The Biden administration filed a brief late Friday, asking the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling and reinstate the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) which would transport natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia.
In the brief, filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the Department of the Interior, the federal government argued a recent 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that stayed the MVP project violated federal statute. The Fiscal Responsibility Act, the bipartisan debt limit bill President Biden signed in early June, fast-tracked federal permits for the MVP and shifted judicial review jurisdiction away from the 4th Circuit.
“Whatever benefit respondents or the court of appeals might believe would be gained by having the agencies again reconsider the challenged actions, Congress has determined that further reconsideration is unwarranted and has prioritized MVP’s ‘timely’ completion over interests addressed by any other federal statutes,” the filing stated.
“That judgment is for Congress alone,” it continued.
The filing is the latest in a string of briefs filed in the case urging the Supreme Court to reverse the lower court ruling.
On July 14, the pipeline’s developer asked the Supreme Court to vacate the stay issued by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court then set a deadline of early next week for plaintiffs, a coalition of environmental groups, to respond.
Since then, fossil fuel industry groups, a bicameral group of lawmakers, counsel for the House of Representatives, and a major labor union representing workers on the MVP project have called on the Supreme Court to vacate the lower court stay.
“The Fourth Circuit judges are not supreme rulers and lawful orders issued by the legislative and executive branches must be followed,” GOP Chief Deputy Whip Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., told Fox News Digital on Wednesday. “Congress was well within its power to restart the Mountain Valley Pipeline construction and usher in a new era of energy independence for the region.”
“Instead of halting the pipeline, I urge the Supreme Court to plug up the ludicrous activism seeping out of the lower court so American families can enjoy lower energy costs, substantial land royalties, and most importantly – law and order in America,” he continued.
Reschenthaler led a group of seven fellow representatives and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va, in filing a brief in support of the MVP project’s permits.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who also played a role in securing the pipeline in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, filed his own amicus brief in the case Tuesday.
“We cannot let this continue any longer,” Manchin said. “It’s a shame when members of Congress have to ask the Supreme Court to intervene to maintain the credibility of the laws that we have passed and the President has signed, but I am confident that the Court will uphold our laws and allow construction of MVP to resume.”
According to Equitrans Midstream, the pipeline’s developer, MVP will transport about 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from West Virginia to consumers in the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic. The pipeline is projected to generate $40 million in new tax revenue for West Virginia, $10 million in new tax revenue for Virginia and up to $250 million in royalties for West Virginia landowners.