Frequently Asked Questions
What is Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC? Why was it created?
Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC is a joint venture of EQM Midstream Partners, LP; NextEra Capital Holdings, Inc.; Con Edison Transmission, Inc.; WGL Midstream; and RGC Midstream, LLC. EQM Midstream Partners will operate the pipeline and own a significant interest in the joint venture. The joint venture was created to develop a pipeline to take natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions to markets in the Mid- and South Atlantic regions of the United States.
What are the details of the ownership partnership?
EQM Midstream Partners, LP has a 45.5% significant ownership interest in the joint venture and will operate the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline; NextEra Energy has a 31% ownership interest; Con Edison Transmission, Inc. has a 12.5% interest; WGL Midstream has a 10% interest; and RGC Midstream, LLC has a 1% interest.
What is the expected project timeline?
Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC began the voluntary pre-filing process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in October 2014. The FERC pre-filing is an engagement process to help stakeholders and pipeline companies alike understand questions and concerns. Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC filed a formal Application with the FERC on October 23, 2015 and received the FERC Certificate on October 13, 2017. The project had a first quarter 2018 construction start date and is targeting an estimated in-service date of year-end 2023.
What regulatory approvals are required for the project to proceed?
The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project will obtain necessary regulatory authorizations from the FERC, the federal agency with primary jurisdiction over U.S. interstate natural gas pipeline projects. In addition to its FERC certificate application, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC will seek review from numerous other federal and state agencies, including, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state Department of Environmental Protection, as well as other state and local agencies.The MVP project will comply with all U.S. Department of Transportation safety requirements.
Will eminent domain come into play on this pipeline?
We work extremely hard to negotiate right-of-way easements and fair compensation for the easement with each landowner. If the FERC approves the project and no agreement with the landowner is reached, the pipeline may acquire the easement under eminent domain with a court determining compensation if necessary.
It’s important to note that we only utilize eminent domain as the very last resort. Eminent domain is a right given to interstate pipeline companies by federal statute through the Natural Gas Act, and that gives pipelines the right to take private land for FERC-authorized use.
How is the route for Mountain Valley Pipeline chosen?
The route selection process is conducted in a deliberate and thoughtful manner, utilizing experience and expertise of industry professionals. The pipeline route is designed to minimize the project’s impact on the environment, landowners, and communities. As Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC refines the route during the planning and permitting process, it will consider a number of factors including landowner concerns, environmental issues, cultural resources, and constructability.
How will Mountain Valley Pipeline be constructed?
Once all appropriate approvals and permits have been received, pipeline construction will occur in phases. Contractors will begin by clearing and grading the land. Then crews will string, weld, and install the pipe. Typically, the pipe is laid into a trench and then covered with a minimum of three feet of soil.
The disturbed area will then be returned to original contours as practical, limed, seeded, fertilized, and mulched. Before operations begin, the pipe is carefully inspected and tested as required by U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. The entire construction and installation process will be monitored by inspectors and will proceed as quickly and with as little impact as possible to the environment, landowners, and the community.
What can you expect during the construction of Mountain Valley Pipeline?
The construction process will consist of the following: construction surveying, clearing, grading, topsoil segregation (if applicable), trenching, pipeline stringing, welding, x-raying and weld repairs (if necessary), coating (if necessary), lowering in, back-filling, hydrostatic testing, clean-up and surface restoration and reseeding, if applicable. Any construction noise, dust and traffic issues will be kept to a minimum and all construction mitigation measures and safety procedures set by the FERC and other agencies will be followed.
What is an easement?
An easement provides an operator with a limited use of property for defined, specific purposes. The acquisition of an easement does not transfer ownership of the land to the MVP; it does, however, give Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC the right of access for construction and maintenance and the safe operation of the pipeline.
What is involved in the easement negotiation process?
Both a permanent easement and a temporary construction easement will be needed for this project. The permanent easement is the room to maintain and operate the pipeline, while the temporary easement is used for working space during construction. A Landman, or representative of Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, will contact you to discuss the agreements that cover the easements, payments for crops or timber that will be disturbed during the construction, and any access that will be needed for pipe and equipment.
What rights do Landowners have with respect to having a pipeline located on their property?
Landowners are entitled to receive fair compensation for having a pipeline on their property. The goal of Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC is to obtain from the Landowner the necessary land rights for the pipeline project. During the negotiations with the Landowner, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC will work with the Landowner to address specific concerns they may have about their property.
Will Landowners be allowed to use the land where the pipeline easement is located after the pipeline is constructed?
Generally, Landowners will be able to utilize their land the same as they did before the easement and pipeline is located on their property. For example, agricultural activities such as growing crops and pasturing livestock can resume as soon as the land is ready, but Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC will need to operate the pipeline safely, so some restrictions may apply. The effect of any restrictions would be addressed as part of the pipeline easement agreement granted to Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC.
How wide will the easement be?
The permanent easement will be 50 feet in width (with 125 feet of temporary easement during construction) required to safely build the MVP. At the end of construction, the land will be restored to as near its original condition as possible.
What measures will be taken to protect the environment during and after construction of the MVP?
The construction and operation of the pipeline is governed by strict state and federal environmental regulations. Routing near existing pipeline utility right-of-ways reduces the need to clear previously undisturbed land. Where clearing does occur, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC will work to minimize any impact to sensitive environmental areas. After the MVP is in operation, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC will continue to adhere to the requirements of all applicable environmental permits.
What activity will be seen after the MVP is placed in service?
Future activities along the route will consist of visual inspections by personnel flying over and walking the right of way, looking for any natural or manmade conditions that could impact the pipe or affect its safe operation. When pipeline maintenance work is needed, EQM Midstream Partners, LP will contact landowners in advance so that they are aware of the activity.
What are some of MVP's safety measures?
The proposed MVP project is being designed with safety as its top priority, adopting design features and operating practices that will exceed already stringent industry and regulatory safety standards. Some of the measures will include:
- Remote controlled shut off valves monitored 24-hours-a-day
- More frequent inspections than are required by law, including regular inspections with highly sophisticated internal inspection tools
- X-raying 100% of pipeline welds
- In certain locations, installing thicker steel pipe than is required by regulations