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What's next for opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline?

Aug 10, 2023Aug 10, 2023

Now that the Mountain Valley Pipeline has been given the green light as part of the debt ceiling deal, opponents are considering next steps.

Opponents of a fossil-fuel project connecting natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia have chanted at rallies, they’ve called elected officials; they’ve even filed lawsuits. But now, the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline is moving ahead as part of a deal reached on the debt ceiling negotiations.

David Sligh at Wild Virginia says there's more to the project than approval of permits.

"If they are held to the kind of environmental standards that they are supposed to, then that could well stop them at certain places," says Sligh. "Even if they get the permits, they still have to live up to those permits. And we know that in the past they have not. And if they cannot in the future, they should be stopped."

Tim Cywinski at the Sierra Club says the voices of people in Virginia should matter more than corporate interests who make campaign contributions so they can get a special exemption for a polluting project.

"We don't have a lot of time left to get off of fossil fuels, and every single time we build a pipeline, like the Mountain Valley Pipeline, we get more locked into a dangerous fossil fuel," Cywinski explains. "Because the main ingredient of natural gas is methane, which has 86 times more the heat-trapping power of your traditional fossil fuel sources like coal and oil."

Campaign finance records show Equitrans Midstream, which owns the largest stake in the pipeline, has given more than $10,000 to Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who insisted that the side deal be part of the final arrangement on raising the debt ceiling.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.