Mountain Valley Pipeline faces new scrutiny, citizen lawsuits
- West Virginia officials told a federal court this week that the state will take a fresh look at the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, and that data used to evaluate the project "needs to be further evaluated and possibly enhanced,” The Hill reported.
- Last week, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection vacated a water quality certificate issued to the pipeline project in order to re-evaluate "the complete application," officials said.
- The controversial project, which aims to supply natural gas to markets in the Mid- and South Atlantic regions of the United States, is also facing citizen lawsuits from impacted residents opposed to the use of eminent domain.
Problems continue to mount, for EQT Corporation's proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. In addition to losing a water quality certificate, the project now faces at least two citizen-led lawsuits focused on developers' use of eminent domain.
Staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over the summer issued a final environmental impact statement concluding the 300-mile project could go forward. Opponents, however, are challenging FERC's eminent domain authority, as landowners worry about the potential impact to property.
The Bold Alliance and more than 50 landowners filed a lawsuit this month seeking to challenge "the process by which FERC confers eminent domain powers on private, for-profit natural-gas pipeline companies."
The second lawsuit is led by Virginia-based law firm Gentry Locke, representing about 10 landowners. That suit was filed earlier in the summer and alleges that "without boundaries from Congress, FERC has run wild in the years since, and has unconstitutionally subdelegated the power of eminent domain to private parties seeking private profits."
E&E News has the details on both lawsuits and is hosting copies of the court documents.
Partners in the Mountain Valley Pipeline project are aiming for a late 2018 in-service date. EQT will operate the pipeline and own a significant interest, along with NextEra US Gas Assets, Con Edison Transmission, WGL Midstream and RGC Midstream. The line will also extend the Equitrans transmission system in Wetzel County, W.Va., to Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Zone 5 compressor station in Pittsylvania County, Va.
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