MVP officials still not commenting on whether pipeline plans will change

Spokeswoman says pipeline still on track for early 2019

By Tommy Lopez - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

McLEAN, Va. - Mountain Valley Pipeline officials said Monday that they’re still not sure if they’ll change any plans after judges revoked permits for construction on federal land.

A spokeswoman said natural gas service is still on track to start in the first quarter of 2019.

On Friday, a panel of federal judges sided with environmentalists and canceled approval for the pipeline to cross the Jefferson National Forest, which includes areas in Giles and Montgomery counties, and in West Virginia.

The judges' ruling accuses two agencies, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, of ignoring environmental regulations in approving the project.

MVP officials would not say whether they’re considering changing the pipeline’s path to avoid the area. Plans show about 3.6 miles of the 303-mile pipeline go through federal land.

MVP spokeswoman Natalie Cox said Monday that the company doesn’t have anything more to add about the court’s Friday decision other than what the company said last week.

“MVP is working with the agencies to evaluate the effect of the order on construction activities in the National Forest,” she said. “MVP continues to target a Q1 2019 in-service date.”

The judges elaborated Friday in a statement on their decision.

"American citizens understandably place their trust in the Forest Service to protect and preserve this country's forests, and they deserve more than silent acquiescence to a pipeline company's justification for upending large swaths of national forest lands," wrote Judge Stephanie Thacker.

The Sierra Club filed the lawsuit, backed by numerous local environmental groups.

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