FERC staff has issued a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for EQM Midstream Partners LP’s Southgate Project, which would involve the construction and operation of 75 miles of 16-inch and 24-inch diameter interstate natural gas transmission pipeline in Virginia and North Carolina.

Approval of the project would result in some adverse environmental impacts, but they would be reduced to less-than-significant levels through mitigation measures, according to the 416-page FEIS, which was released Friday [CP19-14].

The Southgate Project, which would extend Mountain Valley Pipeline’s (MVP) reach into North Carolina, was issued a draft EIS in July. The FEIS initially was scheduled to be released in December, but was delayed after MVP filed additional information late in the process that included changes to the route and revised data for resource impacts.

EQM hopes to have the project in service by 4Q2020 subject to various regulatory approvals and completion of the MVP project itself, which repeatedly has been delayed over regulatory and legal issues. The latest stumbling block came earlier this month when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) said it would need even more time to revise its Endangered Species Act review of the project. MVP would move 2 Bcf/d of Appalachian natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia and connect with the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line to tap markets in the Southeast.

The 70-mile Southgate pipeline would receive gas from MVP in Virginia and transport it to new delivery points in Rockingham and Alamance counties, NC. The project is expected to cost $450-500 million and is backed by a 300 MMcf/d commitment from utility PSNC Energy, which is now Dominion Energy following a merger with parent Scana Corp. earlier this year.

EQM said Southgate has been designed with an expansion capacity of up to 900 MMcf/d.

The project proposes constructing about 31 miles of 24-inch diameter pipe from the MVP mainline in Pittsylvania County, VA, to the Dan River Interconnect with Dominion in Rockingham County; about 42 miles of 16-inch diameter pipeline from the Dan River Interconnect to an interconnect with Dominion facilities at Haw River in Alamance County; a 28,915 hp compressor station in Pittsylvania County; and an interconnect with East Tennessee Natural Gas Transmission LLC, along with other facilities and equipment.