Mountain Valley Pipeline completion delayed again

The natural gas project’s developers now say they expect the pipeline to start operations in early June

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – The planned in-service date for the Mountain Valley Pipeline is not quite narrowed down after developers delayed the original June 1 date.

This week, the company sent a letter to FERC changing its targeted in-service date to “early June,” citing “the extended construction duration to achieve weld-out, which has been associated with weather and environmental protection.”

The $7.85 billion, 42-inch-diameter Mountain Valley Pipeline is designed to transport up to 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily from West Virginia through six Virginia counties. However, the project has been delayed for years by legal and permitting challenges.

Pipeline critics argue the ‘early June’ timeline is too early to go into service. Most critics say the pipeline shouldn’t go in service at all.

At a conference call on Thursday, multiple advocacy groups talked about their disappointment with the pipeline.

“Believe your eyes and ears and the people who live here because the reality is very different than what’s being portrayed,” Russell Chisholm said.

People in local and federal government have formally asked FERC to hold off on putting the pipeline into service until the outstanding issues are resolved. 23 state lawmakers have signed a letter and the boards of supervisors in Montgomery and Roanoke counties have as well.

“On May 1, 2024, the project suffered a substantial pipe failure within Roanoke County during hydrostatic testing,” Roanoke County Administrator Richard Caywood wrote on behalf of the county board in a letter to FERC posted online Wednesday. “This rather dramatic pipe failure has caused a great deal of concern among our residents who live in the area and who appropriately ask: ‘What if the pipe failed with gas rather than water?’”

In a weekly interview with reporters, Sen. Tim Kaine gave his comments on the project.

“If the timing is backing up because of these problems, I just hope FERC will appropriately ensure together with the state agencies, the State Cooperation Commission and the Department of Environmental Quality...that this pipeline does not go live until it’s safe. That’s what we owe the entire commonwealth but particularly the land owners who’s land got taken for this,” Sen. Kaine said.

The company said it expects that areas impacted by construction will be “fully restored” by August, although that depends on “weather and other external factors.”

Mountain Valley Pipeline also said it continues progress toward fully complying with the pipeline safety agency’s order.

About the Author

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.

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