In a victory for the fossil fuel industry and a setback for environmental activists, the United States Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that construction of the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) could resume.
This move effectively nullified the July 10 stay orders issued by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of plaintiffs Wilderness Society and Appalachian Voices, environmental activists that had instigated legal proceedings to halt the pipeline.
“The Wilderness Society and SELC allege violations of multiple environmental laws in connection with defective approvals by the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management allowing the MVP to cross the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia and West Virginia,” according to the group’s news release.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals suspended construction of the 303-mile pipeline that is almost 95% complete, despite legislative and executive support of the project with the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, according to West Virginia Records.
Following the 4th Circuit ruling, the pipeline’s developers filed an emergency intervention request with Chief Justice John Roberts. This request was seen as a critical step to counter the appellate court’s decision, which was viewed by many in the industry as an overreach.
Political leaders immediately responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a lower court ruling on the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline’s development.
“Today, the Supreme Court ended a campaign by activist judges to block good energy laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. This is a huge victory for American energy independence,” said Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT).
“All necessary permits have been issued and approved, we passed bipartisan legislation in Congress, the president signed that legislation into law, and now the Supreme Court has spoken: construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline can finally resume, which is a major win for American energy and American jobs,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
“I am pleased the Supreme Court recognized the importance of this project not only for West Virginia, but for the nation,” said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
“The Mountain Valley Pipeline is vital to the survival of American energy independence and affects thousands of jobs in West Virginia—its completion is also critical to our national security, the urgent need is for it to be completed as soon as possible,” he added.
According to FOX News, the pipeline’s developer, Equitrans Midstream, MVP will transport approximately 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily from West Virginia to the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic. Projected benefits include $40 million in new tax revenue for West Virginia, $10 million for Virginia, and up to $250 million in royalties for West Virginia landowners. The resumption of the pipeline construction ushers in a controversial chapter in the ongoing national discourse about energy, environment, and economic development.