Virginia files lawsuit against Mountain Valley Pipeline

The company building a natural gas pipeline through Southwest Virginia violated environmental regulations more than 300 times, a lawsuit filed by Virginia’s top lawyer alleges.

Mountain Valley Pipeline is facing “the maximum allowable civil penalties and a court order to force MVP to comply with environmental laws and regulations,” according to a statement from Attorney General Mark Herring.

Since work began earlier this year, inspections have found that crews failed to prevent muddy water from flowing off pipeline construction easements, often leaving harmful sediment in nearby streams and properties.

Covering a span of seven months and nearly 100 miles of the pipeline’s route through five counties, the lawsuit is one of the most comprehensive summaries to date of the environmental toll taken by running a 42-inch diameter pipeline across rugged slopes and through pure mountain streams.

Herring’s office filed the case on behalf of the Department of Environmental Quality and the State Water Control Board. Pipeline opponents have called on DEQ to issue a stop-work order, which the agency is allowed by state law to do if there is a “substantial adverse impact” to water quality or if such an impact is eminent.

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