The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) said Friday construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project in the state would be temporarily suspended to address soil erosion and sediment control issues.
MVP coordinated with DEQ to stop pipeline installation to “redirect its work efforts to focus exclusively on erosion controls affected by recent weather events,” said MVP spokeswoman Natalie Cox. DEQ said the issues were identified during regular inspections and those prompted by public complaints.
“After consultation with DEQ, and in light of the recent extraordinary rainfall experienced in Virginia, we have agreed to temporarily suspend pipeline installation activities, including welding, trenching and stringing of pipe, in Virginia,” Cox said. It’s unclear when construction might resume. The move was hailed by environmental groups.
DEQ said crews would enhance and restore erosion and sediment controls along the pipeline’s route. Construction can resume only after MVP receives approval from the agency.
The decision comes just days after a federal appeals court stayed a crucial U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water crossing permit for the project, potentially dealing a major setback for the pipeline as it targets a late 2018 in-service date.
The 300-mile, 2 Bcf/d MVP would move natural gas from West Virginia into Virginia and connect with the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line to transport more Appalachian supplies to Southeast markets. It is a joint venture between EQT Midstream Partners LP, NextEra US Gas Assets LLC, Con Edison Transmission Inc., WGL Midstream and RGC Midstream.