Construction work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline has been temporarily suspended.
A statement from the company Friday says recent heavy rain has heightened erosion control concerns.
The company says work will now be shifted towards improving sediment erosion along the project’s 300 mile construction corridor.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality says it received reports of violations from citizen groups and sent inspectors of its own to locations along the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. After confirming problems with erosion and sediment control, officials announced construction would stop until the problems are addressed by pipeline company crews.
Rick Shingles is with Mountain Valley Watch, a group that documents problems it identifies and sends reports to DEQ. He says the watch group has been flying drones to check on erosion protection. "Whenever they’re doing work that’s not observed, in this case we could only observe it using drones, we found that they don’t use the erosion and sedimentation devices," Shingles said.
DEQ Director David Paylor confirmed a lack of the required controls, but he could not say how many violations there are. He says inspectors are looking at several sites along the pipeline construction route.
“I hope the public is encouraged to know that we have regular oversite of the project and that we will be holding the Mountain Valley Pipeline the highest standards," Paylor said Friday.
Paylor says construction on the natural gas pipeline through southwestern Virginia will resume only after the company gets approval from DEQ.