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Report: Mountain Valley Pipeline to pay $2.15M for Va. environmental breaches

A Virginia district court ruled that Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC should pay $2.15 million for environmental damage resulting from the construction of the 2-Bcf/d natural gas pipeline project in the state, The Roanoke (Va.) Times reported Dec. 12.

The lawsuit, filed by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in December 2018, said Mountain Valley committed more than 300 environmental violations in several counties along the pipeline route. The violations of federal and state law involved erosion, sediment and stormwater standards, and many of them occurred after significant rainfall, the state said.

Henrico County Circuit Judge Richard Wallerstein on Dec. 11 signed a consent decree approving the settlement and requiring court-mandated compliance and oversight of any construction by Mountain Valley, as well as additional penalties for possible future violations, the report said.

The attorney general's office said Mountain Valley will face more consequences if further violations are found after the Sept. 18 cutoff date for the violations covered by the fine, according to the report. Mountain Valley reportedly agreed to hire independent monitors to hold inspections on the project, which is a joint venture of EQM Midstream Partners LP, NextEra Energy Inc., Consolidated Edison Inc., AltaGas Ltd. and RGC Resources Inc.

"Mountain Valley has worked diligently to address all of the issues raised by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality through Notices of Violation ... most of which were the result of the record rainfall during 2018 in the project area," the Roanoke Times cited Mountain Valley spokesperson Natalie Cox as saying. The company said it aims to get new approvals in order to meet its scheduled completion of construction by the end of 2020, the report said.