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Mudslide Pushes Landowners to Sue Mountain Valley Pipeline
The fight against the Mountain Valley Pipeline has gone from the trees to the courts, as six landowners filed suit against the pipeline in federal court Tuesday, claiming a mudslide near one of its construction sites damaged their property, WSLS 10 reported.
The suit comes a week after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pulled the project's permit to empty dredged material into West Virginia rivers while it evaluates if the project violates West Virginia's environmental rules, potentially delaying the pipeline, Reuters reported.
The controversial pipeline would carry fracked natural gas through 300 miles of West Virginia and Virginia. It has faced vocal opposition, motivating nine tree sitters to block its path since February.
The landowners in Tuesday's suit, Wendell and Mary Flora, Glenn and Linda Firth, and Michael and France Hurt, live near a pipeline construction site in Franklin County, Virginia.
Heavy rains May 15 caused a mudslide to override construction barriers at the pipeline work site on May 18 and block Cahas Mountain Road with 8 inches of mud.
The landowners claim the runoff from the mudslide entered their properties and damaged streams.
The suit says the company showed a "startling disregard" for the impacts of construction and asked the judge to stop work on the pipeline.
Immediately following the mudslide, Wendell Flora told WSLS 10 he had never seen flooding as severe in his 50 years living near Cahas Mountain Road.
"When the pipeline wasn't here, naturally, the water would be up. It would get up really high, but it wouldn't be muddy, running muddy like it is now," he said.
The suit was preceded by an ongoing investigation by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) into the cause of the mudslide.
One VDEQ worker quoted in the suit said she saw so much mud block a stream near the slide that the water stopped flowing.
The incident confirms the fears voiced by the pipeline's opponents when it was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), together with the nearby Atlantic Coast Pipeline, in October.
Two members of the FERC appointed by President Donald Trump voted to approve both projects, with Democrat Cheryl LaFleur voting against.
"The record demonstrates that these two large projects will have similar, and significant, environmental impacts on the region. Both [pipelines] cross hundreds of miles of karst terrain, thousands of waterbodies, and many agricultural, residential, and commercial areas. … and thus I respectfully dissent," LaFleur wrote in her dissent, Think Progress reported.
The recent mudslide brings the reasons behind her dissent to life.
"My concerns are what they've always been—damage to our environment, damage to our watershed, runoff that's going to not only the town of Rocky Mount's water treatment plant but Smith Mountain Lake's sedimentation and water quality," Franklin County Board of Supervisors Mike Carter told WSLS 10 after the mudslide.
- Mudslide destroys home near Vinton; no one injured | Roanoke ... ›
- Mountain Valley Pipeline protesters come down from trees ›
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."