Tell FERC: Time’s up on the Mountain Valley Pipeline!

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, has requested a two-year extension on its certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build a massive, fracked-gas pipeline across West Virginia and Virginia. The certificate was issued in 2017 and paved the way for the project to snatch up private land, clear cut forest habitat and pollute dozens of rivers and streams.

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child in muddy water

MVP construction at the family-owned Four Corners Farm in Rocky Mount, Va., has caused significant erosion problems. Photo by Morgan Ashcom

This unnecessary project is already two years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget, and has racked up $2 million in fines for destroying water quality. And it’s missing six federal permits and has been under a stop-work order from FERC for almost a year.

MVP, LLC, has lied to the media and to regulators, saying that the pipeline is over 90 percent complete. But the reality is closer to 51 percent (with only 15 percent complete in Virginia). And the remaining construction involves some of the most difficult terrain and water crossings on the entire route.

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Tell FERC to DENY the request for the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s certificate extension! (Sign below!)

To: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street NE, Room 1A
Washington, D.C. 20426
Re: Notice of Request for Extension of Time of Mountain Valley Pipeline,
LLC et al. Dockets CP 16-10 et al.

Dear Secretary Bose,

Appalachian Voices, Friends of the Earth, 350 Triangle, Dan Riverkeeper, Haw River Assembly, N.C. Conservation Network and the supporters listed below respectfully submit the following comments on the notice of request for extension of time for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

Contrary to the claims made by Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (MVP, LLC), the environmental and public interest findings underlying the Commission’s authorization are no longer valid. The scope of the project has changed drastically, and the cost of the project has ballooned to almost $6 billion. The company originally estimated a $3.5 billion price tag, and MVP, LLC recently has discussed expansion of the pipeline’s capacity by 25 percent. In other words, this is not the same project that FERC reviewed in 2016 and 2017.

Regarding the project’s anticipated environmental impacts, problems plaguing construction continue to accumulate, and MVP, LLC has shown it cannot comply with existing permit conditions. The project has now lacked several required permits for years following court-ordered permit vacations and agency suspensions. The remaining installation and construction is not feasible without irreparable environmental harm.

At the time of this request for extension of time, the pipeline lacks at least six required permits:
• a U.S. Forest Service Amendment to the Forest Plan for Jefferson National Forest,
• a Bureau of Land Management right-of-way under the Mineral Leasing Act,
• the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement, and
• three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers verifications of Nationwide Permit 12 (Huntington, WV, Norfolk, VA, and Pittsburgh, PA, districts).

The vacated Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement caused FERC to order MVP, LLC to stop work “along all portions of the Project,” other than “stabilization” activities on October 15, 2019.

Even when these required permits were in place, MVP, LLC and its contractors demonstrated that they are unable to build this pipeline without causing significant environmental harm. To date, construction of the pipeline has led to over 300 water quality violations in Virginia alone due to improper sediment and erosion control, and MVP, LLC has accumulated over $2 million in fines.

In addition, the claim by MVP, LLC that the project is 92 percent complete is misleading. The Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, using data from construction reports submitted by MVP, LLC, argue that the project as a whole is just over 51 percent complete (pipeline welded, buried and land restored) and only 15 percent complete in Virginia. If construction were to resume, impacts to land and water quality can only be expected to worsen, as the remaining construction includes more challenging water crossings and steeper slopes than those areas where MVP, LLC has worked thus far.

When FERC issued a Certificate for the MVP in 2017, economic analysis of the region indicated that existing gas infrastructure was more than sufficient to meet regional energy demand. Since then, the domestic demand for natural gas has actually fallen, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Other projects, such as the Atlantic Sunrise expansion, have provided sufficient additional capacity to end users for the capacity that the Mountain Valley Pipeline could have provided. Moreover, Consolidated Edison, Inc, which holds a shipping contract for the MVP and is one of the companies that comprise MVP, LLC, recently indicated that it is moving away from gas transmission investments and is considering monetizing its MVP assets.

For these reasons, we urge you to reject MVP, LLC’s request for an extension of the MVP’s Certificate for Public Convenience and Necessity.


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