Mountain Valley Pipeline Still Unfinished 
Guest Commentary by Chris Chanlett
Hinton News, January 30, 21

Many people may be wondering what happened to that Mountain Valley Pipeline. The answer is a lot legally and not much physically since last summer.

EQT Trans, the Pittsburgh-based corporation, claims the pipeline is "92% finished." Observers on the ground say this is far from the case, another example of MVP asserting the project has been a "done deal" from the beginning. In December it won a second ruling from the U.S. Forest Service that it could cross the 3.5 miles of the Jefferson National Forest in Monroe County in West Virginia and Giles and Montgomery counties in Virginia.

Then on January 19, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) deadlocked in a 2-2 vote on MVP's request to bore under streams and wetlands in the first 77 miles in northern West Virginia. The once little-known agency had customarily allowed the MVP to begin construction even though it had not designed its water crossings and obtained many rights of way across public lands.

The agency's mandate is to certify that all projects are in the "public necessity and convenience." With President Biden, FERC will have a Democrat as chairman who sets the agenda and may be less deferential to corporations. The opposition to MVP has doggedly generated overwhelming negative feedback in public comments and sustained numerous challenges in court.



Landowner Citizen Letter to FERC disputes MVP "best interests"  
The following letter was filed on behalf of Preserve Monroe to the FERC Docket for MVP.  Hopefully it will be put on the docket soon.  This was the effort of many people and over 30 hours of work. Thank you all who was involved.  Landowner and citizen  statements will be taken until this Friday (February 19, 2021) and will be filed to the FERC Docket next Monday. Letter was sent to Ms. Kimberly Bose, Secretary Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. (FERC) 
If you or someone you know still wants to make a statement please have them email Preserve Monroe 
Dear Ms. Bose,
We are writing to refute the claim made by MVP attorney Todd Normane in a January 26, 2021 letter to FERC (Document Accession #: 20210126-5040) that, "Therefore, the best environmental outcome for water quality, aquatic and terrestrial habitat, and the interests of landowners in the vicinity of the Project is for construction to be completed as soon as possible." Attorney Todd Normane made no distinction in his correspondence between 1) the unnamed and supposedly 'supportive' landowners, 2) the hundreds of landowners MVP sued to essentially 'force' the sale of easements, who may have 'voluntarily' signed those easements, but remain opposed to MVP and 3) the landowners who have yet to sign any easement and whose land has nevertheless been 'taken' by eminent domain.
Many landowners report that they agreed to an easement out of fear of an eminent domain lawsuit. Other landowners who never wanted a pipeline to cross their properties are still in Federal Court fighting this 'taking' of their land. They do not want further desecration of their property. They do not want to see miles and miles of forest being destroyed anywhere in this region. They do not want the contamination of our pure, irreplaceable mountain springs and streams. A significant number of landowners, both on and adjacent to the ROW, have already experienced impacts to their water.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy_s recent purchase of 600 acres to protect the area around McAfee Knob in Virginia was made possible in part by money from the Mountain Valley Pipeline agreement. Clay Bonnyman Evans photo.

ATC Reveals Further Details of $19.5M MVP Pipeline Agreement

February 16, 2021    Clay Bonnyman Evans

Facing criticism and questions on social media, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy has provided more details about its August 2020 decision to sign a "voluntary conservation stewardship agreement" with the company overseeing the construction of a controversial, 303-mile natural-gas pipeline slated to cross the trail in Virginia. 

Under the agreement, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC will provide up to $19.5 million to the ATC "to conserve land along the Trail corridor and support outdoor recreation-based activities in Virginia and West Virginia."

Under the current plan, the pipeline will cross the trail 110 feet below the surface for about 600 feet. The pipeline also will run parallel to the trail for about 12 miles, four miles off the trail along the Virginia-West Virginia border north of Pearisburg, Virginia.

"Whether it's conserving high-priority climate-resilient lands or safeguarding iconic vistas from the Trail, this agreement will greatly advance the pace and scale of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's mission-critical landscape conservation work," Laura Bellville, the ATC's vice president of Conservation and Trail Programs, said in August.

But some allies in the ATC's six-year opposition to the project have started to go public with their criticism of the agreement.

"In the process we (the ATC) decided that those fighting with us were not nearly as valuable as those filthy rich pipeline guys. So we threw our friends under the bus and laughed all the way to the bank," Maury Johnson, who has spent years fighting the plan to run the pipeline across his West Virginia farm, posted on the ATC's Facebook page in early February. The post has since been removed.

Andrew Downs, senior regional director for the South, says the ATC entered negotiations with Mountain Valley after a 2018 ruling by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals made clear that concerns about the trail would not be enough to halt the project.

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