FERC Approves Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley Pipeline Projects

Great news delivered late Friday afternoon: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued final, full approvals for both the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipeline projects. Atlantic Coast is a $5 billion, 594-mile natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. Mountain Valley is a $3.5 billion, 303-mile natural gas pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. Both projects still face an uphill battle before they get built. The North Carolina Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a rejection letter for Atlantic Coast last week (see NC DEQ Rejects Plan for Atlantic Coast Pipeline – What’s Next?). The rejection, while a setback, does not mean the project is barred from the Tar Heel State. It simply means Dominion must provide more information to NC DEQ. Similarly, Mountain Valley first received a water permit from the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) in March, later to be withdrawn in September (see Trouble for Mountain Valley Pipe: WV DEP Withdraws Water Permit). Again, not a catastrophic development–it just slows down the process. Although FERC approved both projects, one of the three FERC commissioners, Cheryl LaFleur (Obama appointee holdover) voted against approving both projects. Her stated reason is that she does not think either project is in the public interest. Antis are (predictably) frothing at the mouth over FERC’s approvals, promising to sue, protest, and do whatever it takes to stop both projects. However, with FERC’s blessing, these projects are now assured of getting built. Below we have copies of the FERC approvals, along with select reaction to the news…

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