FERC extends Mountain Valley Pipeline certificate by two years
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted 2-1 Friday to extend its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project by two years, and simultaneously lifted its stop-work order for construction on all but 25 miles across national forest land.
The developer, MVP LLC, which is led by Equitrans, had recently asked for both the extension and the lifting of the stop-work order.
The Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by FERC was due to expire Oct. 13. During a recent public comment period on MVP LLC’s request for the extension, more than 43,000 people had sent FERC their objections, noting among other things that the company had racked up at least 350 environmental violations and $2.26 million in fines in Virginia and West Virginia so far.
FERC issued the stop-work order last October following a federal court rejection of an endangered species permit for the project. The pipeline remains at least half unfinished, with the hardest work yet remaining on hundreds of water crossings in both states and the steepest slopes over the Blue Ridge mountains.
Three years after it was first permitted by FERC, the pipeline still lacks a key federal permit and other permits remain in litigation, and is drawing increasing skepticism from financial analysts.
“It’s clear that MVP is pulling out all the stops to rush this project through, and FERC is letting them get away with it,” said Jessica Sims, Appalachian Voices Virginia Field Coordinator. “The agency ignored the 43,000 people who vigorously opposed this project moving forward, and disregarded the hundreds of water quality violations racked up so far. This pipeline was not needed when it was proposed, and is even less needed now. We will continue fighting to stop it.”
Freeda Cathcart has been documenting MVP’s pollution in a stream which is the habitat for endangered fish for over a year. It was her documentation that caused the Department of Environmental Quality to issue the first stop work instruction in 2019.
“FERC is ignoring the evidence that the MVP’s erosion and sediment controls have been constantly failing to protect our streams and endangered species from harm because of their flawed stormwater drainage analysis. It is reprehensible for them to allow the MVP project to continue without requiring them to revise their plans to protect our environment,” Cathcart said.