Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Jefferson National Forest
The Mountain Valley Pipeline project is a proposed natural gas pipeline owned by Mountain Valley, LLC spanning approximately 303.5 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia.
Interstate natural gas pipelines are authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Under the Mineral Leasing Act, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management is responsible for issuing federal lands right-of-way permits for interstate pipelines that cross more than one Federal agency jurisdiction. The MVP project crosses multiple jurisdictions, including lands administered by the Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
On May 15, 2023, the Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, signed a Record of Decision to amend the Jefferson National Forest Plan to allow the use and occupancy of National Forest System lands by Mountain Valley, LLC to construct and operate a buried 42-inch interstate natural gas pipeline that would cross National Forest System lands on the Jefferson National Forest along a proposed 3.5-mile corridor.
- December 1, 2017: The Forest Service issued the first Record of Decision (ROD) for the MVP project to amend the Jefferson National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan). This ROD tiered to FERC’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the MVP project.
- Spring 2018: Mountain Valley LLC cleared trees along the 3.5 miles of the Right-of-Way on the JNF and began constructing the pipeline on a 1.8-mile section of the JNF.
- July 2018: The MVP project received a ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that vacated Forest Service decision and associated authorizations. All construction was stopped.
- May 28, 2020: The Forest Service prepared the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the MVP project in response to a revised Right-of-Way application deemed complete by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
- January 11, 2021: The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a second ROD to amend the Forest Plan. The ROD was issued after reviewing the Final SEIS that addressed new information and changed circumstances, as well as the Fourth Circuit Court’s 2018 ruling.
- January 25, 2022: the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion which concluded portions of the decision to amend the Forest Plan in response to the proposed MVP project failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Forest Management Act. Once again, the Court vacated the decision and remanded to the Forest Service to remedy the issues identified by the Court.
- Fall 2022: The Forest Service began preparation of a SEIS for the MVP project in response to a revised right-of-way application deemed complete by the BLM on August 5, 2022.
- The Notice of Availability for the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was published in the Federal Register on December 22, 2022, and a 45-day comment period began on December 23, 2022. A 15-day extension was authorized, and the 60-day comment period ended on February 21, 2023.
- The Notice of Availability for the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was published in the Federal Register on April 14, 2023. The Record of Decision is expected to be available in mid-May 2023.
- The Record of Decision was issued on May 15, 2023.
- On July 3, 2023, the BLM issued MVP a Notice to Proceed allowing the start of construction activities.
- On July 10, 2023, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed construction. The Forest Service then issued a Stop Work Order to MVP.
- On July 27, the Supreme Court of the United States vacated the Fourth Circuit’s stay ruling. The Forest Service then rescinded the Stop Work Order and construction activities resumed.
Closure orders to protect public safety in the construction area can be found here.
Current documents for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project are available here on the project page.