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Unusual Pipeline Rulings Leave Advocates to Wonder: What Now?

Steve Helber

Anti-pipeline advocates are taking stock this week, after a confusing set of decisions by state regulators. They’ve decided to treat two pipeline projects differently, granting approval to one but demanding more review on the other.





Tuesday, Virginia’s water control board made last minute changes to a permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. They’re demanding the chance to approve additional environmental plans before construction can begin.    


That’s left state regulators and pipeline opponents scrambling. A lingering question for Peter Anderson, of Appalachian Voices, is how transparent the rest of the process will be.


“What will be made available to the public in terms of the environmental reviews that are still outstanding and an ability to comment on them?” Anderson asked.


Read More: Both Sides Claim Cautious Victory on Key Regulatory Hurdle for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The new process also opens up questions on the Mountain Valley Pipeline. For instance, why didn’t the board opt to include the stronger language in that pipeline’s permit?


“It remains to be seen how we will convince DEQ and the Board to treat MVP with at least as much care and caution as they are treating ACP,” said Anderson.


Pipeline opponents have already petitioned the board to reconsider their decision on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, but that petition has been denied.


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.


Mallory Noe-Payne is a Radio IQ reporter based in Richmond.