AG Mark Herring and environmental dept. sue Mountain Valley Pipeline

Photo credit: WDBJ7
Photo credit: WDBJ7(WHSV)
Published: Dec. 7, 2018 at 1:42 PM EST
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Virginia's attorney general and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality are suing Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC for "repeated environmental violations."

According to a press release by Attorney General Mark Herring, he and the VDEQ have filed a lawsuit because the pipeline construction company violated environmental laws and regulations time after time in Craig, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery, and Roanoke Counties, especially during rain events throughout the year.

The suit alleges that MVP violated the Commonwealth’s environmental laws and regulations, as well as the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification awarded to the pipeline by failing to control sediment and stormwater runoff, resulting in impacts to waterways and roads.

Herring is seeking the maximum allowable civil penalties and a court order to force MVP to comply with environmental laws and regulations.

The decision came after the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality referred the result of numerous inspections showing violations at construction sites to Herring.

“This suit alleges serious and numerous violations of environmental laws that caused unpermitted impacts to waterways and roads in multiple counties in Southwest Virginia,” said Attorney General Herring. “We’re asking the court for an enforceable order that will help us ensure compliance going forward, and for penalties for MVP’s violations.”

“The Northam administration has empowered DEQ to pursue the full course of action necessary to enforce Virginia's environmental standards and to protect our natural resources,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “In this case, we determined referral to the Office of the Attorney General was prudent in order to seek faster resolution to these violations. We appreciate the Attorney General's coordination to ensure necessary compliance.”

The complaint against MVP alleges that DEQ inspectors identified violations of environmental laws, regulations, and permits in May, June, July, August, September, and October 2018 while investigating complaints.

In addition, an inspection company contracted by DEQ to monitor MVP’s compliance identified more than 300 violations between June and mid-November 2018, mostly related to improper erosion control and stormwater management.

Among the laws that MVP is alleged to have violated are:

• the State Water Control Law,

• the Virginia Stormwater Management Act,

• the Erosion and Sediment Control Law,

• the Virginia Stormwater Management Program Regulation,

• the Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations,

• the Virginia Water Protection Permit Program Regulations,

• Section 401 Water Quality Certification 17-001 issued to MVP.

• MVP’s Annual Standards and Specifications,

• MVP’s Site Specific Erosion and Sediment Control Plan and

• MVP’s Site Specific Stormwater Management Plans.

The suit alleges ten counts of illegal actions by MVP:

• Unpermitted Discharge

• Failure to Maintain and Repair Erosion and Sediment Control Structures

• Failure to Repair Erosion and Sediment Controls within Required Timeframe

• Failure to Apply Temporary or Permanent Stabilization

• Sediment off of Right of Way

• Failure to Install Clean Water Diversions

• Failure to Keep a Daily Log of Activity Documenting Project Activities Related to Environmental Permit Compliance and Corrective Measures Implemented

• Failure to Install Adequate Channel, Flume, or Slope Drain Structure

• Failure to Construct Vehicular Stream Crossing

• Failure to Maintain Access Roads

The case has been filed in Henrico County Circuit Court.