Federal Court Vacates Corps Permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline
A federal appeals court has vacated a Corps of Engineers construction permit for the 300-mile Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to southern Virginia. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Oct. 2 that the Corps cannot allow a dry cut method for river crossings, but instead must follow a special condition imposed by West Virginia that requires stream crossings to be completed in a continuous, progressive manner within 72 hours. The dry cut method for the four streams involved would take up to six weeks to complete. The court vacated in its entirety the Corps’ verification of the pipeline’s compliance with Nationwide Permit 12 under the Clean Water Act, noting if any part of a project requires an individual permit, then the NWP does not apply and all portions of the project must be evaluated as part of the individual permit process.