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Virginia Files Lawsuit Against Mountain Valley Pipeline

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's attorney general and its Department of Environmental Quality have filed a lawsuit against the Mountain Valley Pipeline for what they call repeated environmental violations.

Attorney General Mark Herring's office said in a statement Friday that the lawsuit cites alleged violations in five counties, some occurring during significant rain. The suit also alleges pipeline developers violated Virginia's environmental laws and regulations as well as its certification by not controlling sediment and stormwater runoff, impacting waterways and roads.

The complaint says inspectors identified violations between May and October while investigating complaints. Also, an inspection company contracted to monitor compliance identified more than 300 violations between June and mid-November.

EQM Midstream Partners, which is the lead organization on development of the pipeline, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

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Sierra Club Press Release:

RICHMOND, VA -- Today, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality announced they are suing the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (MVP) for repeated violations of common-sense environmental protections.

Opposition to the controversial pipeline has always been intense, but has increased steadily as MVP committed violation after violation and came under greater scrutiny. Environmental organizations, individual property owners, and grassroots groups have joined together to fight the project. In fact, the grassroots pipeline monitoring organization Mountain Valley Watch has submitted dozens of suspected violations to DEQ.

Today’s announcement is the latest in a string of bad news for fracked gas pipelines in Virginia, as it comes on the heels of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline losing permits it needed to build through streams and waterways.

In response, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Director Kate Addleson released the following statement:

“Today the Attorney General confirmed what we have known all along: that Mountain Valley Pipeline has repeatedly harmed our rivers and environment all along the pipeline route. It’s reassuring to see our state government finally taking steps toward holding Mountain Valley Pipeline accountable for their repeated violations of our commonsense clean water protections.

“Without real consequences, the polluting corporations behind these fracked gas projects will keep running roughshod through our commonwealth, putting the health and safety of Virginians in jeopardy. Virginians will be eager to see how this lawsuit plays out, and whether it achieves the desired effect of better protecting the families and communities in the path of this harmful pipeline.”