The Circuit Court of Summers County, Judge Robert Irons, has now heard evidence and arguments concerning the Mountain Valley Pipelines and its Natural Stream Preservation Act Permit to cross the Greenbrier River. As reported in the October issue of The Highlands Voice,plaintiffs claim that the crossing would be in violation of West Virginia’s Natural Streams Preservation Act. The Natural Streams Preservation Act allows the Legislature to designate certain “protected streams” which “shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the citizens of West Virginia in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as free-flowing streams, and so as to provide for the protection and the preservation of these streams in their natural character.” One of the streams designated by the Legislature is the Greenbrier River.
In September, Judge Irons ordered construction stopped until he could have a full hearing. On October 23, he heard two hours of argument and testimony. At the end of the hearing he “took the matter under advisement” (law talk for thinking about it). While he thinks the construction remains stopped.
The goal of the Natural Streams Preservation Act is to maintain streams “of an enduring resource of free-flowing streams possessing outstanding scenic, recreational, geological, fish and wildlife, botanical, historical, archeological or other scientific or cultural values.” The Plaintiffs do not believe that temporarily diverting the river so as to dry it up and then blasting a ditch across it is consistent with this goal.