Mountain Valley Pipeline – Environmental Impacts

Highlights of major potential environmental impacts of the Mountain Valley Pipeline route as identified by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in its “Draft Environmental Impact Statement” issued September 16, 2016

  • 117 residences within 50 feet of its proposed construction right-of-way.
  • 986 waterbody crossings, including three major aquifers and one Source Water Protection Area (SWPA); 33 are classified as fisheries of special concern.
  • The 50-foot wide operational easement would represent a permanent impact on forests.
  • 186 acres of the Jefferson National Forest re-designated as a 500-foot-wide utility corridor, opening the area to future infrastructure in addition to the pipeline.
  • Cross the Appalachian Trail, the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Brush Mountain Inventoried Roadless Area. About 67% of the route would cross areas susceptible to landslides.
  • Cross about 51 miles of karst terrain.
  • Construction would disturb about 4,189 acres of soils that are classified as potential for severe water erosion.
  • Construction would disturb about 2,353 acres of prime farmland or farmland of statewide importance.
  • Cross about 245 miles of forest. In Virginia, it would impact about 938 acres of contiguous interior forest during construction classified as “high” to “outstanding” quality.
  • In West Virginia, the pipeline would result in permanent impacts on about 865 acres of core forest areas which are significant wildlife habitat.
  • 22 federally listed threatened, endangered, candidate, or special concern species potentially in vicinity of the projects, and 20 state-listed or special concern species.
  • A still incomplete survey of the route shows the pipeline could potentially affect 166 new archaeological sites and 94 new architectural sites, in addition to crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway Historic District, North Fork Valley Rural Historic District, and Greater Newport Rural Historic District, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This list merely highlights impacts identified by FERC in its DEIS, which in an of itself is woefully insufficient. FERC published the document without necessary information requested of the MVP project partners. It also failed to conduct any meaningful analysis of purpose and need for the pipeline, and it did not comply with federal guidance for analyzing lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.

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