There is growing concern about the possible resumption of pipeline construction in the midst of the COVIDZ-19 pandemic, particularly given that most workers on both projects are from out of state. On March 25, the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a letter suggesting that pipeline construction has been declared “essential” by the governors of West Virginia and Virginia, and therefore should continue. In reality, construction activities for the MVP and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) are suspended as the result of pending legal challenges. And, while the Governor of West Virginia has declared that all oil and natural gas activities are essential to the state, Virginia Governor Northam has made no such statement or embraced such a policy.
This issue is being confronted nationwide, as detailed in a March 26 article in the publication E&E Energwire, “Is pipeline construction ‘essential’ in a pandemic?”
The Sierra Club Virginia chapter has issued two petitions urging that the ACP and MVP be declared as ‘non-essential’ infrastructure to prevent additional health risks. The petition to Governor Northam can be accessed here. A similar petition to be sent to Members of Congress can be accessed here. ABRA members and individual activists are urged to sign on to both petitions.