Extension request focuses fresh attention on Mountain Valley Pipeline

Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 7:04 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Mountain Valley Pipeline in back in the spotlight, as the company asks for more time to complete the project. And with a deadline for public comment fast approaching, supporters and opponents are weighing in.

Six and a half years after Mountain Valley filed a formal application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the project is years behind schedule and billions over its original budget. But the company says it remains committed to completing construction.

Click here for earlier stories about the pipeline project.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a four-year extension, with a deadline for public comment this Friday. The letters that have been filed so far include strong support and passionate opposition.

The project, the company said in its request, “is critical infrastructure and is essential for our nation’s energy security, energy reliability and ability to effectively transition to a lower-carbon future.”

Opponents disagree.

Ridge Graham is the North Carolina Field Coordinator for the group Appalachian Voices.

“And we’re hoping the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will deny this extension request.”

Groups including Appalachian Voices oppose the extension, and they have encouraged others to share their concerns with FERC.

Many advocacy groups and individuals have responded.

“This is a project that has a lot of issues, that we have pointed out from the very beginning,” Graham told WDBJ7 in an interview Monday. “And they’re applying for this four-year extension, twice the length of the normal one, because they really don’t have a good way forward right now.”

But all the letters that FERC has received so far are not in opposition.

Others have spoken out in favor of the project, including the Virginia and North Carolina Chambers of Commerce, the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce, Roanoke Gas Company, Delegates Chris Head (R-17) and Jason Ballard (R-12), and the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors.

Mountain Valley Pipeline shared the following statement Monday afternoon:

“As demonstrated by the numerous letters submitted to the FERC docket, MVP has received significant project support regarding its request for a four-year Certificate extension. Aside from MVP’s customers, the project has received strong support from major utilities in the southeast, dozens of landowners, various community and trade organizations, natural gas producers, as well as federal, state, and local elected officials. Completion of construction and final restoration is best for the environment and the affected landowners who have been inconvenienced for an extended period of time.”

Opponents are planning demonstrations in Washington Thursday. The deadline for public comment is Friday. MVP has asked FERC to rule on the request by August 8.

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