Press Release

Groups petition D.C. Circuit to review decision to extend MVP Southgate Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity

April 23, 2024

Dan Radmacher, Media Specialist, (540) 798-6683,
Carolyn Morrisroe, Sierra Club, (828) 214-9095,

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Late yesterday, a number of conservation groups filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decision to extend the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Southgate Project.

MVP radically altered its plans for the project almost immediately after the extension was granted. In December 2023, Southgate developers announced their new proposal to increase the amount of gas carried by nearly 50%, increase the pipeline’s diameter, and alter the length of the extension from 75 miles to 31. It is unclear if new water crossings would be impacted, and the developers have not provided any detailed maps. The groups previously urged FERC not to grant the extension, in part due to MVP’s apparent lack of commitment to the Southgate Project as originally approved by the commission.

Developers claim they are also dropping plans for a new polluting compressor station in Pittsylvania County, but did not say why it was no longer necessary. Landowners along the original route are left subject to Mountain Valley Pipeline’s potential use of eminent domain power for a project that MVP indicates it will not build.

The new plans are not final. MVP has stated it expects “to finalize the scope of the redesigned project after it conducts an open season and executes any additional agreements for firm capacity.”

“How can FERC justify its extension of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for a project with a route, purpose and impact that are different from what was previously approved in the original certificate?” asked Appalachian Voices North Carolina Program Manager Ridge Graham. “This is a wholly new project, and Mountain Valley Pipeline should be required to start the process from the beginning.”

“Federal, state and local elected officials have spoken out against this unneeded proposal to ship more methane gas into North Carolina,” said Caroline Hansley, Sierra Club’s Senior Field Organizer. “The time to build more dirty and dangerous pipelines is over. After MVP Southgate requested a time extension for a project that it no longer plans to construct, it should be sent back to the drawing board for this newly proposed project.”

“Approving the Southgate project is irresponsible,” said David Sligh, Wild Virginia’s Conservation Director. “This project will pose the same kinds of threats of damage to the environment and the people along its path as we have seen caused by the Mountain Valley Pipeline during the last six years. FERC has again failed to protect the public interest, instead favoring a profit-making corporation.”

“The endangered bats, fish, mussels and plants in this boondoggle’s path of destruction deserve to be protected from killing and habitat destruction by a project that never received proper approvals in the first place,” said Perrin de Jong, attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Our organization will continue fighting this terrible idea to the bitter end.”

“While many of the specifics of the project are a mystery, the impacts of Mountain Valley Pipeline and its Southgate extension are not,” said Anne Havemann, General Counsel for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “The pipeline will carry methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, into North Carolina and continue to fuel the climate crisis. Now is the time to invest in clean, renewable energy, not more pipelines.”

Conservation groups participating in the petition are Appalachian Voices, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Haw River Assembly, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Wild Virginia.


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