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FERC Denies Rehearing Requests on MVP Certificate in 3-2 Vote

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an Order on Rehearing for the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (Certificate) June 15. Commissioners McIntyre, Chatterjee, and Powelson voted to approve the 156-page order, while Commissioners LaFleur and Glick dissented.

The Commission cited the following procedural issues in denying several of the rehearing requests filed:

  1. Failure to file or late filing of a motion to intervene
  2. Untimely request for rehearing (filed more than 30 days after the Certificate was issued)
  3. Deficient requests for rehearing, for reasons such as a failure to enumerate the specific grounds upon which the request is based, failure to include a separate section entitled “Statement of Issues” that includes precedent relied upon in the request, and the introduction of new evidence for the first time on rehearing “since such practice would allow an impermissible moving target, and would frustrate needed administrative finality.”

The Commission also refuted substantive claims made in requests for rehearing, including but not limited to:

  1. The MVP project does not satisfy the “Public Use” standard of the takings clause
  2. The Commission failed to balance the public need for the project with the harm to landowners and the environment
  3. Concerns about MVP’s use of eminent domain in practice
  4. The issuance of conditional and blanket certificates
  5. Lack of compliance with procedural issues relating to the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including claims that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project did not satisfy NEPA requirements and that the Commission failed to consider reasonable alternatives to the project as proposed
  6. Inadequate consideration of scientific evidence relating to threatened and endangered species, geology of the region, threats to both surface water and groundwater resources, cumulative impacts of the project’s effect on water quality, forest land impacts and mitigation measures
  7. Concerns about impacts to property values and viewsheds
  8. Violation of conservation easement agreements made prior to the proposal of the project
  9. Unresolved issues relating to historic properties
  10. Lack of consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and climate impacts of construction and operation of the project, including the Social Cost of Carbon methodology as a meaningful analysis

Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur — who dissented on the issuance of MVP’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity in October 2017 — and Richard Glick attached dissents to the Commission’s decision. LaFleur reiterated her opposition to the Commission’s earlier finding that the MVP as proposed is in the public interest, expressed concern about the Commission’s response to stakeholders seeking to access additional documents including precedent agreements, and asserted that the Commission should quantify and consider the downstream impacts of greenhouse gas emissions. Glick, who had not been confirmed as a member of the Commission when the MVP Certificate was issued, asserted that the Commission’s Order on Rehearing failed to comply with NGA and NEPA requirements, particularly based on the use of precedent agreements to establish project need and the lack of consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts of the project.

>> FERC Order on Rehearing for the MVP Certificate, with Dissents from LaFleur and Glick