The go-ahead for completion of the much delayed 300-mile-long $3.7billion Mountain Valley Pipeline has been granted reports local newspaper, the Charleston Gazette Mail, 13 October. Construction of this two billion-cubic-feet-a -day pipeline linking the Marcellus shale gas region of West Virginia to customers in the states of Virginia and North Carolina was successfully halted in a series of legal challenges by a coalition of landowners, community groups and environmentalists objecting to the route crossing the Jefferson National Forest and the famous Appalachian Trail leaving a 50-foot wide strip of permanently cleared land.
Now, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has lifted a stop work order for a 25 mile long section of the pipeline route that crosses the Jefferson National Forest and associated land. Whilst acknowledging the erosion and sedimentation problems arising in the initial construction, FERC has concluded that completion of the pipeline is in the best interests of East coast consumers to have access to cheap fracked gas from the western side of the Appalachian mountain chain. and the environment.
However, Covid induced collapse in gas demand and increasing competition from renewable power generation has thrown doubt on the commercial viability of completing construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.