West Virginia officials to re-examine controversial pipeline

West Virginia officials to re-examine controversial pipeline

West Virginia environmental officials are planning to take a new look at a natural gas pipeline that they previously approved amid national controversy.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection last week withdrew approval for the Mountain Valley pipeline.

The agency told a federal court Wednesday that the information it used to approve the project “needs to be further evaluated and possibly enhanced.”

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Specifically, the agency wants to take a new look at how the pipeline proposed by EQT Corp. complies with West Virginia’s “antidegradation” policy, which seeks to prevent or mitigate environmental degradation.

Wednesday’s filing was in response to a federal lawsuit that the Sierra Club and other environmental groups filed against the pipeline. The state agency asked the court to kick the issue back to the agency for its new review.

The Sierra Club cheered the development.

“Our rivers and streams make West Virginia a beautiful place for residents and visitors alike and preserving them also preserves what we love about our state,” said Justin Raines, chairman of the Sierra Club’s natural gas committee in West Virginia.

“The fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline is dirty, dangerous and needlessly endangers West Virginia’s waterways, wilderness, and communities, and it should be rejected.”