Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC released the following statement and background information in response to a project-wide stop work order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued on 3 August 2018, related to the adequacy of permits issued by the US Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) granting a 3.5 mile right-of-way in the Jefferson National Forest (JNF) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project. The right-of-way permits in question affect only approximately 1% of MVP’s overall 303 mile project route.
As part of the order, the FERC stated, “There is no reason to believe that the Forest Service or the Army Corps of Engineers, as the land managing agencies, or the BLM, as the federal rights of grantor, will not be able to comply with the Court’s instructions and to ultimately issue new right-of-way grants that satisfy the Court’s requirements.”
“We agree with the FERC that the USFS and BLM will be able to satisfy the Fourth Circuit Court’s requirements regarding their respective decisions; and we believe that the two agencies will work quickly to supplement their initial records. In addition, we are confident that the BLM has reached the correct conclusion during their initial analysis of alternatives in the JNF and agree that MVP’s current route has the least overall impact to the environment. MVP had previously halted operations in the JNF, with exception of work needed to manage any unnecessary environmental erosion and maintain slope stability. We will continue to closely coordinate with all agencies to resolve these challenges as they work to have the right-of-way grants reissued. While disappointed with this recent setback, MVP is confident in the BLM’s alternatives analysis, as well as with the approvals received by state and federal agencies; and we look forward to continuing the safe construction of this important infrastructure project.”
Previously, the Sierra Club and other opponents challenged the USFS and BLM issuance of MVP’s 3.5 mile right-of-way in the JNF. In a 27 July 2018 decision, the US Fourth Circuit Court held that the USFS did not fully explain its rationale on sedimentation impacts; and also held the BLM did not address the impracticality of various alternative routes. Additionally, however, the Court largely upheld compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by the USFS and BLM – rejecting many of the Sierra Club’s claims that challenged the agencies’ NEPA compliance.
As the USFS and BLM work to supplement and recast their initial filings to be more in line with the Court’s order, MVP is evaluating its construction plan on a daily basis and continues to target 1Q19 in-service date. MVP will provide updates as the regulatory process progresses.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/project-news/06082018/mountain-valley-pipeline-responds-to-stop-work-order/