By Andrew Downs

Downs is Virginia Regional Director for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is appalled – but not surprised – by the statements from Mountain Valley Pipeline, published in The Roanoke Times on May 28, 2017 (“MVP’s commitment to safety and natural resources.”) From the get-go, Mountain Valley Pipeline has manipulated the idea that the company’s proposal is above board. When the real story is anything but.

There are more than a dozen refutable points in the opinion piece Mountain Valley Pipeline offered to the Roanoke Times including the damning fact the company has based their proposal on incorrect maps, never quite getting important features such as the Appalachian Trail correct. Just as grievous is the fact Mountain Valley Pipeline, for their commercial purposes, carves deep scars into our mountains and requires dramatic alterations, without input from local residents, to the U.S. Forest Service management plan developed. To date, Mountain Valley Pipeline has filed near 20,000 pages of disjointed and messy content with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency which will ultimately decide if this pipeline is to go forward. Mountain Valley Pipeline has not attempted to organize their filings in any way the public can access and fully see their plans.

Indeed, we all should question what Mountain Valley Pipeline doesn’t want you to know, doesn’t want you to see. Check out a visual simulation of the pipeline’s route produced by an independent opinion-free contractor. Then check out what Mountain Valley Pipeline submitted — a simulation FERC required to be available to the public. Check out the tree in the foreground and the fact it disguises the route. You can actually see how Mountain Valley Pipeline is attempting to hide their plans.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, several county board of supervisors, community and citizens are asking FERC to require Mountain Valley Pipeline take the time to submit an up-front, transparent and honest proposal. We believe that moving some of the blatant problems of this pipeline into full view of the public will cause the company to revise a proposal that serves only Mountain Valley Pipeline’s commercial intentions.