RICHMOND — A coalition of environmental groups filed suit Friday to try to block the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline planned for the southwestern portion of Virginia that cleared the last regulatory hurdle and won state water permits Thursday.
Appalachian Mountain Advocates filed the suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, seeking a review of the permits issued by the State Water Control Board.
The pipeline is planned to run about 300 miles from West Virginia through the southwest corner of Virginia, to a location in Pittsylvania County near the North Carolina border. It's being built by a group of companies led by EQT Midstream Partners of Pittsburgh.
Appalachian Mountain Advocates was joined in the lawsuit by the Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Wild Virginia.
The groups contend that the state board and the Department of Environmental Quality rushed the review process and cut corners. The state has said that the pipeline has faced "the most rigorous regulatory process" of any such project in state history.
An even larger pipeline project — the more than 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, backed by the state's largest utility, Dominion Energy — faces water permit hearings Monday and Tuesday. That pipeline would run from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina.
Supporters of the pipelines, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), say they will generate jobs and economic activity for the state and provide utilities with needed capacity. Opponents, including environmentalists and land-rights activists, say they threaten fragile ecosystems and impinge on property rights of landowners along the routes.