Construction and operation of the proposed MVP Southgate project would have limited impacts that could be reduced to less than significant levels, according to a Draft Environmental Impact Statement recently issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The 421-page report evaluates the project and its potential impacts based off of various sources, including scientific literature, regulatory agency reports, site visits, data from surveys conducted on about 90 percent of the proposed route, and feedback from landowners, state and federal agencies, local officials, tribes and non-governmental associations.
The commission provided these key findings:
- “We reviewed alternatives to Mountain Valley’s proposal based on our independent analysis and comments received. In all cases, we did not find an alternative that would provide a significant environmental advantage over the Project. Based on our findings we conclude that the proposed Project is the preferred alternative that can meet the Project’s stated purpose.” (Page 3-48)
- “We conclude that the surface water mitigation measures proposed by Mountain Valley would adequately avoid or minimize potential impacts on surface water resources. Therefore, we do not anticipate long-term or significant impacts on surface water resources because of construction or operation of the Project.” (Page 5-5)
- “Based on our review of the potential impacts and mitigation measures, including our recommendations, we conclude that constructing and operating the Project would not significantly impact wildlife, terrestrial habitats, migratory birds, or fisheries and aquatic resources.” (Page ES-6)
- “We conclude that Mountain Valley’s compliance with applicable design, construction and maintenance standards, and DOT safety regulations would be protective of public safety.” (Page ES-8)
Since the project was announced in April 2018, the MVP Southgate team has made more than 1,000 adjustments to its route. The majority of those changes have been based on landowner requests, engineering considerations or an effort to avoid sensitive resources, according to the project team.
The release of the DEIS marks a key milestone in the regulatory review of the proposed project. The FERC is accepting public comment on the DEIS until Sept. 16, 2019. The commission will consider submitted comments as it prepares the Final Environmental Impact Statement, which is targeted for release in February 2020.
Comments on the DEIS can be filed under Docket No. CP19-14 through the commission’s eComment system or eFiling system, or by mail to Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Room 1A, Washington, D.C. 20426.
More information about the DEIS public comment meetings hosted by FERC can be found here.