Planning for pipelines – not

A Draft Record of Decision document released by the United States Forest Service would allow 11 exceptions to the Jefferson National Forest Plan and adopt an amendment that allows old growth forests, rare species and wetlands to be destroyed by the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The Draft Record of Decision (ROD)  states that “the proposed plan amendment is needed…because the MVP Project cannot meet several Forest Plan Standards…to protect soil, water, riparian, old growth, recreational and visual resources.” (ROD, pg. 4)

The ROD refers to Executive Order 13766 recently issued by President Trump that directs the USFS to “expedite, in a manner consistent with the law, environmental reviews and approvals for all infrastructure projects that are a high priority for the Nation, such as …pipelines.”

Time for the energy development battles to move to court?   This article mentions two potential litigation risks.  The Forest did not consider any pipeline alternatives that would be consistent with the forest plan.  It also adopts plan amendments that were not included in the DEIS (arguably these are new decisions that were never scoped).  It could also test the amendment procedures under the 2012 Planning Rule.

3 thoughts on “Planning for pipelines – not”

  1. Enjoined –

    **A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled unanimously that the U.S. Forest Service and the federal Bureau of Land Management had not properly reviewed the project’s impact on the forest.

    The “proposed project would be the largest pipeline of its kind to cross the Jefferson National Forest,” the judges wrote. “American citizens understandably place their trust in the Forest Service to protect and preserve this country’s forests, and they deserve more than silent acquiescence to a pipeline company’s justification for upending large swaths of national forestlands. Citizens also trust in the Bureau of Land Management to prevent undue degradation to public lands.”

    The judges ordered the agencies to reconsider the permits using proper procedure.**


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