Pipeline opponents challenge motions to dismiss lawsuits

Published: Jun. 27, 2023 at 7:34 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - As the company behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline moves closer to resuming construction, groups that oppose the project are fighting efforts to dismiss their lawsuits in federal court.

The language that Congress included in the Fiscal Responsibility Act limits judicial review of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. And the company has asked a federal appeals court to dismiss lawsuits challenging the project.

But in two new filings, groups that oppose the 300-mile natural gas pipeline are challenging those motions. They argue that Congress overstepped its authority.

“I don’t think there’s any question in my mind and many others that it does violate the separation of powers part of the Constitution,” said David Sligh Conservation Director of the group Wild Virginia.

“Courts must jealously guard the line between legislative and judicial power,” the response states. “To that end, courts have long recognized that, “once Congress has established lower federal courts and provided jurisdiction over a given case, Congress may not interfere with such courts by dictating the result in a particular case.”

“We and other parties did have several cases that were already underway in the court and for Congress and frankly the President to step in and just countermand what the courts are doing or what they’re supposed to do is certainly improper,” Sligh said.

A spokesperson for the Mountain Valley Pipeline declined to comment on pending litigation.

We also reached out to the office of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and received the following statement:

“Mountain Valley Pipeline has undergone more review and approvals than virtually any other project, and I am confident that this essential energy infrastructure project will be completed as a result of the language I fought to include in the debt ceiling deal.”