The US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval of the $4.6bn Mountain Valley Pipeline project to be laid between northwestern West Virginia and southern Virginia.
The judgment from the appeals court rejects the petition filed by various environmental groups that were seeking for a review on the regulatory approval for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project.
The court in its ruling said: “Notwithstanding petitioners’ argument to the contrary, FERC’s conclusion that there is a market need for the project was reasonable and supported by substantial evidence, in the form of long-term precedent agreements for 100% of the project’s capacity.”
The 487.6km underground, interstate natural gas pipeline system is expected to supply at least two billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day of natural gas procured from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions to the growing demand markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.
The American Petroleum Institute (API), a leading trade association for the oil and natural gas industry in the US, has welcomed the appeals court judgment on the pipeline project.
API midstream and industry operations vice president Robin Rorick said: “FERC conducted a thorough environmental impact study that looked at everything from groundwater to surrounding communities’ cultural attachments, and the Court’s decision underscored that no further assessments are needed to ensure a safe path forward for the project’s completion.
“Pipelines like the Mountain Valley project make our nation more energy secure, grow the economy, and create jobs in the mid-Atlantic, all while transporting the products that Americans need to power their daily lives safely, and are pleased that the project can move forward to completion.”
The natural gas pipeline project is being developed by the Mountain Valley Pipeline joint venture made up of EQM Midstream Partners, NextEra US Gas Assets, Con Edison Transmission, WGL Midstream, and RGC Midstream.
EQM Midstream Partners, which owns a significant stake in the joint venture, will be the operator of the pipeline.
Construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline project began in February 2018 and is targeted to be placed into full service in the fourth quarter of 2019.