Water Control Board approves pipeline permit
The Mountain Valley Pipeline got a key permit Tuesday. The state Water Control Board approved a water protection permit on a 3-to-2 vote. Two board members were absent.
Opponents had argued the pipeline has a history of construction violations and a new permit should not be issued. But staff from the Department of Environmental Quality told the board previous violations were not grounds to deny a new permit and recommended approval. "There’s adequate avoidance and minimization to the impact on state waters to the maximum extent practicable," David Davis with the Office of Wetlands and Stream Protection said. "This permit, we believe complies with state laws and regulations."
The director of DEQ’s Division of Water Permitting, Melanie Davenport, said there was a narrow scope to the board’s decision. "The scope of this permit is not the pipeline. It is the temporary impacts to wetland and stream crossings," Davenport told the board. "That’s the scope of your authority and that’s what we’re here talking about today."
The board did not take public comment during Tuesday's meeting. After the vote, several opponents began singing and shouted "shame on you" as they left the meeting room.
Environmental organizations like Food and Water Watch say they hope federal reviews will stop the project. In a statement, the group said those reviews should take the natural gas pipeline’s climate impact into consideration.
The 307-mile-long pipeline will carry fracked natural gas from northern West Virginia to the existing Transco pipeline in Pittsylvania County.