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U.S. Court of Appeals Denies “Stay” of Fish & Wildlife Service’s Approvals for Mountain Valley Pipeline

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See below for a press release from Wild Virginia on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today denying motions “to stay the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s biological opinion and incidental take statement for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.” It’s unfortunate news, although “not shocking,” as the press release states. Also note, as attorney Jon Sokolow points out, as of now, the MVP folks “still can’t cross 1,000 plus water crossings or the Jefferson National Forest, plus an additional 25 miles, which means they can’t finish this pipeline. Still they can do some damage to the land and water.” The fight continues…

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today denied motions to stay the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s biological opinion and incidental take statement for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). (See Order, below)

On behalf of Wild Virginia:
While the Court of Appeals denied our motions to stay Fish and Wildlife Service approvals, our determination to show that those decisions were improper is not diminished. The case will continue and we believe a full review of the facts can convince the court to reject the agency’s actions. 

Plaintiffs always face a very high burden to justify a stay of an agency decision, so this outcome is not shocking and it does not refute our contention that the agency failed to perform adequate scientific analyses and impose requirements to ensure protection and survival of endangered fish and bat species. 

This decision also does not lessen the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s responsibilities, to stop destruction by MVP while the project lacks necessary approvals (from the Corps of Engineers, Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management) and while this serious challenge against the Fish and Wildlife Service  goes forward. 

We continue to insist that this ill-conceived project must be abandoned and will continue pursue that goal.