Dangerous Mountain Valley Pipeline Has No Place in Manchin’s Deal With Democrats

Thanks to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, who condition his vote on the Inflation Reduction Act. backroom permitting reform dealThis would complete the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), a highly controversial fracked gas pipeline that has become a household name.

The MVP is not well-received.

While the MVP has long been a scourge to rural Appalachian communities in Virginia and West Virginia, with Manchin’s help, the MVP has morphed into a full-blown national scandal.

It is crucial to understand why the MVP pipeline is so bad before Congress considers legislation.

First, the MVP is more than a pipeline.

The MVP measures 42 inches in diameter by 303 miles in length and is one of the largest methane gas pipes in the United States. However, what sets the MVP apart is the unprecedented level of risk associated with the pipeline’s route. More than 200 miles of the route MVP crosses areasLandslides have been experienced in the past, and they are highly susceptible to future ones. This includes steep mountain slopes that extend over 75 miles.

No other gas transmission pipelineNo one in the United States has ever tried to traverse so many miles of such rugged terrain.

According to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, from 2001-2020, landslides were one of the most frequent causes of “significant incidents” involving gas transmission pipelines in Appalachia. Multiple landslide incidents during construction have already affected the MVP. including one where “the installed pipe shifted … in at least three locations.”

Common industry assumption is that there will be no spillage if a high volume, high-pressure pipeline like the MVP bursts. at least an 80 percent chance of an explosion. Landslides have been responsible for more than five major gas pipeline explosionsIn Appalachia in the last four years. Thankfully, gas has never flowed through the MVP — the blast zoneIt measures almost half a mile in width.

Second, the MVP can’t be considered a crucial infrastructure project.

If it were, it would make sense that the developers chose the route that would give MVP the best chance of success. It is not the shortest and most cost-effective route from its beginning to its end. Appalachia is crisscrossed by many major gas pipelines — including pipelines considerably longer than the MVP — yet none come close to crossing as many steep, landslide-prone slopes.

It is not certain that the MVP will be able, even if it is complete, to provide the promised services. safe and reliableDevelopers claim that there is a large supply of gas. Aside from the fact that there has been an increase in heat waves and wildfiresThe West is known for its affluence. catastrophic floodingAppalachia, worldwide droughtsBeing driven by climate-friendly fossil fuels, any additional methane from the ground is dangerous.

Additionally, the U.S. already has sufficient gas to provide a large supply for industry and households. expected to decrease over time. However, the U.S. has exported less gas than it used to. increased exponentially since 2015 — and driven up prices domestically. A recent explosion at a gas export terminalThe price of methane in the United States dropped immediately after Texas shut down the facility.

Finally, congressional action would allow for the construction of the MVP. This would be a significant step to resolving decades of conflicting interests. bedrock regulatory and judicial processes.

Since the MVP was built in 2018, the project is ongoing. lost virtually every permitThe pipeline construction permits are required. These permits include permits from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for crossing streams and wetlands, permits from U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to cross national forests, and permits from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to disturb habitats that support endangered species. The permits issued by these agencies have been reissued. tossed out twiceBy the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

Environmental interest groups have brought many of the legal challenges. However, this does not change the fact that the courts found grave deficienciesMVP was granted permits. No matter who brings the case, requiring compliance with the law is not a radical judicial act.

Due to its poor design and route, the MVP is now over $3 billion in excess of budget and four years behind schedule.

Rather than attempting to fix the project’s flaws, however, the developers continue to hold out hope that the rules do not apply to the MVP. In fact, project developers are amongst the top donors. ManchinAnd Sen. Charles Schumer(D-New York), chief architects of the backroom deal.

Congress cannot override the safeguards that were put in place to protect the public from harm from proposed energy infrastructure projects. Not for a project so dangerous and unique as the MVP.