MVP wants ability to work longer hours on pipeline, landowners react

Company requests to work before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m.

People living along the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline have new concerns about construction noise.

MVP filed a request Tuesday asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission if its workers can begin before 7 a.m., the typical start time for construction work in close proximity to residential areas, and work later than 7 p.m.

Bent Mountain resident Mary Beth Coffey has been speaking against pipeline construction for years. The path runs through her front yard, crossing her driveway. She’s not sure how she’ll enter and leave her property when construction starts here, and she hopes the work hours aren’t extended.

"The noise, the pollution, the smells from the equipment, the dust, that's going to be another disruption,” she said. “The regular work hours that the general public does in this country should be adhered to by this corporation.”

Robin Austin lives nearby.

“I'm retired, but I retired thinking this was my peaceful place of refuge,” Austin said. “Our community has stood very strong through this whole ordeal, and we will stand together. We'll continue to stand together.”

Jacki Lucki remembers conversations about work hours during the pipeline’s planning stage.

“We had discussed this over a year ago when they were trying to say they could come and go on our properties at any time. I thought it had been resolved,” Lucki said.

Roanoke lawyer and pipeline opponent Tom Bondurant says workers have already been on-site outside of those hours.

“It’s just unconscionable to work before they go to school or work and to have them working outside your window late at night when you get home,” Bondurant said.

MVP spokeswoman Natalie Cox said in a statement that the company made this request because it wants to work quickly to minimize environmental impacts.

“In areas where permitted, construction activities continue along the route, with individual sections being at different phases of the construction process. As sections of the route are completed and pipe is laid, it is important that we are able to begin reclamation work as quickly as possible in order to minimize environmental impacts by returning soils and vegetation to the rights-of-way (ROW). Taking advantage of the longer daylight hours during the summer and early fall will expedite this replanting and revegetation work,” she said.

FERC has not announced whether it will approve or deny the request to extend working hours.