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Connolly, McClellan, Beyer, Scott, & Wexton Submit Amicus Brief to Support Legal Challenge to Mountain Valley Pipeline

Today, Reps. Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Jennifer McClellan (VA-04), Don Beyer (VA-08), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), and Jennifer Wexton (VA-10) submitted an amicus brief in support of the Southern Environmental Law Center and The Wilderness Society’s lawsuit to prevent the automatic approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The Wilderness Society v. United States Forest Services, et al. and Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC challenges the constitutionality of Section 324, the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) provision, included in H.R. 3746, the Fiscal Responsibility Act, legislation to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a catastrophic default.

“The MVP has drawn community objections because it would extend roughly 300 miles through Appalachia, damage hundreds of streams, harm several acres of wetlands, and require a taking of private property from many Virginia families,” wrote the lawmakers. “At a minimum, this Court should retain jurisdiction until it has heard Petitioner’s claims on the merits. Short-circuiting ongoing litigation to greenlight the MVP—before a substantive hearing on Petitioner’s new claims has even been afforded—is plainly contrary to the public interest.”

In their brief, the lawmakers assert the MVP provision sidesteps National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) protections, silences the voices of impacted communities, and represents a constitutional violation of the separation of powers between Congress and the judiciary.

“[We] opposed inclusion of Section 324 in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 because it ran roughshod over access to Article III courts in pending cases for the most vulnerable of Virginia citizens—including low-income, elderly, and Indigenous populations,” continued the lawmakers. "[We]... request this Court deny the pending motions from Respondents’ and Intervenor and allow Petitioner’s claims to proceed until they can be afforded a substantive hearing on the merits. Our constituents deserve to have their day in court on the new claims they have raised in the underlying petitions.”

When the legislative text of the Fiscal Responsibility Act was released, Virginia Democratic House Members submitted an amendment to strip the MVP provision from the bill. The amendment was later blocked by House Republicans.

Read the full amicus brief here.
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