West Virginia rejects appeal hearing on Mountain Valley line

West Virginia has refused to schedule a hearing on an appeal of a state water-permit approval for the $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline, Kallanish Energy reports.

In a two-paragraph letter dated May 10, Department of Environmental Protection secretary Austin Caperton signed the letter against such a hearing. No reason was given.

The letter was sent to Appalachian Mountain Advocates, the environmental law firm that had challenged DEP’s authorization of a federal Clean Water act certification for the pipeline. It was also sent to three residents who had filed their own appeals.

Under DEP’s rules, Caperton has the authority to determine whether such a hearing should be held.

The state approval meant the pipeline qualified for a Section 401 permit because its construction would not violate the state’s water quality standards or designated stream uses.

Critics said the state lacked sufficient information to make such a conclusion.

Attorney Derek Teaney of Appalachian Mountain Advocates told the Charleston Gazette-Mail newspaper Caperton’s decision will be appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. He called the action “really disappointing.”

The 301-mile pipeline would run from West Virginia to southern Virginia.

The pipeline application is pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. A draft environmental impact statement has been released.

The pipeline would carry natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays from Wetzel County, W. Va., to Pittsylvania County, Va.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is being developed by Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC, a joint venture of six companies. It will be operated by EQT Midstream.