Va. Water Bd Wants More Assurances re MVP & ACP Pipeline Projects

In October 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved two important Marcellus/Utica pipeline projects–Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), and EQT Midstream’s Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) (see FERC Approves Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley Pipeline Projects). ACP is a $6.5 billion, 594-mile natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. MVP 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. However, as we’ve all learned the hard way, federal approval by FERC is only the first step. Individual states get a very limited say in pipeline project siting by being given the power to issue federal Clean Water Act permits for stream crossings. Some states, like New York, abuse the power and attempt to shut down federal projects. Other states, like Virginia, waffle around. Here’s the latest from Virginia. The state Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) decided last year to let the federal Army Corps of Engineers handle the water permitting for the two pipelines. But then the state Water Control Board (WCB) stepped in, claiming they have authority to help regulate the construction of these two federal projects (which they don’t, but that’s a story for another day). The WCB eventually approved MVP and conditionally approved ACP. However, under extreme pressure (bullying) from Big Green proponents, the WCB is rethinking their approvals and has “cracked the door open” to review the water crossings already approved by the Army Corps of Engineers. Yeah, it’s a hot mess in Virginia…

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