Delegate Chris Hurst: Pipeline Bills heading to House Floor

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By: Wesley Wallace | wwallace5@radford.edu

Chris Hurst, delegate for the New River Valley, recently had his pipeline accountability legislation approved by the Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources committee.

The approval will allow Delegate Hurst’s bills to be voted on by the Virginia House of Delegates. Furthermore, it will also give Delegate Hurst the opportunity to enact legislation that will strengthen construction oversight for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

On his Instagram account, Delegate Hurst spoke about the progression of his bills by stating, “Finally, after nearly five years, landowners are seeing action from the General Assembly to address problems with the Mountain Valley Pipeline!.”

He continued by saying, “My bills HB643644 & 646 hold pipeline companies accountable and empower the state water control board to stop work when necessary.”

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is a natural gas pipeline system that stretches 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to Southern Virginia.

In 2018, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) enacted legislative provisions that would stop the pipeline’s construction if it caused environmental destruction to the region’s waterway systems.

However, Delegate Hurst sent a letter in 2019 to DEQ Director David K. Paylor asking for immediate stop-work order on the pipeline. He said, “During the 2018 General Assembly session, I applaud the efforts of the administration and the legislature to enact emergency legislation to address concerns that the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Pipelines would potentially harm existing stormwater management and erosion and sedimentation control laws.”

Hurst advocated for his district by stating, “Unfortunately, the landowners in my district and many others cannot continue to guess what it will take for a reasonable stop work order for the Mountain Valley pipeline project. Clearly, there is evidence of violations and a lack of seriousness on the part of Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (MVP), as shown in the lawsuit your agency filed in Henrico, County Circuit Court this past December.”

Environmental representatives from Virginia’s Sierra Club Chapter are actively supporting Hurt’s legislation.

If this article interests you, read about Radford’s Sustainability Initiative on The Tartan.

Photo Credit: (Mike Benna on Unsplash)