Challenges to the environmental impacts of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) have continued in the past week in two federal court proceedings.
On April 1, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals refused an appeal by the pipeline’s owners to reconsider before the full Court the January 25 decision by a three-judge panel to strike down the Biological Opinion issued for the MVP by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This follows a decision by the Fourth Circuit on March 25 to decline a similar request to rehear a three-judge panel’s decision – also issued on January 25 – to vacate the permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service for the MVP to cross the Jefferson National Forest. The MVP owners are left with the option of appealing the Fourth Circuit rulings to the U.S. Supreme Court. For an earlier ABRA Update article on these cases, click here.
On April 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard oral arguments in a a case brought by the Sierra Club, an ABRA member, against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on a request for a two-year extension of the certificate that had been issued by FERC to build the MVP. The three-judge panel hearing the case sharply questioned attorneys representing MVP and FERC.
An example of such judicial scrutiny was the question asked by Judge Patricia Millett about claims that increased sediment from the project was due to abnormally high rainfall in 2018:
“When the commission say that this terrible environmental problem was the result of something, does it have an obligation before it makes that statement to do a causal analysis?”