The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 1 issued its opinion on the stay of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP12) it had granted in early November for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The challenge to NWP12 permits issued in September by the Huntington and Norfolk Districts of the Corps had been brought by a coalition of environmental groups, including five ABRA members (Sierra Club, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Appalachian Voices and Chesapeake Climate Action Network). They were represented by Appalachian Mountain Advocates.
The Court’s opinion concluded that “Petitioners are likely to succeed on the merits of their petitions for review, and other equitable factors weigh in favor of granting the motions for stay.” The Court also noted that while the Army Corps and MVP both contend that natural gas projects serve the public interest, the Natural Gas Act yields to the concerns of the Clean Water Act.
Oral arguments on the merits of the case are anticipated to occur in the Spring 2021. For a copy of the full opinion of the Court, click here.