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Statement on the State Water Control Board’s Legal Authority to Revoke the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Section 401 Certification


The following statement is from Wild Virginia. Note that the Virginia Water Control Board is meeting tomorrow to review the Section 401 permissions it has given to the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Clearly, the Board should use its authority under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to stop this economically and environmentally disastrous, nonsensical boondoggle.

Attorneys representing 10 local, state, and regional organizations sent a letter today to the members of the State Water Control Board, urging the Board quickly start a process to revoke the water quality certification issued for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). At the same time, the attorneys strongly urge the Board to use enforcement tools available to it to stop work on the pipeline while the revocation process goes forward.

These attorneys were answering a letter MVP sent to DEQ Director David Paylor on February 12, 2019 that was subsequently given to Water Board members. MVP claims that a “cooperative effort [between MVP and DEQ] on the Project has achieved a high level of environmental protection and overall is in very good order.” However, the evidence demonstrates otherwise.

Today’s letter states: “In truth, the evidence shows a systematic and continual pattern of flouting the law and causing harm as a consequence. When caught in violations, MVP sometimes responds to those individual occurrences but does not seek to find and fix the other locations where those same conditions exist.”

 Today’s letter also provides arguments to counter MVP’s contention that the state lacks authority to revoke the certification. The company claims Virginia passed up its chance to rule on the certification in the first place and that a condition imposed by Virginia allowing revocation is not enforceable – this in spite of the fact that MVP went to federal court to defend this same certification.


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