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WV congressional delegation silent on Mountain Valley Pipeline safety concerns

By Mike Tony, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Community and environmental advocates are infuriated after federal regulators green-lighted gas to flow through the long-delayed Mountain Valley Pipeline, citing safety concerns after the cause of a pipe rupture last month remains unknown.

But West Virginia congressional delegates who helped force the project to completion had nothing to say about those safety concerns as they applauded the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Tuesday approval of pipeline developers’ in-service request Wednesday.

When reached for comment by the Gazette-Mail Wednesday, West Virginia congressional delegates and their spokespeople didn’t address concerns the 303.5-mile, 42-inch-diameter pipeline with a history of causing erosion and land slippage may not be safe for service operating at high pressure across unusually steep terrain.

Instead, they predicted the FERC approval of the in-service request would have a positive impact.

Peter Hoffman, a spokesperson for Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Republican communications director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, noted Capito has consistently supported the pipeline’s completion.

“[Capito] is looking forward to the boost it will provide for American energy producers, workers, and consumers once it is in service,” Hoffman said in an email.

Through a spokesperson, Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., noted her support for the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the debt ceiling legislation that cleared the way for the pipeline’s completion in June 2023 by prohibiting judicial review of any agency approvals of the pipeline.

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