Backers of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, already far behind schedule and well over budget, will have four more years to complete the controversial project, FERC said Tuesday. The pipeline was supposed to begin operations in 2018. The pipeline, reportedly a priority for West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III in IRA negotiations, would carry methane-based gas from his state more than 300 miles to southern Virginia.
Many in the path of proposed pipelines, including Indigenous groups who have fought the MVP for years, say they were used as a bargaining chip and sacrificed to secure passage of the IRA. “They didn’t have all the players at the table,” Crystal Cavalier-Keck, an enrolled citizen of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation in what is now North Carolina where her family has lived since before the Declaration of Independence, told the Washington Post.
Numerous legal failures; DC rally planned
In addition to failing to meet environmental justice requirements and failing to obtain proper legal permits, the pipeline’s construction operations have been repeatedly cited for failure to control runoff pollution in the steep mountain terrain. “This action by FERC is the latest in a long line of irresponsible decisions that this and other government bodies have issued over the last five years, to the harm of the people and environments all along the pipeline’s path. The Commission has again favored the narrow interest of a profit-making corporation over the public interest,” David Sligh of Conservation Virginia said in a statement.
“I went through the stages of grief — anger, sadness, depression, hopelessness, and then I was like ‘We’ve got to stand up. We’ve got to do something,’” Cavalier-Keck said. They are now working to recruit other members of Indigenous, Black, and Appalachian communities to meet with lawmakers and attend a rally in Washington DC on September 8. (FERC extension: Politico Pro $, WDBJ-7; Appalachian BIPOC opposition: Washington Post $; Runoff pollution: Roanoke Times)