But in Appalachia, where the Mountain Valley Pipeline cuts through steep mountainsides and nearly 1,000 streams and wetlands, the deal has highlighted economic and social tensions. in a region where the extractive industries have provided jobs in coal mines and fracking platforms over the generations, but have also left deep scars on the land and in communities.
For years, environmental and civil rights activists, as well as many Democratic state lawmakers, have opposed the pipeline project, which would transport more than two billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus shale fields in West Virginia and across Southern Virginia. Construction on the pipeline should be completed in 2018, but environmental groups successfully challenged a series of federal permits in court, where judges found the pipeline developers’ analyzes of its effects on wildlife, sedimentation and erosion are lacking.
The Biden Administration’s Environmental Agenda
President Biden is pushing for tougher regulations but faces a narrow path to achieving his goals in the fight against global warming.
The pipeline deal means Appalachia will once again become a “sacrifice zone” for the greater good, said Russell Chisholm, an Iraq war veteran and member of Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights, a coalition of groups opposing the construction.
He was visiting a neighbor on Friday, Jammie Hale, who was holding up a jar of cloudy tap water. It was thick with sediment that Mr. Hale suspected had been displaced by construction along the route of the pipeline, which runs past his property near Virginia’s border with West Virginia. Both men clashed with police during protests. They spoke under an American flag that Mr. Hale had hung upside down since the workers started laying pipes.