One of the biggest headline-grabbing stories for the past two years has and will continue to be in 2023, protests against the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
As proposed, the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project is a natural gas pipeline system that spans approximately 301 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia, and as an interstate pipeline it is regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
One of the last major protests that had stopped or slowed the pipeline work was in Elliston where tree sitters held out for almost two years.
The company building the pipeline, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (Mountain Valley) announced total project work was approximately 90% complete in 2019. But protests and federal approvals for stream crossings and national forest paths have been held up for as long as three years.
Now the question remains as to what the future holds for all those pipes underground or lying above ground along that path.
MVP LLC says more than 300,000 miles of interstate and intrastate natural gas transmission pipelines operate every day across the U.S., safely and reliably transporting natural gas for use in homes and businesses to power modern life.
“None of these existing pipelines have undergone the extensive level of environmental research, analysis, and review that has been performed on the MVP project, and we appreciate the strong support and ongoing efforts of so many men and women who, for the past seven years, have continued to work diligently to complete this important project,” the company said in a press release in September.
“With a vast supply of natural gas from Marcellus and Utica shale production, the Mountain Valley Pipeline is expected to provide up to two million dekatherms per day of firm transmission capacity to markets in the Mid- and South Atlantic regions of the United States.”
Diana Charletta, president and chief operating officer of EQM Midstream Partners, LP, operator of MVP, said the company has encountered unforeseen development challenges; however, they continue to make progress towards ultimate completion.
“While the temporary setbacks have caused schedule delays and cost overages, completion of the MVP project is critical to serving the growing demand for domestic natural gas in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States; and we appreciate the oversight of the various state and federal agencies that have helped guide our construction activities,” she said.
The slowdown has increased the price of the pipeline by nearly $9 million.
The company says as of the end of 2022 the total project work is roughly 94% complete. In a statement MVP LLC said it remains committed to working diligently with federal and state regulators to secure the necessary permits to safely and responsibly finish construction.
The new completion date is set for the second half of 2023.
The United State Forest Service is in the process of developing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in response to a proposal from Mountain Valley, LLC to construct and operate a buried 42-inch interstate natural gas pipeline that would cross National Forest System lands on the Jefferson National Forest along a proposed 3.5-mile corridor.
The Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Notice of Availability was published in the Federal Register on December 23, 2022. This publication initiates a 45-day public comment period on the Draft SEIS through February 6, 2023.
The public may submit comments about this DSEIS at https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public/CommentInput?Project=50036, or mail them to George Washington & Jefferson National Forests, MVP Project, 5162 Valleypointe Parkway, Roanoke, VA 24019.