Mountain Valley Pipeline halts Southgate Extension eminent domain proceedings

Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) LLC last week filed a voluntary dismissal of eminent domain proceedings in Alamance, Guilford, and Rockingham counties, NC, regarding its 73-mile Southgate Extension natural gas line. MVP had been seeking eminent domain easements on 70 private properties along the pipeline’s route.

Southgate would carry 900 MMcfd from MVP’s endpoint in Pittsylvania County, Va., to Alamance County, NC, and MVP emphasized in its filing that it “had not abandoned this project.” The company requested that the dismissal be executed without prejudice so that it could pursue eminent domain proceedings against the properties in the future.

MVP says that roughly 80% of Southgate’s has been cleared using voluntary easements. Proceedings remain underway against a small number of properties in southern Virginia.

“As the timing, design, and scope of this project continue to be evaluated, MVP has elected to dismiss this action, believing that to be the appropriate course of action for the time being and a demonstration of its desire to work cooperatively and in good faith with landowners and communities along the pipeline’s route,” said the dismissal motion, filed in US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality denied MVP Southgate’s water quality certification under Clean Water Act Section 401 in August 2020 and reiterated that denial in 2021 (OGJ Online, May 3, 2021). Virginia’s State Air Pollution Control Board denied the required air quality permit for Southgate’s proposed Lambert compressor station in December 2021.

MVP’s 303-mile, 2-bcfd mainline—though 94% complete—still has hundreds of water crossings to complete and is missing multiple federal regulatory approvals. Earlier this year Equitrans Midstream Corp. targeted a second-half 2023 full in-service date for the main pipeline.