From Wild Virginia:
Mountain Valley Pipeline Continues Violations, Even During Work Stoppage; Wild Virginia Insists DEQ Enforce MVP Consent Decree, Impose Penalties
On February 6, 2020, Wild Virginia sent a letter to David Paylor, Director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, insisting that DEQ take enforcement action for recent violations of water quality requirements by Mountain Valley Pipeline. The letter highlights violations documented in the agency’s own inspection reports during the period between mid-September and December of 2019.
In the period addressed, MVP has continued to violate the law, even after it agreed to a settlement of Virginia’s enforcement lawsuit and after it was forced to stop active construction on the pipeline late last year. At a time when all of the company’s actions should have been focused on meeting its obligations to protect state waters and property owners, it has failed to live up to those requirements. MVP is still failing to install and maintain pollution control measures as mandated. This behavior prolongs a disgraceful pattern of noncompliance that has been ongoing since work began on the destructive project in early 2018.
In its review of reports on DEQ inspections conducted from September 19 through December 20, 1019, Wild Virginia found:
- • 3 inspections where erosion control structures were not “installed and implemented in accordance with” approved plans.
- • 19 inspections where pollution control measures were not “properly maintained in effective operating condition.
- • at least 8 instances where sediment was deposited on adjacent properties or in a waterbody.
In the February 6 letter, Wild Virginia’s Conservation Director David Sligh stated:
“The Mountain Valley Pipeline has been a disaster for the waterbodies along its path and for the people who have borne the brunt of its impacts. The State’s enforcement action sought to address the violations and one of its goals was to prevent a continuance of these problems. However, the violations continue and, unless you act quickly and decisively, we fear the result will be dire. The number of violations has decreased during this lull in construction, but all evidence suggests that Mountain Valley will continue its reckless, headlong rush to finish construction if given the go-ahead by FERC and not stopped by the courts.
“The history of this project tells us that we cannot rely on the pipeline company to make environmental and public protection a priority. In August of 2019, when DEQ ordered work stopped on a portion of the MVP, you said you were ‘appalled’ by your inspectors’ findings and by the fact that ‘construction priorities and deadline pressures would ever rise above proper and appropriate use of erosion control measures. Jeff Sturgeon, Roanoke Times, Regulators stop work on 2 miles of Mountain Valley Pipeline in Montgomery County, August 2, 2019.
“We found your apparent shock at Mountain Valley’s actions and attitude at that time puzzling, because it has been clear from the first day of construction that protection of the environment and communities was far down the company’s list of priorities. If DEQ fails to take aggressive enforcement action, we are confident that you and we will see many more appalling situations. You must act. We look forward to hearing from you and to seeing the Department’s enforcement actions.”