EQT Midstream Partners, LP released the following statement and background information in response to a 21 June 2018 order by the Fourth Circuit Court staying the stream and wetland crossing permit issued by the Huntington District of the US Army Corps of Engineers for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project that affects crossings in approximately 160 miles of the MVP route in West Virginia.
"We remain confident in the MVP project approvals received by state and federal agencies and will continue to move forward with construction as scheduled and authorised for the full route across Virginia and in other areas of the route in West Virginia. The court’s decision to suspend the entire Huntington District’s permit was not anticipated as the Corps had suspended the permit for the four waterbody crossings in question to evaluate the environmental benefits of the previously approved ‘dry-ditch’ method and whether the time limitation should apply. While we are disappointed with this temporary setback, the MVP team is evaluating its legal and regulatory options to reinstate the permit and continue with construction activities along this portion of the route.”
On 22 May 2018, the Sierra Club and other opponents filed a Motion to Stay the Clean Water Act Section 404 stream and wetland crossing permit issued by the Huntington District of the US Army Corps of Engineers. As part of this permit, the Corps incorporated the West Virginia Special Conditions, which includes a provision that stream and wetland crossings be completed within 72 hrs.
The Sierra Club argues that MVP cannot comply with the permit condition to complete four waterbody crossings (Elk, Gauley, Greenbrier, and Meadow Rivers) within 72 hrs. This provision; however, as interpreted by both MVP and the West Virginia DEP, is intended to apply to water crossings that are constructed in an open trench while the river is flowing (‘wet-cut’ method). MVP plans to utilise a ‘dry-ditch’ coffer dam method to cross these four rivers as this technique is more protective of the environment because construction activity is not performed in a flowing river. This crossing technique has been approved by both the FERC and the West Virginia DEP. While significantly more environmentally protective, the ‘dry-ditch’ technique also requires a longer completion time as compared to traditional ‘wet-cut’ crossing methods to which the time limitation provision applies. In response to the Sierra Club’s motion, the Corps suspended the permit for these four crossings and is evaluating the environmental benefits of the ‘dry-ditch’ method and whether the time limitation should apply.
MVP continues to target a late 2018 in-service date while evaluating options for this portion of the route.
Read the article online at: https://www.energyglobal.com/pipelines/project-news/25062018/mountain-valley-pipeline-project-faces-delay/