Equitrans Wants US Legislation to Help Finish Mountain Valley Gas Pipeline

(Reuters) — U.S. energy company Equitrans Midstream Corp. said on Tuesday that the best path to complete its Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia by the second half of 2023 was through U.S. permitting reform legislation.

Equitrans also said in its third quarter earnings release that federal legislation would help the company stick to its previously announced $6.6 billion budget for the project.

Mountain Valley — the only big gas pipe under construction in Appalachia — is one of several U.S. pipeline projects delayed by regulatory and legal fights with environmental and local groups. These fights stem from federal permit problems issued during President Donald Trump's administration.

The project is key to unlocking more gas supplies from Appalachia, the nation's biggest shale gas basin.

In early August, Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin secured a commitment from President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to enact permitting reform legislation that would also allow the long-delayed Mountain Valley to be completed.

To gain those commitments, Manchin agreed to support Biden's Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA has since passed but despite the support of Biden, Schumer and Pelosi, there was not enough other support in Congress to keep the permitting reform in the legislation.

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