FERC on Friday granted a request from Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC (MVP) for some construction activity within the Jefferson National Forest in Monroe County, WV, and Giles and Montgomery counties, VA, to continue building out the 302-mile, 2 million Dth/d interstate natural gas project.

The approval was the latest in a series of a half dozen authorizations the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has given MVP in recent weeks for construction activities, tree cutting and variance approvals [CP16-10].

MVP is working toward a planned 4Q2018 in-service date for the 42-inch diameter pipeline. The system would start in Wetzel County, WV, and run southeast to deliver gas into the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co.’s (Transco) Zone 5 via an interconnect in Pittsylvania County, VA.

MVP is a joint venture between EQT Midstream Partners LP (EQM); NextEra US Gas Assets LLC; Con Edison Transmission, Inc.; WGL Midstream; and RGC Midstream LLC.

“When we began the MVP process more than four years ago, we had a view that the Southeast United States needed incremental access to supply based on demand growth outlook for the region, and more specifically that the Southeast needed access to the largest and lowest cost producing basin in the country,” EQM CEO Jerry Ashcroft said during the company’s recent earnings call. “Our current view remains consistent.”

Last month, EQM launched a binding open season for the MVP Southgate project, which would serve more natural gas customers in North Carolina. Southgate would receive gas from the MVP mainline in Pittsylvania County, VA, and extend 70 miles to new delivery points in Rockingham and Alamance counties, NC.

“MVP Southgate will receive gas from MVP and reach about 70 miles south into North Carolina, offering PSNC [Energy] and other customers access to the Marcellus/Utica supply and ensuring reliability and low cost for customers, Ashcroft said.

MVP, along with the similarly routed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), received a certificate from FERC last fall in a rare split decision.

Both MVP and ACP have faced pushback from landowners and opposition groups, with politicians also stepping in at times.

In a separate order Friday, FERC denied requests filed by a trio of environmental organizations seeking rehearing and reconsideration of authorizations to proceed with construction of certain MVP facilities that the Commission issued in January and February.