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Wild Virginia vows to fight on against the Mountain Valley Pipeline

Critics say builders of the Mountain Valley Pipeline cannot comply with the Clean Water Act and other regulations
Appalachian Voices
Critics say builders of the Mountain Valley Pipeline cannot comply with the Clean Water Act and other laws governing pollution.

Building a pipeline is a messy business. It involves digging and blasting, moving soil and rocks, so erosion is inevitable. Crews have techniques for keeping sediment out of rivers and streams, but at Wild Virginia David Sligh says those methods are not effective when you’re building through mountains.

“They really can’t meet the environmental requirements that they’re faced with, and that should still be a basis for this project never being finished.," he contenbds. "Just by all the activity they’re going to do with clearing and trenching and moving the heavy equipment, we’re talking millions of tons of dirt that’s going to be excavated and moved around.”

So he’s calling on opponents of the MVP to monitor construction crews in the field – to test water in streams and report any violations of environmental law.

“Some of the most sensitive areas still haven’t even been cleared much less having the trenches dug or blasted through the ground,” Sligh says.

Violations would be reported to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, and if it doesn’t order builders to stop work, Sligh says the public can ask a judge to do so.

“Virginia has not ever in this process admitted that water quality standards have been violated. By contrast, West Virginia has done it many times. There is something called a Clean Water Act Citizens’ Suit. If the agency doesn’t enforce the Clean Water A ct, then it is possible for citizens to basically step in and do it for them or instead of them.”

Over one four-month period, he says, citizen monitors documented 118 violations. Virginia’s DEQ did nothing, but courts have issued stop work orders against the pipeline.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief