One of the state’s most influential corporations and 35 banks hope to make money from the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Business and labor groups have lined up behind it, as has Virginia’s governor, but opponents say it’s not a done deal. They plan to fight the pipeline in government hearings and in court.

Earlier this month, a group of pipeline opponents gathered outside the offices of Virginia’s Water Control Board to hold a water blessing ceremony complete with a Native American healing chant.

It was, perhaps, a last ditch effort – a prayer to prevent what some see as a danger to the environment.  But opponents of the pipeline are not relying on prayer alone, and there are three places they might yet prevail.

The first stop – the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC, which must sign off on any interstate pipeline. If the builders need privately owned land to complete their project, FERC will also empower them to take that property even if the owner objects.

Attorney Justin Lugar cites in the Fifth Amendment in arguing that’s unconstitutional. “Private property shall not be taken except for public use and with just compensation.”

So, on behalf of landowners who could lose property to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, he’s filed suit against FERC.  He will argue the MVP isn’t a public use for people who live along the route – a claim made by pipeline promoters.

“’Listen, this gas is for public use.  This is for the public benefit.  This is an economic good.’  Well what public?  Is it the public that might work at the local liquefaction plants in Cove Point, Maryland where some of this gas might end up?  Our view is that this is needed so that MVP and its owners can ship this gas to market and make as much money as possible.”

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Radio IQ – Sandy Hausman – 09/03/2017

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