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Environmental groups trying to overturn Va. permit for Mountain Valley pipeline

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Environmental groups trying to overturn Va. permit for Mountain Valley pipeline

A team of environmental groups is hoping a federal court will review and overturn Virginia's recent approval of a water permit for the 2-Bcf/d Mountain Valley pipeline natural gas project.

Attorneys for the Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Wild Virginia asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to review Virginia agencies' decision to issue a water quality certificate for the approximately 303-mile pipeline. In a statement accompanying the petition for review, the groups said the state needed to do more work to consider potential pollution that could come from project construction.

The $3.7 billion EQT Corp.-led project was approved by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the state Water Control Board issued the final approval for the water quality permit in a 5-2 vote on Dec. 7. The certificate is a key milestone as Mountain Valley moves toward federal approvals to start construction.

Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign Director Kelly Martin said any construction activities should be postponed until a more thorough environmental analysis is completed. The groups are particularly concerned about sediment pollution in Virginia waterways.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the pipeline project in an Oct. 13 certificate order. The commission will grant permission to begin pre-construction activities such as tree felling once the necessary significant permits have been granted.

The Mountain Valley pipeline is a joint project of EQT Midstream, NextEra Energy Inc. affiliates, RGC Resources Inc., WGL Holdings Inc. and Consolidated Edison Inc. (FERC docket CP16-10)