Congress, Energy, Environment, State Government

Attorney General Morrisey files brief with U.S. Supreme Court supporting completion of Mountain Valley Pipeline

MORGANTOWN — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has joined the list of elected officials urging the U.S. Supreme Court to authorize resumption of construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Morrisey announced on Monday that he’s filed an amicus — friend of the court — brief in MVP’s effort to have the court to lift a pair of stays the federal Fourth Circuit issued to once again block completion of the pipeline.

He argues that the Fourth Circuit lacks jurisdiction to issue the stays.

Morrisey asks the court in his brief to uphold Section 324 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023. The section says that “the timely completion of construction and operation of the Mountain Valley Pipeline is required in the national interest.” It approves all authorizations, permits and other approvals necessary to complete construction of the pipeline and allow it to begin operation.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Appeals Court issued a stay on the MVP under the Endangered Species Act and granted a stay of the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to allow the pipeline to be constructed through the Jefferson National Forest while the court considers The Wilderness Society’s challenge to that decision.

Morrisey said, “The Fourth Circuit court does not have jurisdiction to rule on this as Congress made it clear that the permits are approved, and any challenge to the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 pertaining to the pipeline must be heard in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is vital to the survival of American energy independence and affects thousands of jobs in West Virginia. Its completion is also critical to our national security, the urgent need is for it to be completed as soon as possible.”

Morrisey wrote in his brief, “But even though the federal agencies followed the law Congress enacted and the president signed, the Fourth Circuit stayed their authorizations without explanation.”

He continued, “Section 324 plainly leaves the Fourth Circuit without jurisdiction to hear the petitioners’ [the MVP opponents] claims, and Congress’s choice to ratify authorizations and permits needed for the pipeline are similarly clear — and legal. Section 324’s embedded policy decisions are also not a matter for constitutional concern. Congress amends statutes all the time, including in response to judicial decisions interpreting their old versions. Vacating the Fourth Circuit’s orders would respect ‘Congress’s superior institutional competence’ to make the important judgment calls that surround the pipeline.”

MVP is a 303.5-mile pipeline that will carry natural gas from northern West Virginia to southern Virginia. Most of the pipeline is in place, except for 3.5 miles through the Jefferson National Forest and the stream crossings, which remain the focus of ongoing litigation.

Sen. Joe Manchin was the first to file an amicus brief in the case, last Tuesday. That was followed on Wednesday by a brief from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Reps, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller, and six other lawmakers who either represent jurisdictions through which the pipeline runs or jurisdictions impacted by the benefits of the pipeline.”

TWEET David Beard @dbeardtdp