Filing aims to protect North Carolina’s waters from proposed gas pipeline

North Carolina’s many wetlands provide natural flooding protection along with many other benefits.

This week, SELC, on behalf of Haw River Assembly, joined a lawsuit to help the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality defend its decision to deny a water quality permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate project. 

The 75-mile gas pipeline is proposed as an offshoot of the incomplete Mountain Valley Pipeline to transport fracked gas from Virginia into central North Carolina. With legal uncertainties clouding the future of the mainline, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality refused to allow the Southgate pipeline to plow through North Carolina’s rivers, streams, and wetlands.

“North Carolina did the right thing when it said no to allowing the proposed Southgate pipeline to blast through our rivers and streams,” said Jean Zhuang, an attorney at SELC. “We look forward to helping the state defend its decision to deny this harmful permit.” 

If built, the Southgate pipeline would cut through 50 miles of rural North Carolina, trenching through a drinking water reservoir, hundreds of streams and wetlands, and polluting the Haw River and its tributaries. SELC and Haw River Assembly submitted comments late last year urging NCDEQ to deny the permit due to:

  • the potential harm to North Carolina’s waters;
  • the company’s pattern of environmental violations during construction of the mainline in West Virginia and Virginia, which devastated rivers and streams in those states;
  • and the lack of demonstrated need for the pipeline.

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