Home Climate change Environmental Groups Petition SCOTUS to Deny Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Emergency Application

Environmental Groups Petition SCOTUS to Deny Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Emergency Application

"...by attempting to pick the Government and MVP as the winners in pending litigation without creating new substantive law for courts to apply, Congress unconstitutionally invaded the judicial power."

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Not that the corrupt bunch of right-wing, anti-environmental ideologues on the Supreme Court probably give a you-know-what, but still, it’s good to see this filing by Appalachian Voices, Wild Virginia, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Preserve Giles County, Preserve Bent Mountain (a chapter of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League), West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Indian Creek Watershed Association, Sierra Club, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and Center for Biological Diversity, arguing, “Because [the Mountain Valley Pipeline – MVP] has not met the high burdens for the extraordinary relief it seeks, this Court should deny the emergency application for vacatur of the stays, writ of mandamus, and certiorari before judgment.” Here’s the introduction, which sums up the situation very well:

On July 12, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit directed the parties to these consolidated petitions to appear for oral argument on July 27, 20231 —just two days from now—on the very questions presented by Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC’s (“MVP”) pending emergency application. Nonetheless, the company rushed to this Court on July 14, 2023, asking this Court to take the extraordinary step of vacating a court of appeals’s stay even as that court proceeds expeditiously to adjudication on the merits.

In this case involving endangered species that are indisputably harmed by pipeline construction, the stay appropriately maintains the status quo while the court of appeals moves swiftly to resolve the merits—including the pending motions to dismiss. MVP fails to show that it will suffer any harm beyond temporary financial loss as a result of the stay, and the equities weigh heavily in favor of avoiding harm to protected species. MVP has failed to show that extraordinary circumstances warrant this Court’s intervention.

MVP’s emergency application also fails on the merits. MVP relies on a Mountain Valley Pipeline–specific provision tacked on to the unrelated, must-pass Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, Pub. L. No. 118-5, 137 Stat. 10 (2023). That provision purports to approve and ratify MVP’s existing federal authorizations—including the Endangered Species Act approvals challenged here—and to strip courts of jurisdiction over any challenges to those authorizations. But by attempting to pick the Government and MVP as the winners in pending litigation without creating new substantive law for courts to apply, Congress unconstitutionally invaded the judicial power. The emergency application should be denied.

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