FERC on Tuesday authorized Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC (MVP) to begin construction on portions of the 303-mile, 2 million Dth/d interstate natural gas project’s route through Virginia.

Approving a request filed March 20 by the developer, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff issued a notice to proceed (NTP) with construction of “discontiguous portions” of the pipeline in Giles, Craig, Montgomery and Roanoke counties, VA. MVP has satisfied all necessary environmental conditions for construction to begin, according to FERC.

The approval comes after Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on Monday approved MVP’s erosion, sediment and stormwater control plans, authorizing MVP to begin land disturbing activities in the state. The DEQ issued a Section 401 water quality certification permit to the project in December.

Also in Tuesday’s filing, FERC approved three additional temporary workspaces in Lewis County, WV; 10 workspaces, five access roads and one anode bed in Montgomery County; and 14 workspaces, five access roads and one anode bed in Roanoke County.

This latest action is one of several NTPs FERC has issued to MVP this year as the developers work toward a planned 4Q2018 in-service date for the 42-inch diameter pipeline. MVP — a joint venture between EQT Midstream Partners, LP; NextEra US Gas Assets, LLC; Con Edison Transmission, Inc.; WGL Midstream; and RGC Midstream, LLC — 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, 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.

Last week, a coalition of environmental groups seeking to stall ACP failed in their efforts to convince the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to issue a stay.

The ruling is a setback for pipeline opponents seeking to bypass FERC’s rehearing process. Critics have accused FERC of using tolling orders to prolong the rehearing process and shield projects from court challenges until construction has already progressed.