By Freeda Cathcart, Leader of Indivisible Virginia
A deal made with Senator Joe Manchin to greenlight legislation on reducing natural gas pipeline permit regulations was based on Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP)’s deception. Any deal based on lies must be cancelled.
The fossil fuel industry is trying to use the MVP as their means to gut our country’s environmental protections. The lack of federal and state requirements for the industry to adhere to regulations and their failure to enforce environmental laws has resulted in MVP’s boondoggle. If MVP is allowed to continue, it will only get worse for the environment and for the economy.
“According to Senator Manchin’s office, the commitment from President Biden, Schumer and Pelosi will be used to pass legislation for the MVP to be completed and, “streamline the permitting process for all energy infrastructure.” This will be used from, “transmission to pipelines and export facilities.” Manchin’s office said it will be voted on by the end of the fiscal year, which is Sept. 30, 2022.
It said the MVP is already 94% complete and will, “[unlock] 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.” Manchin’s team said $1.2 billion will be used in additional investment to complete the project; it will take an estimated four to five months to complete, create 2,500 construction-related jobs, increase West Virginia’s annual tax revenue by $40 and spur $200 to $250 million more per year in royalties for West Virginia landowners.”
But according to MVP’s compliance reports on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the project is only 55.8% complete. As Amy Mall from the NRDC explained in her May 2022 article, Update: Reasons Remain to Stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline:
“MVP construction is only 55.8% complete. Not “nearly 95%” as claimed by pipeline supporters. This statistic comes from the pipeline company’s own weekly reports submitted to FERC, with the most recent one being from May 2, 2022 (Appendix A, page 5).
What’s left to be constructed? 429 risky crossings of streams, creeks, rivers and wetlands. These water crossings require massive ground disturbance, either drilling a tunnel beneath a waterway or digging a trench (and possibly blasting) right through one. The risks come not only from the water crossing construction, but also from the damage to the surrounding landscape. No other large pipeline has ever been approved across this many miles of steep slopes and high landslide risk areas. MVP is designed to pass through more than 200 miles of “high landslide susceptibility,” and steeper slopes typically mean more threats to clean rivers and streams as well as increased risks of pipeline explosions.”
FERC ignored thousands of appeals from economists, scientists, engineers, lawyers and landowners, urging it to deny MVP’s application to extend their certificate for another four years. In FERC’s decision to extend the certificate, they wrote the following:
“Commenters’ arguments as to whether the project is 94% complete or 55.8% complete do not impact the Commission’s determination that Mountain Valley remains committed to the project.”
When FERC neglected to consider how complete the project is before extending the certificate, they failed to implement the mission Congress entrusted to them:
“Assist consumers in obtaining reliable, safe, secure, and economically efficient energy services at a reasonable cost through appropriate regulatory and market means, and collaborative efforts.”
MVP doesn’t care how long or how much it costs to build their pipeline, because they are guaranteed a 14% rate of return on their investment. So who pays for that? The consumers that FERC is supposed to be protecting! If the MVP is completed, they will try to pass along their expensive gas to residents and businesses.
But doesn’t Europe need gas from the U.S. to make up for the Russian sanctions? NO! Europe has already taken steps to up gas supplies from Norway. Plus Europe, like the rest of the world, is working to reduce their reliance on gas, because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and because gas is an extreme weather accelerant. Europe understands the urgency of responding immediately to the climate emergency; right now, they are experiencing an historic drought and their rivers are drying up.
Please write to your members of Congress to oppose any legislation to honor a deal based on lies! Don’t let MVP’s scam and FERC’s negligence undo our country’s progress to protect our water, endangered species and people from harm caused by increasing extreme weather events. Use this easy portal to send emails to your members of Congress. Help spread the word about the Truth Tour and encourage others to contact Congress by sharing this social media post.