West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (Will Price | West Virginia Legislative Photography)
Gov. Jim Justice has joined other West Virginia leaders in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to allow construction on the stalled Mountain Valley Pipeline to restart.
Justice said Wednesday he had filed a friend of the court brief asking the Supreme Court to uphold a section of a new federal law meant to expedite the pipeline’s construction.
“We absolutely need that pipeline to go. We don’t need any more delays,” Justice said during a briefing Wednesday afternoon. “It is ridiculous, and that’s all there is to it. I’m very confident the Supreme Court will move in a direction of our way. This is absolutely thousands of jobs and the repercussions to West Virginia for years and years.”
The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, signed by President Joe Biden in June, raised the nation’s debt ceiling and section 324 of the law greenlit the pipeline, which has been opposed by environmentalists. The law said that no court would have jurisdiction over the granting of permits or any other action related to pipeline.
Despite the law, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit earlier this month issued a stay on the construction of the 303.5-mile-long pipeline.
The order stopped pipeline construction of a 3.5-mile stretch in the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia, as well as several stream crossings in West Virginia, according to a statement from state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
In a statement earlier this month, Manchin, chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he was proud to help ensure the pipeline would finally be completed.
“Yet again, this vital energy infrastructure project has been put on hold by the Fourth Circuit despite the new law clearly stating that the Fourth Circuit no longer has this authority,” Manchin said. “We cannot let this continue any longer. It’s a shame when members of Congress have to ask the Supreme Court to intervene to maintain the credibility of the laws that we have passed and the President has signed, but I am confident that the Court will uphold our laws and allow construction of MVP to resume.”
As proposed, the 303-mile pipeline would span from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia and carry Marcellus and Utica natural gas supply to markets in the southeast United States. The project was first announced in 2014, with an in-service estimation of late 2018.
Opponents argue the project is dangerous to the communities, water resources, lands and habitats it’s routed through.
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