The pending $5.3 billion merger of Ontario utility Hydro One Ltd. and Spokane, WA-based Avista Corp. has gained approval from the Montana Public Service Commission, leaving three regulatory approvals in Idaho, Oregon and Washington left to clear, which are expected this year. The combination, also approved by Alaska regulators, has gained all required federal approvals. 

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has issued the first in a series of permits for a 1,200 MW natural gas-fired power plant. The North Bergen Liberty Generating Project, under development by Mitsubishi Corp. subsidiary Diamond Generating Corp., has received its waterfront, flood hazard and wetlands permits, as well as its water quality certificate, authorizing the construction of the facility and an underground cable beneath the Hudson River to supply power to New York. The facility is being developed in an industrialized part of the Meadowlands, a patchwork of wetlands in the northeastern part of the state. It has attracted the opposition of environmental groups, and some nearby towns have passed resolutions opposing the plant.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC (MVP) a notice of violation (NOV) for erosion and sediment control issues. DEQ said the NOV is the first step toward enforcement action. MVP construction in the state was voluntarily stopped in June to address soil erosion and sediment control issues. The NOV is unrelated to the work stoppage. The agency said, however, it is continuing inspections and releasing segments to resume work once they’ve reestablished erosion and sediment control. The 300-mile, 2 Bcf/d project would move Appalachian natural gas to Southeast markets.