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Mountain Valley pipeline gets Virginia water permit

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World Pipelines,

The state board responsible for protecting Virginia’s water awarded certification yesterday for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, voting 5-2 during a meeting that ended with confusion and conflict.

With its vote, the State Water Control Board determined there was a “reasonable assurance” that construction of the natural gas pipeline will not contaminate streams and other bodies of water along its path.

A highly technical regulatory process that began two years ago became even more dense Thursday as the board struggled to reconcile an earlier decision by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to relinquish part of the state’s review to a federal agency.

After taking a break to revise the language of its water quality certification, the board returned to the stage in a church gymnasium where emotions had run high at times during a two day meeting that began on Wednesday.

“This certification is part of the most rigorous regulatory process to which a proposed pipeline ever has been subjected in Virginia,” the DEQ said in a statement immediately following the vote.

Natalie Cox, a spokeswoman for EQT Corp., said via email for Mountain Valley Pipeline said the state certification, which comes with more than a dozen special conditions, “provides further assurance that the MVP project will be constructed in an environmentally responsible manner.”

From the start, Cox wrote, “we have worked to design a route with the least overall impact to landowners and communities; and to preserve and protect sensitive species, historical resources and the environment, including streams and wetlands.”

Approval by the water control board was a key hurdle that MVP needed to clear before starting work on the project, which would transport natural gas at high pressure through a pipe that would run through the Roanoke and New River valleys on its way from West Virginia to Pittsylvania County.

FERC and the US Forest Service have already signed off on the project. A handful of agencies have yet to act. MVP hopes to begin pipeline operations by late next year.

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