FERC granted Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Request for Notice to Proceed No. 17 March 27. MVP originally requested the Notice to Proceed March 20. The order allows construction to begin in the following areas:
- Discontiguous portions of pipeline in Giles, Craig, Montgomery, and Roanoke Counties, Virginia
- Three additional temporary workspaces in Lewis County, West Virginia
- One workspace, one access road, and one anode bed in Giles County, VA
- Ten workspaces, five access roads, and one anode bed in Montgomery County, VA
- Fourteen workspaces, five access road, and one anode bed in Roanoke County, VA
NTP No. 17 allows construction to begin within the following segments of historic districts:
- Big Stony Creek Historic District in Giles County, VA between about mileposts 200.2 and 200.5
- North Fork Valley Rural Historic District in Montgomery County, VA between mileposts 226.3 and 228.3
- Bent Mountain Rural Historic District, Bent Mountain Apple Orchard Rural Historic District, and the Coles-Terry Rural Historic District in Roanoke County, VA between mileposts 240.1 and 245.9.
FERC noted that the Treatment Plan for the North Fork Valley Rural Historic District should be modified to address comments filed by Montgomery County March 23, as well as a letter from FERC dated March 13. Additionally, FERC stated that the Treatment Plan for the Bent Mountain Rural Historic District, Bent Mountain Apple Orchard Rural Historic District, and the Coles-Terry Rural Historic District should be revised to show an agreement with Roanoke County “to manage the mitigation funds, or another non-profit partner should be found.” FERC also suggested that MVP “consider increasing the buffer from the Henry-Waldron Cemetery.”
Notice to Proceed No. 17 comes amid numerous objections from landowners and interested parties, specifically related to the new discovery of a Siouan historical site in Roanoke and Franklin Counties, VA.
> MVP Notice to Proceed No. 17
FERC also granted MVP’s Variance Request G-1 March 26. The request was originally filed March 21. and requested a variance for an additional 23.4 acre laydown yard in Monroe County, WV.
> FERC Letter Granting Variance Request G-1
The Greater Newport Rural Historic District is now subject to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Notice to Proceed, authorizing construction activity for Mountain Valley Pipeline in an area designated as one of Virginia’s most endangered historic places. Preservation Virginia described the threat to the district as follows:
Newport Historic District & Greater Newport Rural Historic District
One specific example is in Giles County, where two existing historic districts are threatened by the MVP. Minimization or avoidance of the negative impacts on the historic resources and traditionally agricultural landscape of Giles County is not feasible. The covered bridges and historic structures that lend the district integrity and the continued agricultural pattern of land use in this area would be permanently and irrevocably impacted by the pipeline. Though a National Register of Historic Places listing is mainly honorific, it does trigger a Section 106 review under the National Historic Preservation Act when a federal agency is involved in a project impacting a registered resource. Historic districts are generally to be avoided as part of a proposed project’s Area of Potential Effect (APE).
Like others potentially impacted by the MVP and ACP, local groups in Giles County opposed to the projects such as Preserve Giles County and Preserve Newport Historic Properties, find themselves involved in a flawed public engagement process contrary to Section 106. Consulting party status for appropriate organizations to take part in an exchange of information has been denied. Public meetings held by FERC have not been truly public and have instead relied on one-on-one recorded exchanges. Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) cultural resource survey reports have been difficult to obtain and incomplete or non-existent for sections of the proposed pipeline routes.
Despite intense opposition from conservation groups and Giles County residents, FERC Environmental Project Manager Paul Friedman granted the March 13, 2018 request (Request for Notice to Proceed No. 15), supplemented by a March 14, 2018 filing, for Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC (Mountain Valley) to commence construction of discontiguous portions of its pipeline in Doddridge, Harrison, Monroe, and Nicholas Counties, West Virginia, and Craig, Giles, and Montgomery Counties, Virginia, listed on Attachment A of the request.
In Giles County, MVP may construct within the boundaries of the Greater Newport Rural Historic District between about mileposts 210.8 and 216.9. The Management Summary provided in Attachment B of the request indicated that there would be no on-the-ground cultural resources fieldwork within the Historic District as part of the Treatment Plan, and that all treatment measures, including but not limited to revegetation and preservation of buildings, would be implemented after installation of the pipeline.
Related: The Imminent Pipeline Danger to the Greater Newport Historic District (Roanoke Times).
FERC released two Environmental Compliance Monitoring Program weekly summary reports for the Mountain Valley Pipeline March 14. The reports detail monitoring from the weeks of February 10-17 and February 18-24, filed almost a month after the monitoring itself took place.
Each report includes summaries of Communication Reports, Problem Area Reports, Noncompliance Reports, and Variance Requests, as well as a general progress report.
Environmental Compliance Report: Feb 10-17
For the report covering February 10-17, FERC monitors issued 19 acceptable reports and 14 communication reports while inspected the following activities:
- Spread A – Observed staking of access roads and work areas and hand felling of timber within the first nine miles of the project route in Wetzel County.
- Spread B – Observed survey and non-project related logging activities at MP49.55 and MP 63.6; took pre-construction photographs of sensitive environmental resources and project access roads.
- Spread C – Observed survey, staking, and signage of access roads and boundaries of approved construction; observed wetland and waterbody delineation.
- Spread D – Observed survey and staking of extra workspaces, right-of-way limits, center line, wetlands, and waterbodies.
- Spread E – No activity.
- Spread F – Inspected access roads and environmentally sensitive areas.
- Spread G – Identified and inspected right-of-way road crossings.
- Spread H – No activity.
- Spread I – No activity.
The Compliance Monitors also inspected construction activities at the Harris, Bradshaw, and Stallworth Compressor Stations and Spread C laydown yard.
>> FERC Environmental Compliance Report Feb 10-Feb 17
Environmental Compliance Report: Feb 18-24
For the report covering February 18-24, FERC monitors issued 16 acceptable reports and 11 communication reports while inspecting the following activities:
- Spread A – Observed tree cutting crews and timber felling activities within Spread A.
- Spread B – Identified access roads and took pre-construction photographs of sensitive environmental resources along the project right-of-way.
- Spread C – Observed installation of signage along access roads, survey, and staking of boundaries of approved construction; observed wetland and waterbody delineation; confirmed that a logging company has cleared land near access roads AR-90.1 and AR90.02.
- Spread D – No activity.
- Spread E – No activity.
- Spread F – Followed up on a hunting cabin, water wells, and a potential cultural resource site along access road MVP-MO-214. No additional follow up was required. Verified with the Lead Environmental Inspector access roads for Spread F.
- Spread G – Inspected tree felling (hand felling) activities between Big Stony Creek (MP 202.2) and permanent access road 241.1; located and identified right-of-way crossings and access roads.
- Spread H – Inspected location at MP 246.5 regarding a Level 2 Variance Request to cut eight (8) pine trees outside and adjacent to the limits of disturbance.
- Spread I – Coordinated with Environmental Inspectors; became familiar with project access roads.
The Compliance Monitors also inspected construction activities at the Harris and Stallworth Compressor Stations and the two potential laydown yards on Spread C, as well as laydown yards MVP-LY-030 and MVP-LY-050.
>> FERC Environmental Compliance Report Feb 18-Feb 24
FERC issued Mountain Valley Pipeline Notice to Proceed No. 13 March 12. The Notice, originally requested February 28, allows construction of some pipeline segments in Webster and Summers Counties, West Virginia, and in Giles, Roanoke, and Pittsylvania Counties, Virginia. The Notice also allows construction of certain workspaces in the following quantities and locations:
- 11 additional temporary workspaces in Wetzel County, WV
- 2 workspaces in Harrison County, WV
- 1 workspace in Doddridge County, WV
- 2 workspaces in Fayette County, WV
- 14 workspaces in Summers County, WV
- 5 additional temporary workspaces in Giles County, VA
- 4 workspaces in Roanoke County, VA
- 1 workspace in Pittsylvania County, VA
>> MVP Notice to Proceed No. 13
Mountain Valley Pipeline filed Request for Notice to Proceed No. 14 March 5. The filing was categorized in the FERC Docket as “Supplemental/Additional Information.”
In the filing, MVP requests permission to proceed with construction of pipeline segments in Harrison, Nicholas, Summers, and Monroe Counties, West Virginia, and in Franklin County, Virginia. The Request also includes construction of facilities in Harrison, Doddridge, Lewis, Webster, Nicholas, Summers, and Monroe Counties, WV, as well as Giles, Franklin, and Pittsylvania Counties, VA.
MVP asked that FERC grant the request by March 7, 2018.
>> MVP Request for NTP No. 14
Mountain Valley Pipeline has requested that the FERC Director of the Office of Energy Projects issue a Notice to Proceed with all construction activities for the facilities listed in Attachment A of the request. The company asserts that they have received all permits and authorizations required under federal law to construct the project. Following issuance of the Notice to Proceed, the timing of the actual construction may vary depending upon state permits.
Mountain Valley Pipeline further requested that this Notice to Proceed be issued by March 7, 2018.
The pipeline company also submitted its weekly status report for the prior week indicating that tree felling will continue on Spread A and G. Site construction will also continue at the authorized compressor stations and interconnects in West Virginia. Road construction will continue in West Virginia. Tree Felling activity will commence on Spread F.
According to the report, there are no required schedule changes for waterbody crossings or work in other environmentally sensitive areas. Mountain Valley reported the following landowner complaint:
Issue: Received internal report of tire ruts on access road near entrance to Craig Creek Road. Resolution: Concern future traffic would track sediment onto pavement due to wet soil conditions present on a portion of the access road. Rain was forecasted so out of an abundance of caution “No Access” signs were posted at each entrance to Craig Creek Road. Straw mulch was applied by hand to the rutted area and approximately 60 feet of 12-inch compost filter sock was installed by hand at the edge of the access road between the rutted area and Craig Creek. Spread personnel were instructed the area would be “Drop off only” until further notice.
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