Nearly 100 organizations call for the rejection of new permits for Mountain Valley Pipeline in letter to DEQ

PRESS RELEASE FOR March 9, 2021

Richmond, VA — Ninety-seven organizations, including local, state, and national groups, signed a letter to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, State Water Control Board, and Air Pollution Control Board calling for a rejection of new permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The long list of signers included social justice organizations, political organizations, community groups, environmental groups, faith organizations, and farms.

The letter, written in response to MVP’s recent revelation that it will seek individual state water permits versus relying on the contested Nationwide Permit 12 permit for water crossings, pointed to MVP’s prolonged track record of non-compliance, numerous legal troubles, and ballooning budget. Highlighting that MVP is under criminal investigation and has repeatedly violated Virginia regulations and caused harm to communities, been proven unneeded by years of nearly flat energy load demand, and continually moves the goalposts of its completion date, the letter acknowledges that the concerns brought forward by a wealth of experts and community members during the project’s permitting process have come to fruition. Also pointing to years of wasting taxpayer dollars regulating the project despite such obvious grounds for rejecting it to begin with, the letter ultimately concludes that “[i]n order to fulfill the Department’s and Board’s obligation to conserve and protect Virginia’s waterways, DEQ and the Board can only reject any new permit applications for Mountain Valley, or any request from MVP for new permits.”

Queen Zakia Shabazz, Founder of United Parents Against Lead and Coordinator for the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative, said: “There is no need for another gas pipeline that poisons our air and water. It is time for polluters to stop putting profits over the lives and safety of people. For the sake of Environmental Justice we urge DEQ to deny all future MVP permit applications. With continued advocacy and resistance the Mountain Valley Pipeline will go the way of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Let it be so.”

Lee Anne Williams, Co-director of Green New Deal Virginia, said: “The Mountain Valley Pipeline has proven to be a hazard to the clean water Virginians depend on, has already caused massive disruption to streams and wetlands, and is a threat to crucial aquifer and drinking water supplies. Virginia needs to invest in renewable technology and create safe, new economic opportunities for solar and wind workers and entrepreneurs in our Commonwealth, not strand billions of dollars in dirty and obsolete fossil fuel infrastructure. We strongly encourage the DEQ and it’s citizen’s Water and Air Boards to find the courage to change Virginia’s trajectory by boldly and decisively rejecting any new permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.”

Stacy Lovelace, Co-founder of Virginia Pipeline Resisters, who organized the letter campaign, said: “This broad range of almost 100 organizations collectively lifted the fact that rejecting new permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline is not only possible and justifiable, but it’s imperative and the only responsible choice. The DEQ and Boards must acknowledge the same, finally do the right thing, and deny any new permits for MVP and its Southgate extension.”

MVP is also seeking a state air permit for its new Lambert Compressor Station, which would push gas from its mainline into its proposed Southgate extension. The letter, sent to the regulatory agencies before the deadline for commenting on the air permit application, grants that “[a]pproving a permit for this station, proposed to push gas into North Carolina via MVP’s proposed Southgate extension, would perpetuate environmental injustice and be an insult to injury in the face of all the dangers and lack of need already proven for MVP’s mainline” and urges the rejection of the air permit as well.

For more information, please contact Stacy Lovelace at virginiapipelineresisters@gmail.com.

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We work toward a Virginia free of pipelines and other harmful infrastructure. We will not go away until these projects do.