Kaine: Pipeline approval process was flawed, leading to protests

Published: Apr. 25, 2018 at 1:06 PM EDT
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In response to protests over the Mountain Valley Pipeline in southwestern Virginia, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) says the opposition was predictable due to what he claims was a flawed process through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

For more than two weeks, "Red" and "Minor" Terry have been

, opposing the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The mother-daughter pair

to prevent access to their land for tree felling for the project.

Roanoke County authorities have

for both women for violating a court order for blocking court-approved easements for the pipeline, but they have not tried to remove them forcibly. Officers even delivered food to them over the weekend.

Yet on Sunday, three people were arrested in Giles County for trying to deliver food to a tree sitter there blocking a forest service road.

Senator Kaine says he want to have a conversation with the U.S. Forest Service, but also says there need to be some improvements to the pipeline approval process.

"If you have a bad process, you're going to end up in a situation where the public has a hard time accepting the outcome," said Kaine in a video conference with reporters Wednesday.

Kaine says with the FERC process for both the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines, which will go through Augusta County, he noticed complaints from the public — specifically about the receiving of public comments from the agency.

While he admits he hasn't dug into the legal specifics of these protests, he believes they should not do anything to violate court orders in their protesting.

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