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Massive Gas Pipeline Gets Final Green Light From Feds After Years Of Activist Pressure, Delays

A major natural gas pipeline is now cleared to begin operations after enduring a wide array of setbacks.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), running about 300 miles from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina, received the final green light from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in a Tuesday filing. The project overcame a bevy of challenges along the way, including a sustained climate activist pressure campaign, billions of dollars in cost overruns and legal challenges.

“We are pleased with the agencies’ decisions and the related communications regarding in-service authorization for the MVP project,” a spokesperson for Equitrans Midstream, the lead partner behind the project, said in a statement shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Final preparations are underway to begin commercial operations.”

Construction on the pipeline started in 2018, after its developers received the required permits, with Equitrans expecting at the time that the project would cost about $3.5 billion and come online later that year, according to Reuters. Ultimately, the pipeline’s final price tag was $7.85 billion after years of delays.

The pipeline will bring natural gas extracted in West Virginia to customers in the mid-Atlantic and southern Atlantic regions of the country, according to MVP’s website.

The pipeline drew legal challenges from environmental organizations looking to derail the project, while other activists have more directly tried to stop the project by attaching their own bodies to the pipeline or key equipment to hold up the construction process. Work on the project stopped and started several times over the course of its construction, according to Reuters.

The pipeline project’s completion is a big win for Independent West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, formerly a Democrat, who broke with most of his party to strongly support the MVP. Manchin attracted pushback from climate activists for that support.

During the summer of 2022, President Joe Biden and then-Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy agreed to fast track the MVP as part of the June deal that resolved the debt ceiling crisis. Ultimately, Congress’ direction in the Fiscal Responsibility Act set the stage for the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ dismissal of the last outstanding environmental legal challenge against the project in August 2023.

The pipeline was the only major project of its kind underway along the East Coast above North Carolina, according to Reuters. The Biden administration has aggressively regulated the natural gas industry since assuming office in 2021 as part of a broader effort to move the American power sector to net-zero carbon emissions by 2035 and to achieve the same goal for the overall U.S. economy by 2050.

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Nick Pope

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