The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today published the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate extension pipeline. Although considerations were incorporated from public comments, the overall conclusion of the FEIS remains the same from its draft stage. A conditional Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity is expected to follow which, once approved by FERC, would allow for Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), LLC to begin condemning private property along the route.
Despite overwhelming evidence that the pipeline is not needed, coupled with the threat of the same risky and destructive construction practices that MVP, LLC has committed during the construction of the MVP mainline, FERC is one step closer to approving the Southgate extension.
The proposed 72-mile MVP Southgate would run through Pittsylvania County in Virginia, where it would connect to the 300-mile MVP mainline originating in West Virginia,, and Rockingham and Alamance counties in North Carolina. Landowners in all three counties have voiced numerous concerns about impacts to their home, land and livelihood.
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has questioned the need for the Southgate project. The demand for gas in North Carolina is projected to remain the same for the foreseeable future and any increases in demand can be met by existing supply. The MVP mainline has accrued hundreds of erosion and sediment control violations, polluted many miles of streams and important freshwater habitat, and has had numerous permits rejected after litigation. Two years after starting construction, the mainline is still not complete and remains stalled.
Statement from Steven Pulliam, the Dan Riverkeeper: “In spite of the multitude of submitted facts, concerns and history that demonstrates how dangerous and unnecessary MVP Southgate would be, the FEIS displays that FERC has changed little to nothing of their opinion of the project. Though we are hopeful the project is denied altogether, we must have faith that the N.C. DEQ is diligent and denies the 401 permit to protect our water, wildlife and residents.”
Katie Whitehead, Pittsylvania County resident and impacted landowner:
“FERC staff accept Mountain Valley’s word that it will comply with best management practices and FERC conditions, thus ignoring egregious violations during construction of the MVP mainline. FERC’s conclusion that approval of MVP Southgate would result in ‘less-than-significant’ adverse environmental impacts flies in the face of the reality of Mountain Valley’s performance to date.”
Statement from Lara Mack, Virginia Field Coordinator with Appalachian Voices: “The Southgate pipeline is a detriment to our climate, and to landowners and communities along its proposed route. FERC’s final environmental analysis of the project is underwhelming and neglects the evidence that this pipeline should not be built. It’s yet another example of how FERC fails to fully scrutinize these proposed projects and only serves as a regulatory hurdle for companies like MVP, LLC. Appalachian Voices and the communities we serve will continue our work to stop this unneeded project.”