments reflect overwhelming opposition to the project, urging FERC to reject MVP’s desperate request for an extension.”

Jolene Mafnas, Virginia Organizer with Food & Water Action, said:

“FERC must prioritize the public’s interest by denying MVP’s request for extension. MVP still has missing permits and its repeated violations just goes to show the project’s environmental impacts were grossly underestimated by agencies and the company. Approving this extension when MVP has failed to follow the initial certificate’s requirements will only straddle impacted communities with more unnecessary cost, distress and irreversible environmental and climate impacts from this ill-conceived project.”

Anne Havemann, General Counsel with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said:

“The comments we submitted don’t even begin to cover the overwhelming opposition to the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Thousands and thousands of Virginians are speaking up against this pipeline, and have been for years. Despite being years behind schedule, this unnecessary pipeline has already caused immeasurable damage. FERC should reject it once and for all.”

Russell Chisholm, Co-Chair of Protect Our Water, Heritage, said:

“The best time to stop Mountain Valley Pipeline’s destruction was before FERC issued its disastrously flawed certificate. The next best time is right now, especially with renewable energy displacing fracked gas and pipeline builders walking away from their ill-fated projects. One way or another the last pipeline out of Appalachia will become stranded and abandoned.”

Shane Capra, Organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy, said:

“The MVP is not simply an unnecessary pipeline — it is a pipeline that will prop up the collapsing fracked gas industry during a crucial turning point in human history. We need to turn fully towards renewable energy systems- or face unthinkable climate consequences. FERC has a miserable track record for carrying out its mandate to regulate energy infrastructure. In the last 30 years they have rejected only 2 out of over 470 infrastructure proposals. But even FERC should see the incompetence of Equitrans. After all, what business can fall two years behind schedule, run over budget by 2 billion dollars, lose its permit to build, rack up hundreds of environmental violations and then ask for more time? Time’s up for fracked gas. Time’s up for MVP. Time’s up for fossil fuels. Reject Equitrans’ 2-year certificate extension!”

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