New Mountain Valley pipeline threatens stretch of the Appalachian Trail

New Mountain Valley pipeline threatens stretch of the Appalachian Trail

Standing Rock protesters shifting their focus to a new cause might look West Virginia, where the Mountain Valley Pipeline threatens a swath of the Appalachian Trail and surrounding forest, resulting to affect one way or another the hiking experience in the famed Appalachian trail.

According to the Wilderness Society, the pipeline's proposed route would stretch about 300 miles, transporting natural gas from northwest West Virginia to southern Virginia. It would also cut across 3.4 miles of the Jefferson National Forest and require the clearing of a 125-foot-wide land corridor that should be protected under 2001's Roadless Rule, which guards against construction and road-building on 58.5 million acres of National Forest System land.

Opponents have voiced concern for the immediate environment and its wildlife, and also for the precedent the pipeline's construction might set in allowing logging and energy companies to build in areas that are technically off-limits.

The conservation organization questioned whether another pipeline was even necessary, citing a report from September 2016 that concluded the region didn't need new pipelines to satisfy regional energy demands. Concerns raised by the MVP recall those held by protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline, who recently posted a victory the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers effectively halted construction.

The public has until Thursday to offer the FERC feedback on the pipeline.

Fellow hikers, your thoughts?

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