Conservancy Challenges Pipeline Ruling

The New River Conservancy (NRC) based in West Jefferson, NC has requested the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to rehear its decision to allow Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC access to a protected 208-acre conservation easement owned and managed by the conservancy in Giles County Virginia. The proposed pipeline will threaten water quality, wildlife habitat, forests, scenic beauty and more than 2,000 feet of a state designated wild trout stream.

The NRC’s easement protects a recognized environmentally-sensitive area of heavily forested woodlands abutting the Jefferson National Forest and the Cascades National Recreation Trail.

The NRC previously submitted comments to the Commission opposing access across the easement citing FERC’s failure to consider the negative effects of construction, deforestation and other aspects of the proposed pipeline.

“The Conservancy’s Board of Directors has voted unanimously to continue to defend the easement using all legal options available to us,” says George Santucci, NRC’s president. “As an accredited land trust we are bound to defend this easement in perpetuity.”

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land to protect its conservation values.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a proposed 303- mile long natural gas pipeline that stretches from northwestern WV to southeastern VA. It will result in a totally deforested swath that crosses hundreds of streams and cave systems. Many of the streams are designated as the having the highest quality waters in VA and WV.

The New River Conservancy is a 40-year-old non-profit conservation organization formed to protect the waters, woodlands and wildlife of the New River Watershed throughout North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.