Home Energy and Environment In Final Days, Trump’s Viciously Anti-Environment, Pro-Fossil-Fuel Interior Secretary Approves “Right-of-Way” and...

In Final Days, Trump’s Viciously Anti-Environment, Pro-Fossil-Fuel Interior Secretary Approves “Right-of-Way” and “Temporary Use Permit” for Fracked-Gas Mountain Valley Pipeline Monstrosity

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The following statement (see below) is from Wild Virginia’s Conservation Director David Sligh, regarding this “Record of Decision” “approving a right-of-way (ROW) and temporary use permit (TUP) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project (Project) on federal lands under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (Forest Service or FS) in Virginia and West Virginia.”

Note that the person who approved this decision is none other than Trump’s anti-environment Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt – in his final few days in office, thank god! – who’s “a former lobbyist for Big Oil and Big Ag”; whose “client list was heavy on fossil fuel interests”; who was (as of April 2019) “involved in at least 17 different scandals; and who “has spent most of his professional life attacking water, lands, and wildlife on behalf of polluting industries.” Oh, and as an added “bonus,” Bernhardt also resisted D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “request that he cancel permits for DC protests between now and Inauguration…despite threat of violence.” Lovely, eh?

With that, here’s the statement by Wild Virginia.

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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a Record of Decision (ROD) on January 14, 2021 and authorized a 30-year right of way and associated Temporary Use Permit for the construction, operation, maintenance, and termination of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) across the Jefferson National Forest.

The BLM decision relies on the same old unsupported claims that the Forest Service and other regulatory agencies have repeatedly trotted out, as if reading from a script written by MVP and its political supporters within the Trump administration. And just like the Forest Service, the BLM has hurried to get this approval out in the waning days of the current leadership, living up to its clear goal, to faithfully serve corporate fossil fuel companies, even at the expense of the public interest.
Just one of the glaring faults is that the agency downplays risks to the sensitive and irreplaceable streams that would be affected.  In the face of the widespread damage to streams and wetlands MVP has already caused all along its route and expert analyses showing the methods used to assess potential water impacts are deeply flawed, the BLM simply claims any harm will be “minor.” This despite its failure to show any evidence, in the hundreds of pages of documents the agencies produced, that the project can meet Clean Water Act standards – shockingly, the supplemental environmental analysis the Forest Service and BLM signed off on didn’t even mention those standards. 
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