Mountain Valley Pipeline Wins Round Against 4th Circuit, But The Battle Is Not Over

A rogue panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals bowed down to the inevitable on Friday and obeyed a Supreme Court Order halting their illegal interference in the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, opening the possibility of the 303-mile pipeline being finished.

James Wynn, a judge appointed by Obama to dismiss the lawsuit, said in a grudgingly written opinion:

With this new legislation specifically enacted in their favor, the Respondents – the federal agencies and Mountain Valley Pipeline – moved this Court to dismiss the petitions.

After considering the issues before us, we are forced to grant the motions of dismissal made by the Respondents.

Mountain Valley Pipeline started construction in 2018, to transport natural gas from West Virginia into Southern Virginia. The project was expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019. The Fourth Circuit has engaged in a relentless campaign of lawfare that forced Congress into action to take away jurisdiction. The Fourth Circuit, undeterred, was holding hearings in order to determine whether Congress had exceeded the authority granted by Article 3, Section 2 (US Constitution) to remove the MVP subject to judicial review. However, when the US Supreme Court said to stop it the Fourth Circuit complied.

In accordance with the provisions, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin added to Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRRA), any future litigation will be brought in the DC Circuit.

Judge Wynn was not the only one who had hurt feelings. Judge Roger Gregory, (a Clinton recess appointment nominated by Bush again) was sulky.

It is clear that Section 324 is the blueprint for the construction by legislative fiat of a gas pipeline. If this provision is also constitutionally sanctioned then Congress has found a way to adjudicate through legislating in particular cases for specific litigants. This is no different from the government excesses that our Framers aimed to avoid. In this way, I am afraid that Congress has used the constitutionally directed deference of the Court to legislative prerogatives in order to undermine the Constitution, and has, in the course of doing so, made the Court complicity to its actions. If this is the case, I wonder whether Section 324 could be a sign of erosion, not only to our environment but also to our republic. Only our Supreme Court has the power to decide.

Gregory’s complaint is a Congress that is assertive. Gregory’s environmental laws are not based on the US Constitution. The laws are the result of lobbying by environmental groups and bureaucrats who clog up government agencies. It is a legitimate exercise of legislative authority that Congress declared, “Enough of this nonsense. We want the MVP to be built.” Gregory appears to view the courts as an agency of the executive branch entitled to intervene in a technical procedure at the service of a certain political faction.

This victory is just another water break on the marathon of legal victories over the left.

This Notice of Proposed Safety Order alleges that “conditions could exist on the Mountain Valley Pipeline which poses a risk of pipeline integrity to the public safety, property or environment.” This requires “a comprehensive assessment to identify any coating deficiencies, any potential corrosion issues, or any land movement-related effects on pipe previously installed.”