Debt Ceiling Bill Passage Clears Mountain Valley Pipeline to Proceed with Construction, Operation

(P&GJ) — President Joe Biden signed legislation on June 3 that raised the Nation's debt limit and ratified and approved all permits and authorizations necessary for the construction and initial operation of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and directs the applicable federal officials and agencies to maintain such authorizations.

Further, and not later than June 24, 2023, the legislation requires the Secretary of the Army to issue all permits or verifications necessary to complete project construction and allow for MVP's operation and maintenance. The legislation also divests courts of jurisdiction to review agency actions on approvals necessary for MVP construction and initial operation. Given the legislation, and assuming the timely issuance of the few remaining authorizations, Equitrans Midstream, operator of the MVP, intends to work with its project partners to complete construction of the MVP project by year-end 2023, at an estimated total project cost of approximately $6.6 billion.

"We are grateful for the full support of the White House, the strong bipartisan leadership of Democratic and Republican legislators, the resolute dedication of Senator Capito, and the unwavering commitment of Chairman Manchin for recognizing and declaring MVP as a critical energy infrastructure project," Thomas F. Karam, chairman and CEO of Equitrans Midstream, said.

Karam added, “The MVP project has gone through more environmental review and scrutiny than any natural gas pipeline project in U.S. history, having been issued the same state and federal authorizations two and three times, only to have those authorizations be routinely challenged and vacated in court. Congressional involvement to legislate the approval of this project only magnifies the critical need for more robust and comprehensive permitting reform that goes beyond the important initial steps in this legislation. Absent a more certain regulatory review and approval process, we are impeding companies’ ability to invest capital, including in renewable projects, for the benefit of our Nation’s economy, energy security, and energy affordability.”

The approval of this legislation expressly acknowledges the efforts of the state and federal agencies that have invested countless hours and worked diligently to develop comprehensive plans for constructing the pipeline with the least possible impact to the environment. Furthermore, the legislation recognizes the many benefits of the MVP in advancing our energy security, bolstering our ability to effectively transition to a lower-carbon economy, and providing energy reliability and affordability for American consumers.

Spanning approximately 303 miles across West Virginia and Virginia, MVP will provide cost-effective access to natural gas for use by local distribution companies, industrial users, and power generation facilities in growing demand markets of the mid-Atlantic and southeast regions of the United States. With the enactment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, Mountain Valley will continue to work closely with all relevant agencies in reissuing the project’s few outstanding permits and will maintain its steadfast commitment to environmental protection to ensure the responsible completion of the project's remaining construction.

The full text of the legislation can be found at Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023.


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