Equitrans Midstream announced that the delayed $6.6bn Mountain Valley pipeline project (MVP project) across West Virginia and Virginia will now move ahead following the signing of the debt ceiling bill by US President Joe Biden.

The legislation dubbed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 increases the debt limit of the country to $31.4 trillion. Besides, it ratifies and approves all permits and authorisations required for the construction and initial operation of the pipeline project.

Additionally, the legislation asks the relevant federal officials and agencies to maintain such authorisations.

According to Equitrans Midstream, by 24 June 2023, the legislation mandates the Secretary of the Army to grant all the necessary permits or verifications to finish project construction and facilitate the operation and maintenance of the Mountain Valley pipeline.

Furthermore, the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 removes the authority that courts had in reviewing agency actions pertaining to approvals needed for the pipeline project’s construction and initial operation.

Planned to run more than 487km across West Virginia and Virginia, the pipeline will offer access to natural gas for use by local distribution firms, power generation facilities, and industrial users in the mid-Atlantic and southeast regions of the US.

Equitrans Midstream plans to work with its partners to wrap up construction of the gas pipeline project by the year-end.

Equitrans Midstream chairman and CEO Thomas Karam said: “The MVP project has gone through more environmental review and scrutiny than any natural gas pipeline project in U.S. history, having been issued the same state and federal authorisations two and three times, only to have those authorisations be routinely challenged and vacated in court.

“Congressional involvement to legislate the approval of this project only magnifies the critical need for more robust and comprehensive permitting reform that goes beyond the important initial steps in this legislation.”

The midstream company said that it will continue to closely work with all relevant authorities in reissuing the few outstanding permits for the Mountain Valley pipeline.

Equitrans Midstream is the operator of the pipeline project. Its partners in the project are NextEra Capital, Con Edison Transmission, WGL Midstream, and RGC Midstream.

The Mountain Valley pipeline is designed to transport up to two million dekatherms per day of firm transmission capacity of natural gas drawn from the Marcellus and Utica shale.