The MVP Southgate project is expected to have a capacity of transporting 375 million cubic feet of gas per day from southern Virginia to central North Carolina

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NC DEQ turns down water quality certification request for MVP Southgate project. (Credit: Johannes Rupf from Pixabay)

Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) has been denied water quality certification from the North Carolina (NC) Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for its $468m MVP Southgate project.

DEQ said that its Division of Water Resources has turned down the company’s request for a 401 Water Quality Certification and Jordan Lake Riparian Buffer Authorization for the 120.8km long natural gas pipeline system.

The department said that the decision was driven by the lack of clarity around the completion of the MVP Mainline project, which made its division to conclude that work on the Southgate extension could result in unnecessary water quality impacts and environmental disturbance in North Carolina.

Brief details of the MVP Southgate Project

The MVP Southgate Project is planned to comprise 16-inch and 24-inch-diameter pipes to be laid between Virginia and North Carolina. The pipeline project is expected to have a capacity of transporting 375 million cubic feet of gas per day from southern Virginia to central North Carolina.

The pipeline project is proposed to receive gas from the MVP Mainline project in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. The MVP Mainline project, in turn, is a 487.6km long interstate natural gas pipeline system, which is being laid between northwestern West Virginia and southern Virginia with an investment of $5.3bn-$5.5bn.

MVP is a joint venture between EQM Midstream Partners, NextEra Capital, Con Edison Transmission, RGC Midstream, and WGL Midstream.

DEQ said that as per the review of MVP’s application and related materials and information, its Division of Water Resources staff found that the sole utility and purpose of the MVP Southgate project is to be tied to and fully relies on, the completion of the entire MVP Mainline project.

The department further said that the uncertainty about the completion of the MVP Mainline project puts up a critical risk to achieving the basic purpose of MVP Southgate. DEQ also said that most of the adverse environmental effects would take place during construction, which is why it found it inappropriate to unnecessarily risk affecting high‐quality waters and important drinking water supplies of North Carolinians for the project.

DEQ Secretary Michael Regan said: “DEQ has questioned the need for the MVP Southgate project since our initial comments to FERC. This has always been an unnecessary project that poses unnecessary risks to our environment and given the uncertain future of the MVP Mainline, North Carolinians should not be exposed to the risk of another incomplete pipeline project.

“North Carolina’s clean energy future is not dependent on adding more natural gas infrastructure. Projects like this slow down the state’s goal to reduce greenhouse gases under North Carolina’s Clean Energy Plan and our efforts to address climate change under Executive Order 80.”