The Biden administration is cutting a $400,000 check to an environmentalist group that was engaged in legal warfare against the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) just months ago.
The Department of Energy announced Wednesday that it will award the funds to Appalachian Voices through the agency’s Buildings Upgrade Prize program to facilitate “the transformation of existing U.S. buildings into more energy-efficient and clean energy-ready homes, commercial spaces and communities.” Appalachian Voices sued alongside the Sierra Club and other environmentalist groups in April to stop the MVP’s construction, a challenge which the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately dismissed in August.
The MVP has been a favored target of environmentalist groups for years, both in acts of protest and in the legal system. Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a stalwart supporter of the MVP, has also drawn the ire of eco-activists for his backing of the pipeline.
In order to raise the debt ceiling, congressional Democrats and Republicans compromised on the Fiscal Responsibility Act before the U.S. ran out of borrowing power in June. That negotiated bill featured language which mandated all relevant agencies to issue any outstanding permits for the project so that construction could be concluded.
The pipeline is set to be over 300 miles long and transport natural gas from West Virginia into the Southeast, where it will be used to generate electricity for Americans living in that region, according to the MVP’s website.
“Instead of trying to build the pipeline safely and in accordance with environmental laws, MVP worked with its friends in Congress to force state and federal agencies to grant the project the authorizations it needed this summer,” Ridge Graham, North Carolina program manager for Appalachian Voices, said of the pipeline in a Tuesday statement unrelated to the announced award from the DOE.
The DOE, the White House and Appalachian Voices all did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
Nick Pope on October 12, 2023