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North Carolina Denies MVP Extension

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The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has again denied Mountain Valley Pipeline’s (MVP) water permit request for its Southgate natural gas pipeline project from Virginia to North Carolina.

The DEQ’s Division of Water Resources has reissued and supplemented the denial of the request for a 401 Water Quality Certification and Jordan Lake Riparian Buffer Authorization for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) Southgate project, originally denied in August 2020.

MVP appealed the 2020 denial to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

In its March 11, 2021 ruling, the Fourth Circuit upheld the state’s authority to determine that authorizing impacts from the Southgate extension at this time poses unnecessary risk to North Carolina’s streams, lakes, and wetlands. The Fourth Circuit only remanded the decision back to the Division to address certain statements made by the hearing officer and to “explain why the Department chose denial over conditional certification.”

The denial reaffirms DWR’s determination and explains why DWR did not conditionally approve the Southgate project. DWR concludes that a conditional approval in these circumstances does not provide the reasonable assurance of compliance with water quality requirements.

Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project is a natural gas pipeline system that spans approximately 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. It is owned by units of Equitrans Midstream, NextEra Energy, Consolidated Edison, AltaGas and RGC Resources. EQM Midstream Partners will operate the pipeline and own a significant interest in the joint venture.

With a vast supply of natural gas from Marcellus and Utica shale production, the MVP is expected to provide up to two billion cubic feet per day of firm transmission capacity to markets in the Mid- and South Atlantic regions of the United States.

MVP has said it expects to complete the mainline by the end of 2021.

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