Mountain Valley Pipeline has decided to withdraw eminent domain actions against land in North Carolina that the company is seeking for its Southgate Extension, a 75-mile offshoot of the main pipeline that would carry gas from Pittsylvania south to the counties of Rockingham and Alamance.
“While the timing, design and scope of this project continue to be evaluated, MVP has elected to reject this action, believing it to be the appropriate course of action at this time and a demonstration of his desire to work in cooperation and in good faith with landowners and communities along the pipeline route,” said the movement filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Intermediate District of North Carolina.
But the company requested the termination without prejudice, which would allow it to pursue eminent domain actions against the properties again.
Mountain Valley “has not abandoned this project,” the pipeline wrote.
Shawn Day, spokesperson for MVP Southgate projectreiterated the wording of the motion, adding, “Mountain Valley remains committed to the MVP Southgate project, which is needed to help North Carolina meet its low-carbon energy goals and meet current residential and commercial demand and future of natural gas in the region.”
“Proceedings are currently underway regarding a small number of parcels” along the proposed Southgate route in Virginia, Day added.
A condition of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the Southgate project in 2020 was that construction on the extension would not begin until the company received the required federal permits for the mainline system and the director. of the Office of Energy Projects, or its delegate, lifted a stop work order and authorized the project.
The pipeline came back to life in August after FERC extended its October 2022 deadline for completion by four years. Regulators said their decision was administrative and the process was not the right time to review project approval.
At that time, a company spokesperson said the company remained committed to securing federal and state permits to bring the project into service in the second half of 2023. Mountain Valley said the main line was complete. at 94%, although some naysayers dispute the company’s numbers.
However, Mountain Valley still does not have the necessary permits to complete the pipeline. An effort by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, to force approval and completion of the project through federal permit reform legislation to the point of death this autumn.
The Southgate extension also encountered problems. In 2021, the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board refuse an air permit for a proposed compressor station in Pittsylvania that was crucial to ensuring gas could flow from Virginia to North Carolina.
The denial triggered General Assembly legislation transferring licensing authority from the Citizen Air Board to the state Department of Environmental Quality.
North Carolina also previously denied Southgate a required water permit, citing “unnecessary and avoidable impacts to surface waters and riparian buffers.”
Environmental activists on Friday celebrated Mountain Valley’s voluntary dismissal from its eminent domain stock.
“Today we can breathe. We still have a long way to go, but the road is getting shorter,” Crystal Cavalier Keck, co-founder of 7 Directions of Service, an Indigenous activist group, said in a statement. “This decision is further proof that the MVP is doomed.”
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