Environmental groups are expressing opposition to yet another controversial pipeline proposal.
The path of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline would begin about 90 miles west of wheeling West Virginia and culminate roughly 30 minutes north of Danville, Virginia.
Along the way, the high-pressure pipeline would cross paths with the Appalachian Trail after clearing a 125-foot corridor through 3.4 miles of designated “roadless area” in West Virginia’s Jefferson National Forest.
According to the Wilderness Society, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would run underground and measure 42 inches in diameter, could set a troubling precedent for the construction of infrastructure on National Forest land while threatening wildlife habitat, recreational lands and the health of local Appalachia communities.
If the project were to be realized views from iconic vistas like McAfee’s Knob and Angels Rest could be irrevocably altered.
“Undermining the Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation Rule sets a dangerous pattern for the nearly 58.5 million acres of wildlands protected from road construction, mining and timber harvesting,” the Wilderness Society wrote in an editorial published on December 15. “This crucial conservation policy protects treasured backcountry land, but powerful logging and energy industries constantly seek to weaken the rule.”
The Wilderness Society also contends that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) failed to take into account the geologically unstable nature of the land that the pipeline would be built on, thereby increasing risk of erosion, landslides and gas leaks.