North Carolina Reissues Denial of Water Permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline
CHAPEL HILL, NC — Today the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality reaffirmed its denial of water quality certification to Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC for construction of its Southgate Project gas pipeline.
The State initially denied Mountain Valley Pipeline’s request for water quality certification in August 2020, stating the project was “inconsistent” with North Carolina’s water quality certification and riparian buffer regulations. If built, the Southgate pipeline would cut through 50 miles of rural North Carolina, trenching through hundreds of streams and wetlands and polluting the Haw River and its tributaries.
Following a challenge by the pipeline company, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the decision back to DEQ for the agency to provide more explanation for its denial. Today, DEQ reissued its denial as authorized and instructed by the court.
In response to DEQ’s denial, SELC Attorney Jean Zhuang released the following statement:
“The Southgate Project poses serious risks to North Carolina’s rivers and streams, which is one of the many reasons it faces widespread public opposition,” said Zhuang. “We’re pleased to see the State continue to stand up for Jordan Lake, the Haw River, and many other North Carolina waters by reissuing its denial of the pipeline’s permit. North Carolina has sent a clear message to pipeline companies: it is not going to allow unnecessary and destructive gas pipelines to plow through our rivers, streams, and wetlands.”
The Haw Riverkeeper, Emily Sutton, released the following statement:
“DEQ has made the right decision to protect our waterways and our communities that depend on them,” said Sutton. “This proposed project has been a potential threat to public and environmental health throughout the Haw River watershed for three years, and we are so encouraged to see that the agency rightfully used their authority to reissue the denial of this permit.”
About Southern Environmental Law Center:
For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With over 80 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org