Work must stop: U.S. Court of Appeals denies permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

Proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline map courtesy

Vincent Schilling

No Fracking: Court of Appeals vacated the permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act

Last Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacated the permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act for the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The ruling revokes the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s authority to construct its pipeline through waterways in the Corps’ Huntington District, and implicates the pipeline’s ability to trench through streams and wetlands anywhere along its route

Attorneys from Appalachian Mountain Advocates argued the case on behalf of the Sierra Club, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Indian Creek Watershed Association, Appalachian Voices, and Chesapeake Climate Action Network. The case was argued before a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit just last Friday.

Because the pipeline’s certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission specifies that all necessary permits must be in place before the project can proceed anywhere, Mountain Valley Pipeline must also halt work along its entire route.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement in a release. "We applaud the Fourth Circuit’s decision to vacate the permit for the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline. Today’s decision shows polluting corporations trying to run roughshod through Appalachia will be held accountable. In their haste to make a quick buck, Mountain Valley Pipeline rushed essential processes because they knew there was no way their dirty project would ever satisfy commonsense protections for water and health. Now, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must require Mountain Valley Pipeline to immediately stop construction on the pipeline.”

Howdy Henritz, President of the Indian Creek Watershed Association said, “Indian Creek Watershed Association applauds the Fourth Circuit decision today. We have been saying for years that the impacts of this pipeline project on the waters of our state need to be assessed on an individual stream crossing analysis. The steep slopes and karst topography of WV watersheds deserve independent evaluation.”

Chesapeake Climate Action Network General Counsel Anne Havemann said, “By vacating permit after permit for the pipeline, the Fourth Circuit has been forced to do what the federal government should have been doing all along: protecting the public and the environment from this harmful and unneeded pipeline. Today's welcome decision is just one in a string of decisions invalidating Mountain Valley Pipeline's federal permits. The public deserves no less than for regulators to take a real look at the impacts of this massive project. Once they do, we're confident they will conclude that there is simply no safe way to build the Mountain Valley Pipeline."

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter -@VinceSchilling



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Comments (1)
No. 1-1

save mountain valley no pipe line.Jeff Schwersinske