The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has indefinitely suspended parts of nationwide permit 12 for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) just a day after an environmental coalition sued them in federal court for a stay on the project.

According to a news release from the Sierra Club, who is part of the coalition, the move also comes after a direct request was sent to the Corps on May 15.

In its suit, the environmental coalition alleges that MVP construction across the Elk, Gauley, Greenbrier and Meadows rivers could not be completed in time restrictions implemented in the permit.

While the permit from the Corps does not include a time limit, it requires state input and approval to move forward.

In the permit granted to MVP, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection added the stipulation that construction across the waterways in the route of the pipeline must be completed in 72 continuous hours.

With MVP’s permit now partially suspended, the Sierra Club’s release said that the belief is that the interests of MVP may have to seek out individual permits for each crossing.

“The suspension means MVP may have to seek individual permits for those four crossings,” the release reads. “However, advocates for clean air and water say that the Corps’s action falls short of what they have asked a federal appeals court for because it lacks a commitment to wait for the federal court to rule and does not apply to all of the pipeline’s stream crossings.”

According to the Sierra Club, the pipeline the 300-mile long pipeline crosses waterways in West Virginia and Virginia more than 1,000 times.

“These four stream crossings signal one big problem — the Corps’ slipshod approach to overseeing this project. West Virginians deserve thoughtful permitting, not thoughtless rubber-stamped approvals,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of West Virginia Rivers Coalition in the release.

In the last month, MVP construction in the northern part of West Virginia has been cited for failing to control erosion and more recently in the heavy rains several inches of mud washed from a construction area in Franklin County, Virginia and blocked a road.

“This admission by the Corps provides further evidence that blanket permits cannot protect water quality from large pipeline projects like the Mountain Valley Pipeline,” said Peter Anderson, the Virginia Program Manager for Appalachian Voices. “State and federal agencies’ approach—permitting projects with only general conditions instead of site-specific analysis—is like closing your eyes and hoping nothing goes wrong. Citizens along the MVP route are already feeling the consequences.”

Email: mcombs@register-herald.com; follow on Twitter @mattcombsRH

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