The public comment period on a request by Mountain Valley Pipeline to extend a project certificate closed on Friday, and boy, did the public comment.
Submissions asking for denial include a letter from 27 Virginia state legislators, a sign-on letter with 270 participating organizations, and thousands of individual comments citing the years of harm the MVP has brought to West Virginia and Virginia communities and water resources.
“We, the people directly impacted by the climate nightmare known as the MVP, and hundreds of national organizations demand FERC deny MVP’s four-year extension request,” said Grace Tuttle of leading frontline group, the Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights (POWHR) Coalition. “There is overwhelming health, ecological, climate, and economic evidence that the MVP has no place in our communities, especially during a climate crisis. Our grassroots movement and national allies are all hands on deck at this critical moment to stop the MVP and focus all our energy on bold climate action that secures the livable future we deserve.”
The Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity is the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the Natural Gas Act and serves as the overarching approval for an interstate gas pipeline project, and it is required before construction can commence.
The request currently under review is the second that Mountain Valley Pipeline has made for an extension of the certificate, after receiving a two-year extension from FERC in 2020.
Since construction began in 2018, MVP has been cited for hundreds of water quality violations in West Virginia and Virginia, racking up millions of dollars in fines. In addition to water impacts, pipeline opponents have raised concerns about air emissions from compressor stations, safety issues, lack of need, and the impact of building out more fracked-gas infrastructure at a time when decarbonization is crucial to addressing the climate crisis.
“There is not a way forward where Mountain Valley Pipeline can complete construction legally, safely, and without irreparably harming communities, endangered species, pristine mountain forests and sensitive headwaters,” said Ridge Graham, North Carolina field coordinator for Appalachian Voices. “This project has been flawed and unnecessary since its initial announcement in 2014. A four-year extension would give the company a total of nine years to complete construction when the original CPCN’s term was three years. Enough is enough. FERC should deny the requested extension.”