FERC issues pipeline environmental impact statement

Pipeline pic 2The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project.
The draft statement, dated Sept. 16, 2016, has been distributed to area individuals in the form of an 8-page letter and a CD that contains over 600 pages of detailed information.
According to the statement, the MVP is designed to transport about 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from production areas in the Appalachian Basin to markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States.
Agencies participating in the FERC study were the U.S. Department of Agricultural Forest Service, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, the US Department of Transportation, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
In turn, those agencies may use the FERC environmental impact statement when deciding whether to grant the MVP rights-of-way for portions of the pipeline that would cross federal lands.
The report says the “FERC staff concludes that approval of the MVP would have some adverse environmental impacts; however, these impacts would be reduced with the implementation of Mountain Valley’s proposed mitigation measures and additional measures recommended by the FERC staff.”
The statement identifies the MVP as a 300-mile, 42-inch-diameter pipeline extending from Wetzel County to the existing Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company Station in Pittsylvania County, VA.
One amendment listed by the FERC statement is a reallocation of the Land and Resource Management Plan by the Forest Service of 186 acres of old growth forest communities. This affected area would extend 500 feet where the pipeline crosses the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Corridor near Peterstown. The amendment would allow the removal of old growth trees.
The new area would not cross into Peters Mountain Wilderness, the statement said, but the amendment would allow for the scenic views to be downgraded from “high” to “moderate.” The “moderate” classification must be achieved within five-to-ten years of pipeline construction.
As of now, the Bureau of Land Management is requesting public comments on the issuance of a right-of-way grant that would allow the MVP pipeline to be constructed on federal lands managed by the forest service and the Army Corps of Engineers. Comments may be issued to FERC.
Comments on the environmental impact statement are also encouraged, and FERC must receive them by Dec. 22.
Comments may be made using the eComment feature at www.ferc.gov; by using the eFiling feature at www.ferc.gov; on paper by mailing them to Kimberley D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426; or by attending a public session.
Public sessions take place at 5 p.m. at the following locations:
• Tuesday, Nov. 1, Chatham High School, Chatham, VA
• Tuesday, Nov. 1, Lewis County High School, Weston, WV
• Wednesday, Nov. 2, Franklin Co. High School, Rocky Mount, VA
• Wednesday, Nov. 2, Nicholas Co. High School, Summersville, WV
• Thursday, Nov. 3, Sheraton Hotel, Roanoke, VA
• Thursday, Nov. 3, Peterstown Elementary School, Peterstown, WV
• Wednesday, Nov. 9, California Area High School, Coal Center, PA
Additional information is available by calling 866-208-FERC or at www.ferc.gov.
In addition, FERC offers a free service called eSubscription that allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. Go to www.gerc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to sign up.

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