West Virginia grants key permit for controversial pipeline

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection approved a water quality permit for a controversial natural gas pipeline on Thursday.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline’s planned 300-mile route cuts through West Virginia and Virginia.

Appalachian Voices Virginia Policy Director Peter Anderson said in a news release the latest permitting decision was “contrary to robust evidence that the MVP cannot be built without violating state water quality standards.”

The West Virginia pemit was needed before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could move forward with dredge-and-fill permits in the state, the environmental group said.

In Virginia, a recent decision by the State Water Control Board to allow the infrastructure to cross streams and wetlands has resulted in an appeal to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Attempts to kill the $6.2 billion project have so far failed. Five energy companies constructing the pipeline say it’s necessary to provide natural gas along the East Coast.