Mountain Valley Pipeline Wins Federal Approval for Stream Boring

Following a string of roadblocks, federal regulators have approved Mountain Valley Pipeline’s request to bore under about 180 streams and wetlands it must cross to complete the natural gas pipeline, according to the Roanoke Times (Va.).

In a unanimous order Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorized what is essentially one piece of the construction that remains unfinished due to adverse court rulings.

FERC amended its 2017 certificate — perhaps the most important approval among more than a dozen federal and state permits — to allow Mountain Valley to tunnel below some water bodies, rather than digging a trench along their bottoms to bury a 42-inch diameter pipe using what’s called an open-cut process.

The 300-mile, 42-inch-diameter pipeline — which cuts through Southwest Virginia— is intended to transport natural gas from northern West Virginia to mid-Atlantic markets.

“This is another important step forward in MVP’s project completion and, as a critical infrastructure project, is essential for our nation’s energy security, reliability, and ability to transition to a lower-carbon future,” Natalie Cox, a spokeswoman for the joint venture, wrote in an email Saturday.

Mountain Valley still lacks authorizations from other agencies to ford the remaining streams and wetlands by open cut, and to pass through the Jefferson National Forest. Also unresolved is the project’s impact on endangered species.

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito have been pushing for expedited approval of the project’s remaining permits.


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