The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a ruling on Thursday finding that construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline endangers endangered and threatened species, contradicting previous findings by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The decision comes a week after the Fourth Circuit ruled that MVP could not travel through the Jefferson National Forest, reversing a decision made by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
The case was brought by the Sierra Club on behalf of POWHR coalition member groups Preserve Giles County and Preserve Bent Mountain, as well as other environmental organizations including Appalachian Voices, Wild Virginia, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Indian Creek Watershed Association, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. , and the Center for Biological Diversity.
“The court sided with sacred life today in recognizing the detrimental impact MVP has on everything in his path, especially endangered and threatened species,” said Russell Chisholm, Co-Chair of the Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights (POWHR) coalition. “Holding MVP accountable before the law is key to ultimately undoing this harmful fractured pipeline. This decision not only protects the candy darter and other endangered species, but it puts us on the right track to stop MVP, decisively move us away from deadly fossil fuels and reorient us towards a renewable economy on a planet livable.
“Today’s decision is welcome in our fight to stop the ravages of MVP,” said Roberta Bondurant of Preserve Bent Mountain, a local member group of the POWHR Coalition. “The Bent Mountain community and our allies have fought tirelessly and at untold cost to protect the forest, grasslands and waters of our venerable Appalachia. It’s a banner day for planet Earth – the Swomee Swan soars, the Humming Fish leaps and the Truffula Tree breathes a grateful sigh of relief. Long live the Lorax!
A group named Cancel MVP sent a letter to MVP partners to pressure project partners to back out of the pipeline effort.
“The partners behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline must fulfill their fiduciary responsibility by undoing this mess. Equitrans Midstream, NextEra Energy, Consolidated Edison, Alta Gas and RGC Resources have wasted enough of their shareholders’ money in this money pit,” said Freeda Cathcart, founder of the Cancel MVP campaign.