Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Jefferson National Forest

The Forest Service issued a Record of Decision on December 1, 2017 to modify 11 standards in the Jefferson National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) to allow the Mountain Valley Pipeline Project (MVP Project) to vary from certain restrictions on soil, water, riparian, old growth, and recreation and visual resources and require measures to minimize environmental impacts.

Mitigation measures are required to minimize adverse impacts associated with the project. Mitigation is described in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and in the Plan of Development (POD).  The POD identifies a series of construction plans, procedures, and mitigation measures that would be implemented on National Forest System lands. The POD is required by the Forest Service Plan amendment and is incorporated into the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) right-of-way (ROW) grant.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC obtained authorization from the BLM to construct and operate the MVP Project on federal lands crossed by the project on December 28, 2017. Under the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 185 et seq.) the BLM is the Federal agency responsible for issuing ROW grants for natural gas pipelines across Federal lands under the jurisdiction of two or more Federal agencies. The BLM acquired the written concurrences of the Forest Service and the United States Army Corp of Engineers prior to issuing their authorization. 

This Forest Service decision supports federal policies emphasizing energy infrastructure, jobs, economic growth and our agency’s efforts to provide for multiple use. The decision approves project-specific Forest Plan amendments. The plan amendment provides for the continued social, economic, and ecological sustainability of the Jefferson National Forest; maintains the diversity of plant and animal communities; and supports integrated resource management for multiple use. By applying the required terms, conditions, and mitigation measures outlined in the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the MVP Project is authorized to be implemented without impairing the overall long-term productivity of National Forest System lands.

 

The authorized project-specific standards on the Jefferson National Forest will require the MVP Project to:

  1. vary from restrictions on soil and riparian standards and require mitigation measures to minimize environmental impacts, where measures to minimize impacts to soil and riparian areas are contained in the POD and would be incorporated into the Bureau of Land Management’s ROW grant;

  2. cross underneath the Appalachian National Scenic Trail on the JNF in Giles County, Virginia and on the Peters Mountain in Monroe County, West Virginia at a location where there are not existing impacts;

  3. temporarily vary from Scenic Integrity Objectives (SIOs), but require MVP to attain the existing SIOs within five years after completion of the construction phase by implementing enhanced restoration measures;

  4. clear trees within the construction zone within an area managed for old growth timber; and

  5. utilize a 50-foot-wide ROW within the JNF, but not create a designated  utility corridor.

The Forest Service issued an emergency closure order for the Mountain Valley Pipeline Project right-of-way and access roads on March 19, 2018. The Caldwell Fields Campground on the Eastern Divide Ranger District has been designated as a First Amendment Area. 

For media inquiries or to leave a message, please send an email to GeorgeWashingtonAndJeffersonNationalForests-PublicAffairs@fs.fed.us or leave a voicemail at 1-888-603-0261.

For answers to frequently asked questions about the Mountain Valley Pipeline project visit the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page

Documents

Closure Order for the project right-of-way and access roads

News Release announces Closure Order

Forest Service Final Record of Decision – Mountain Valley Pipeline Special Use Permit/Land Resource Management Plan Amendments

News Release announces final Record of Decision

Frequently Asked Questions on the Final Record of Decision

Forest Service Letter of Concurrence to Grant MVP a right-of-way

Biological Assessment for Mountain Valley Pipeline PDF

Biological Opinion for the Mountain Valley Pipeline PDF

Forest Service Letter of Acceptance of the Biological Evaluation

Objection Response Letter from Reviewing Official

List of Forest Service documents submitted to MVP FERC Docket

 

Links

FERC-Final Environmental Impact Statement for Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC and Equitrans, LP's Mountain Valley Project (Docket #CP16-10)

FERC Certificate

2004 Jefferson National Forest Plan

Mountain Valley Pipeline Plan of Development (POD) and AppendicesLink to documents located on the Bureau of Land Management website