Master List of MVP Variance Requests Through FERC

This post contains a running spreadsheet of all variances requested by MVP through the FERC docket, most recently updated December 18, 2019.

Formally Requested Variances

MVP has made numerous variance requests through formal filings in the FERC docket. The first page of the spreadsheet contains the following information on each request of this sort:

  • Title of the variance request
  • Date request was submitted (and revised, if applicable)
  • Associated request documents
  • Summary of the request
  • Date approved by FERC
  • Associated approval document

Some fields in the spreadsheet may need to be expanded to be viewed. Requests highlighted in green on this sheet have not yet been approved by FERC or are missing approval documentation.

In-the-Field Variances

Additionally, MVP has been obtaining in-field variances, approved by FERC’s Environmental Compliance Monitors and Managers. Those approvals are included in the Environmental Compliance Monitoring Reports, which each cover weekly reports from the Monitors and are often posted to the FERC docket several weeks after the monitoring period concludes. Another page of the spreadsheet has been added to reflect these approvals made in the field, and contains the following information:

  • Environmental Compliance Monitoring Report period, with link to associated approval document
  • Variance request number
  • Categorization of the variance, either
    • Level 1: Reviewed and approved or denied by the Compliance Monitors. These requests must be within the approved workspace or of like use and are for site-specific, minor, performance-based changes to Project specifications or mitigation measures that provide equal or better protection to environmental resources.
    • Level 2: Reviewed and approved or denied by the Compliance Manager. These requests involve Project changes that would affect an area outside of the previously approved work area, but within the corridor previously surveyed for cultural resources, sensitive species, sensitive resources, etc.
  • Construction spread (some with nearest associated milepost)
  • Date the request was received by compliance monitors
  • Description of the request as listed in the report
  • Date the request was approved by compliance monitors
  • Date ECM report was filed on FERC docket

Date ranges highlighted in green are those with no associated ECM Reports found on the FERC docket as of the most recent update. ECM Reports highlighted in blue have no associated variance requests.

>> View the full spreadsheet here <<

A report based on this spreadsheet and contextual information was prepared and submitted to the offices of Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine on November 12, 2019.

POWHR’s 11/12/2019 Variance Report to Senators Warner and Kaine

Environmental hydrologist Dr. Jacob Hileman conducted some analysis on the variance requests submitted, and incorporated his findings in an op-ed published in the Virginia Mercury.

Dr. Hileman’s 7/15/2019 piece in the Virginia Mercury

Formal Variances Per Spread

  • Spread A: 39
  • Spread B: 17
  • Spread C: 10
  • Spread D: 15
  • Spread E: 5
  • Spread F: 7
  • Spread G: 5
  • Spread H: 6
  • Spread I: 9
  • Compressor Station/Interconnect Sites: 5
  • Route-wide Variances: 14
  • Jefferson National Forest Variances: 2

Variances of Note


Date Requested: March 27, 2018

Date Approved: March 27, 2018

The Request: This variance is to clarify the General Blasting Plan. The following is a list of the changes MVP made to their General Blasting Plan, originally drafted and approved April 2016. Quoted changes within context are underlined:

  • Blasting Specifications: Blasting for pipeline facilities grade or trench excavation, compressor station and interconnect site development will be considered only after all other reasonable means of excavation have been evaluated and determined to be unlikely to achieve the required results.
  • Blasting Requirements, General Provisions: The Contractor shall be responsible for supplying explosives and blasting materials that are perchlorate-free in order to eliminate the potential for perchlorate contamination of ground water, except that detonators containing non-combined amounts of perchlorate, such as Dyno Nobel NONEL EZ Det or equivalent, are an industry standard and shall be permitted. Further, while the use of bulk ammonium nitrate is prohibited, the use of emulsion type explosives, including those having ammonium nitrate as a constituent, such as Dyna 1062 Bulk Emulsion or equivalent, shall be permitted, as these types of explosives are considered industry standard for area blasting related to large scale earthwork construction.
  • MVP Project Contacts and Related Permitting Prior to Blasting (Table 7.1.1): MVP added contact information for the West Virginia Fire Marshall, which requires a permit and notification before blasting occurs
  • Storage Use at Sites: MVP added a provision that Contractors “shall maintain a daily and/or blast inventory record of all explosive materials transported, used, and returned to off-site storage, when no storage is located on the blast site.”
  • Pre-Blast Operations: Dyno Nobel 1062 Bulk Emulsion (or equivalent) was added to the list of explosive and initiation system types that can be used. The substance is described as “an emulsion/gel product commonly used for area blasting such as road alignments or large pads. It contains the following major components: ammonium nitrate (30 to 80% w/w, calcium nitrate, sodium nitrate, and No. 2 diesel fuel (1 to 8% w/w).”

Other Notes: Those subscribing to the FERC eSubscription system for the MVP docket received notification of MVP’s request at 9:51am, then received notice of FERC’s approval of the request at 1:01pm the same day; this could be the fastest turnaround within the FERC’s MVP docket to date.

Variances to Tree Felling Restrictions in the Jefferson National Forest

Date Requested: April 23, 2018 and June 8, 2018

Date Approved: April 23, 2018 and June 11, 2018

The Request: MVP requested on two occasions that the deadline for tree clearing on U.S. Forest Service property be extended beyond the original deadline of March 31. The company indicated that the request was granted by other relevant agencies, and would be in compliance with the FEIS for the following reasons:

  • The affected area is very small;
  • Unforeseen circumstances necessitate an extension;
  • All other federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, approved the request;
  • No impacts to migratory birds are expected;
  • The variance would be consistent with the Biological Opinion on bats;

MVP said the work on the remaining 0.31 acres of forest land could not be completed “due to the actions of obstructionists,” referring to the various aerial blockades erected by forest protectors that prevented work. MVP requested that the variance be approved “as soon as possible,” and FERC approved the first request the same day, extending the deadline for tree cutting in the Jefferson National Forest to May 31, 2018. FERC approved the second request three days after it was made, extending the deadline further to July 31, 2018.


Date Requested: June 7, 2018

Date Approved: July 24, 2018

The Request: Route-wide request to further define the hours when construction activities will generally occur project-wide by using the FAA definition of “night” based on civil twilight times. As such, MVP proposes that activities generally take place 7am to 7pm, with exceptions made for construction of aboveground facilities, where work will be conducted from start times listed in Attachment A — as early 5:28am in June — until 10pm. The request notes additional exceptions for activities “including 24-hour drilling for HDD or bores, 24-hour work at compressor stations (as approved by FERC), extended work to comply with stream crossing time requirements, extended work due to upcoming inclement weather, extended work to resolve a safety issue, hydrostatic testing, tie-ins, and other similar circumstances.”


Date Requested: September 19, 2018

Date Approved: September 24, 2018

The Request: Route-wide request to further the distance between wildlife escape ramps in the trench for all areas outside the Jefferson National Forest. MVP indicates in the request that the 50-foot distance between wildlife ramps indicated in the FEIS for the Jefferson National Forest was not intended to apply for the entire route, and asks the distance between ramps be extended to no greater than 1/2-mile in West Virginia and 1/10-mile in Virginia.


Date Requested: September 21, 2018

Date Approved: September 25, 2018

The Request: Request to update two project plans: the Vertical Scour and Lateral Channel Erosion Analyses and the Traffic and Transportation Management Plan. Changes to the plans are highlighted in yellow within the request.

Specifically, MVP indicates that the Vertical Scour and Lateral Channel Erosion Analyses were only “a theoretical desktop analysis and did not take site specific constructibility issues (elevations, terrain, and workspace) into account.” As a result, crews determined that the mitigation measures indicated in the plan could not be implemented as described. MVP also revised the central point of command noted in the Traffic and Transportation Management Plan.


Date Requested: September 25, 2018

Date Approved: September 27, 2018

The Request: Request for extended work hours at 44 stream crossings in West Virginia in order to comply with condition set forth in the State’s approval of the Nationwide 12 permit requiring stream crossings be completed in 72 hours or less.

Other Notes: This variance was requested and approved before the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that neither the Army Corps of Engineers nor the State of West Virginia could waive the 72-hour requirement — Special Condition C — and thus vacated the authorization of MVP under the Corps’ Nationwide 12 Permit in the Huntington District. The Corps subsequently suspended the same authorizations in the Norfolk and Pittsburgh Districts, preventing MVP from crossing any streams or wetlands on the route. The permit has not yet been fully reinstated.


Date Requested: October 2, 2018

Date Approved: October 17, 2018

The Request: Request to update Attachment IP-13b (sheet detail from erosion control plan for West Virginia that includes seed mixes) that was submitted as part of the Implementation Plan. MVP notes that, in the process of restoring some areas in West Virginia, some seed mixes noted in the plan are unavailable or “have prohibitive lead times.” As a result, MVP developed a mix of native and non-native (but non-invasive) seed mixes including switchgrass and annual ryegrass.

B-31 & MVP-014

Date Requested: May 16, 2019 & June 11, 2019

Date Approved: May 17, 2019 & June 14, 2019

The Request: B-31 was a request to change the method for crossing six streams and one wetland in Lewis County, WV from an open dry cut method to a conventional bore. MVP-014 was a request to change the method for crossing twelve streams and one wetland in several counties along the route from an open dry cut method to either a conventional bore or a direct pipe method. MVP asserts that these changes can be made without the need for a water crossing permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers, which was vacated by the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals since October 2018 and prevented MVP from constructing across regulated streams and wetlands. 

Other Notes: FERC approved all the crossing method changes requested except for S-I28 (Meadow River) and S-L26 (UNT to Meadow River) in Greenbrier County, WV from an open dry cut to a direct pipe method, indicating that the requests for those two crossings “is not approved at this time.” Request MVP-014 was approved June 14 along with Request A-43, but was not labeled as such in the FERC docket.

Update: MVP filed a supplement to their request MVP-014 July 24, in which the company detailed the direct pipe method proposed on the two as-yet-unapproved crossings. Included in this supplement were construction plans for the new method dated September 25, 2018. FERC approved the remainder of the requested crossings July 26.

FERC Approves Variance Requests F-1 and G-2

FERC approved two of Mountain Valley Pipeline’s most recent variance requests April 3 and 4. MVP originally made the requests March 27.

In the April 3 approval for the new Trinity-Beckley Yard in Raleigh County, WV, FERC included the following provisions:

  1. Overnight parking, refueling, and equipment maintenance are permitted within 100 feet of wetlands and waterbodies only if the Environmental Inspector determines that there is no reasonable alternative and with appropriate steps taken to prevent and respond to spills (including secondary containment) per our Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures (Procedures) Section IV.A.1.d;
  2. The channel for waterbody S-CV31 ends, however the water does continue to sheet flow downhill. The portion of waterbody S-CV31 that turns into sheet flow meets the definition of a FERC waterbody (perceptible flow) and will need to be treated as a waterbody;
  3. The variance request indicates no bat portals have been identified near MVP-LY-050. Therefore, trees may be cleared until May 31. No tree clearing can occur from June 1 through July 31.

FERC Letter Granting Variance Request F-1

In the April 4 approval of an additional laydown yard in Giles County, VA, FERC simply stated that the plan for the new 14.8 acre yard was in compliance with Environmental Condition No. 5 of the FERC Certificate for MVP.

FERC Letter Granting Variance Request G-2

MVP Requests Variances F-1, G-2, and Bradshaw-3 in Raleigh, Giles, Wetzel Counties

Mountain Valley Pipeline requested two variances March 27.

The first, labeled as F-1, seeks approval of an additional laydown yard in Raleigh County, WV. Aside from this request, Raleigh County is not impacted directly by any portion of the pipeline. Based on the alignment sheets attached to the request, the proposed laydown yard is located next to Interstate 64 and would cover 21.09 acres.

According to the request, a contractor working for MVP already owns the land in question.

To prepare the site for MVP use, the land would need to be graded to form a flat surface, and a few trees in one corner of the property would need to be cleared.

MVP included the following attachments with Variance Request F-1:

  1. Alignment Sheet of the site in question
  2. Cultural Resources Report
  3. Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species Report
  4. Stream and Wetland Delineation Report

The second variance requested by MVP March 27, labeled as G-2, seeks approval of a laydown yard in Giles County, VA along US Highway 460. The proposed laydown yard would cover 14.84 acres.

MVP states they will put a construction safety fence along the boundaries of the laydown yard in the vicinity of the existing businesses, as well as maintain a speed limit of 10 mph to “ensure the safety of the public in this area.” MVP also noted the entire site would need to be graded for use and the surface would be rocked.

MVP included the following attachments with Variance Request G-2:

  1. Alignment Sheets of the site in question
  2. Resource Map
  3. Cultural Resource Concurrence
  4. Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species Report
  5. Stream and Wetland Delineation Report
  6. Landowner Exhibit (labeled as Privileged)

>  MVP Variance Requests F-1 and G-2: Laydown Yards in Raleigh Co, WV and Giles Co, VA

On March 29, MVP filed a clarification to Variance Request F-1, indicating they were mistaken in stating that additional trees would need to be felled as a result of the variance.

MVP Variance Request F-1 (Clarification)

MVP filed an additional variance request March 29, seeking permission for additional temporary workspaces in proximity to the Bradshaw Compressor Station site in Wetzel County, WV.

MVP cited the following reason as the need for the variance:

A natural slip of the hillside was occuring adjacent to the Bradshaw Compressor Station access road. Construction crews need to access two additional work spaces at the location of the slip (approx. 200′ x 135′ and 230′ x 315′), to repair and stabilize the hillside.

MVP included the following attachments with Variance Request Bradshaw-3:

  1. Resource Map
  2. Cultural Resource Concurrence
  3. Stream and Wetland Delineation Report

MVP Variance Request Bradshaw-3: Slip Repair

FERC approved the variance request March 30.

FERC Letter Granting Variance Request Bradshaw-3

FERC Grants NTP No. 16, Approves Variance Request C-1

FERC approved Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Request for Notice to Proceed No. 16 March 22, only two days after the request was filed.

The Notice to Proceed allows the construction of discontiguous portions of the pipeline in Monroe County, West Virginia. Additionally, the notice allows construction at one additional temporary workspace (ATWS) and one access road in Summers County, WV, as well as three ATWS and two access roads in Monroe County, WV.

MVP Notice to Proceed No. 16

FERC also approved MVP’s request for variance C-1 March 23. The variance was originally requested March 19 and shifts a portion of the pipeline route in Braxton County, WV to avoid a bat portal labeled as PS-WV3-Y-1.

The original request did not appear in the public FERC docket because the request itself was labeled as “Privileged” upon filing. FERC’s eLibrary system still does not allow access to the original request.

FERC Letter Granting Variance Request C-1

MVP Requests Two Variances in West Virginia

Mountain Valley Pipeline filed documents March 21 requesting two variances in West Virginia. MVP requested that the variances be approved by March 22.

>> Letter: MVP Variance Requests G-1 & Bradshaw-1

One variance request (G-1) seeks FERC approval of an additional laydown yard in Monroe County, WV. Currently, the site in question is being used for cultivated crops. The site also contains an non-specific cultural resource, which MVP states they will avoid and protect with a safety fence.

“All streams and wetlands will be avoided as well as indicated on the erosion and sediment control drawing,” the request states. “The entire site will be graded as needed for a flat surface and graveled. A topsoil stockpile location has been designated on the alignment sheet.

MVP included the following attachments to the variance request. Those labeled “Privileged” were not published in the FERC docket.

  1. Alignment Sheets
  2. Cultural Resource Report (PRIVILEGED)
  3. Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species Report — simply states there were no rare, threatened, or endangered species found on site based on a survey performed December 6, 2017.
  4. Stream and Wetland Delineation Report — during surveys performed July 6, September 12, and December 7 in 2017, Tetra Tech identified four palustrine emergent (PEM) wetlands and one perennial stream within the survey area.
  5. Landowner Exhibit (PRIVILEGED)

MVP plans to use the space, if the variance is granted, as a laydown yard for contractor parking, construction trailers, equipment and pipe storage, fuel storage, and equipment maintenance. A 500 gallon fuel tank will be located on site at a location indicated on the attached alignment sheets.

The request states, “MVP will not park, refuel, or maintain equipment within 100-feet of the delineated wetlands.”

The access road that would be required to enter the property would cross a stream and a wetland.

>> MVP Variance Request: Monroe Co, WV Laydown Yard

The second request (Bradshaw-1) seeks variance to perform 24-hour construction at the Bradshaw Compressor Station site in Wetzel County, WV. MVP asks that this variance be granted until May 31, 2018 “in order to complete grading and site preparation activities.”

“It is not anticipated that this variance will cause adverse impacts to resources or nearby noise receptors,” MVP said in the filing.

Attached to the filing is a “Bradshaw Compressor Station Nighttime Construction Noise Evaluation,” sent in the form of a technical memorandum January 19 to MVP  from Texas-based consulting firm SLR International Corporation. The technical memorandum indicates that, adjusted for use percentage of each piece of equipment, the decibel range for individual pieces of equipment used on site overnight is 62-89 dBA.

The commissioned report concluded:

“SLR has updated the noise model for the Bradshaw Compressor Station with the proposed nighttime construction activities. A conservative estimate of the potential sound levels due to the nighttime contributions from the rock crusher, excavators, bulldozers, light plants, generators, and dump truck traffic has been added to the noise model. Even with the conservative assumptions incorporated in the noise model, nighttime construction is predicted to contribute less than 55 dBA Ldn and less than a nighttime level of 48.6 dBA Leq at the nearby NSAs.”

>> MVP Variance Request Bradshaw Compressor Staton: 24hr Construction


MVP filed a revision to Variance Request G-1 March 22. The filed revision only included new copies of the alignment sheets included with the original request. The alignment sheets, prepared by Holland Engineering, indicate that the revision made was “notched out around MVP-STR-970.”

>> Revision to MVP Variance Request: Monroe Co, WV Laydown Yard

MVP Requests Route Variance in Braxton Co, WV

Mountain Valley Pipeline filed with FERC March 19 requesting approval of a route variance in Braxton County, WV. The parcels in question are situated between mileposts 74.6 and 74.7.

The application indicated that the variance is located within 50 feet of a water body. MVP provided a brief description explaining that the variance is being requested in order “to avoid impacts to identified bat hibernaculum,” indicating that “Resources have been avoided to the extent practicable” and “BMPs will be installed to minimize impacts to any Environmentally Sensitive Areas within/abutting the area.”

To enact the variance, MVP will be required to clear 3.8 acres of trees.

MVP included in the request three attachments. Attachment 1 is the alignment sheet associated with the variance, while Attachments 2 and 3 were not included with the public filing, as they were considered “privileged” information. In a brief comment on the attachments, MVP indicated that a Concurrence for the Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species Report was submitted to the US Fish and Wildlife Service on March 14, and approval “will be obtained from the USFWS through a modification to the Biological Opinion.”

MVP asked that FERC approve the variance by March 20.

>> MVP Route Variance Request Filed 3/19/18