FERC Approves Mountain Valley Pipeline Plan Amendment

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FERC Approves Mountain Valley Pipeline Plan Amendment

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Headquarters in Washington, DC (© Shutterstock/Mark Van Scyoc)
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Headquarters in Washington, DC (© Shutterstock/Mark Van Scyoc)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, on Friday, April 8, 2022, issued an order amending the 2017 Mountain Valley pipeline certificate to allow the line developers to bore under water bodies instead of the earlier approved open-cut method.

The order to allow the pipeline developers to alter the crossing method for over 180 water bodies and wetlands comes after several permit setbacks. According to Richard Glick, FERC chair, the pipeline developer's use of trenchless waterbody crossings is better environmental impacts than the originally approved open-cut method.

Mountain Valley pipeline developers filed an application in February 2021 to have the certificate amended and cheered on the commission's Friday order, saying that the reason for the change of crossing method and route adjustment aims to avoid some water bodies of the United States. The Mountain Valley pipeline is meant to transport natural gas from West Virginia to Southern Virginia, a distance of 304 miles.

According to the line developers, about 90% of the project has already been completed. But critics of the Mountain Valley pipeline dispute the developers' report, saying that the project should be canceled like the Atlantic Coast pipeline, which was canceled in July 2020.

In a statement, Natalie Cox, Mountain Valley pipeline spokesman, said that the change of crossing method is a vital step towards the completion of the pipeline project. According to Natalie, the project is vital for the country's energy reliability, security, and the ability to move to a lower-carbon future.

The pipeline was approved by FERC in October 2017 and has since faced several approvals pending in court from authorities in Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Land Management Bureau.

FERC's order insists that notice for the developers to carry on with the project's development will be issued when Mountain Valley receives the pending federal authorizations. The project developers had earlier projected the pipeline to begin operation by next summer but are now reevaluating the target.

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