National Forest Service approves expanded surveying plan for Mountain Valley Pipeline

Forest official stresses this move only approves pipeline survey

Mountain Valley Pipeline has received approval from the U.S. Forest Service to conduct expanded surveying in areas of the Jefferson National Forest as part of research into a potential interstate natural gas pipeline.

The surveying could affect portions of the National Forest in Craig, Giles, Montgomery and Roanoke Counties in Virginia as well as Monroe County, W.Va. That’s according to a September order issued by Forest Supervisor Thomas Speaks Jr.

Taken together, the additional segments account for no more than 10 miles, the Forest Service said in a news release on Oct. 1.

“I have decided to modify the temporary special use permit and authorize the use of additional National Forest System (NFS) lands by Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (MVP) to conduct field routing, environmental, cultural resource, and civil surveys within the Jefferson National Forest (JNF),” Speaks said in his Sept. 14 decision.

“Allowing these survey activities does not mean that I am allowing the construction of a pipeline across the JNF,” Speaks said. “If proposed, the construction of a pipeline would involve a separate environmental analysis and require a separate decision,” Speaks said.

“These surveys are collectively necessary to determine the feasibility of any proposed routes and will collect the environmental and cultural resources data needed to inform future decisions on whether or not to allow the construction and operation of the gas pipeline on the JNF,” Speaks said.

“If construction is allowed, the survey information will also inform us where to avoid or reduce the impacts to sensitive resources,” Speaks said in the decision.

As proposed, the Mountain Valley Pipeline project is a natural gas pipeline system that spans approximately 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. As an interstate pipeline will be regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), MVP notes on its website.

The MVP will be constructed and owned by Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, which is a joint venture of EQT Midstream Partners, LP; NextEra US Gas Assets, LLC; WGL Midstream; and Vega Midstream MVP LLC. EQT Midstream Partners will operate the pipeline and own a majority interest in the joint venture.

The MVP will extend the Equitrans transmission system in Wetzel County, West Va., to Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co.’s (Transco) Zone 5 compressor station 165 in Pittsylvania County, Va.

Wayne Barber
About the Author

Wayne Barber

Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants.

Wayne can be reached at