In a notice of schedule issued Tuesday for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and the Equitrans Expansion Project, FERC said it plans to complete draft environmental impact statements (EIS) for the projects by September with a final EIS expected in early March 2017.

The notice establishes a 90-day federal authorization decision deadline of June 8, 2017.

MVP had been targeting a late-2018 in-service date based on construction beginning later this year. Equitrans had proposed a similar schedule for its expansion, with construction set to start later this year with a late-2018 in-service date. Those timelines would be appear to be delayed based on the dates set in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission notice.

The 42-inch diameter, 2,000,000 Dth/d MVP is to begin in Wetzel County, WV, and travel southeast to an interconnect with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Compressor Station 165 in Pittsylvania County, VA. The project is a joint venture by EQT Midstream Partners LP, NextEra Energy, Con Edison Gas Midstream LLC, WGL Midstream, Vega Midstream MVP LLC and RGC Midstream LLC. It filed for FERC authorization last fall (see Daily GPI, Oct. 23, 2015).

The Equitrans Expansion would add 600,000 Dth/d of north-south capacity in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, adding about eight miles of various diameter pipelines in six segments across Greene, Allegheny and Washington counties, PA, and Wetzel County, WV. The Pratt Compressor Station also would be replaced with the new Redhook Compressor Station in Greene County.

The Equitrans Expansion, which would interconnect with MVP, also filed for FERC approval in October (see Daily GPI, Oct. 29, 2015). It would be operated by Equitrans LP, a subsidiary of EQT Midstream Partners. The greenfield MVP, like the similarly routed Marcellus-to-Southeast Atlantic Coast Pipeline, has encountered local resistance and other obstacles related to crossing the rural mountains along the West Virginia/Virginia border (see Daily GPI, May 17).

According to FERC, “some of the major issues raised” over the course of six scoping meetings along MVP’s route “included potential impacts on karst terrain and caves; impacts on groundwater and springs, drinking water supplies, and surface water bodies; impacts on forest; impacts on property values and the use of eminent domain; impacts on tourism; impacts on public recreational areas such as the Jefferson National Forest, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and the Blue Ridge Parkway; impacts on historic districts; and pipeline safety.”