BLACKSBURG, Va. – Delegate Chris Hurst (D-12) sent a letter to Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director, David Paylor, today calling for an immediate “stop work” order for the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The call comes after hundreds of violations of state environmental law have been reported to DEQ and Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC itself.
“I applauded the efforts [during the 2018 Legislative Session] to enact emergency legislation to address concerns the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines would potentially harm existing stormwater management and erosion and sedimentation control laws,” said Delegate Hurst in the letter. “Unfortunately, the landowners in my district and many others cannot continue to guess what it will take for a reasonable stop work order for the Mountain Valley pipeline project.”
SB 698 and SB 699 allow DEQ to issue a “stop work” order on a part of the construction site that has caused “substantial and adverse impacts to water quality or are likely to cause imminent and substantial adverse impacts to water quality”.
Earlier this year, DEQ directed Attorney General Mark Herring to file a lawsuit against MVP, alleging more than 300 violations between June and November 2018. The lawsuit, filed in Henrico County Circuit Court, is still pending.
“Clearly there is evidence of violations and a lack of seriousness on the part of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC,” said Hurst. “What remains unclear is a lack of action to enforce these laws today.”
Hurst has been an outspoken opponent of the Mountain Valley Pipeline project since his election in November 2017. As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, he has introduced bills aimed at protecting landowner rights, restricting the impact of fracked gas pipelines, and ensuring protections for Virginia’s clean air and water.