Court deals another setback to Mountain Valley
Equitrans Midstream’s 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project across southwest Virginia, which is more than 90% complete, was dealt another judicial setback February 2.
In a sealed opinion, the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down a 2020 biological opinion from the US Fish and Wildlife Service that the project would not jeopardise endangered species along its right-of-way. The opinion, the court said, was being remanded to the Fish and Wildlife Service on specific issues.
The opinion was initially issued under seal, because it could potentially pinpoint the location of endangered species, but that seal was expected to be lifted shortly.
“The MVP project team is taking time to thoroughly review the information outlined in the decision and is evaluating the project’s next steps regarding the biological opinion,” Equitrans Midstream said in a February 3 statement. “We remain committed to completing the MVP project and believe the concerns associated with MVP’s biological opinion can be addressed by the agency.”
It’s the second judicial setback in as many weeks for the pipeline. Last week, the same court struck down approvals from Fish and Wildlife and the federal Bureau of Land Management covering a short portion of the pipeline’s route through the Jefferson National Forest.