EQM Midstream Partners (EQM), principal owner of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project, has proposed a land swap with the federal government to allow the MVP to cross the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (Trail). The proposal was revealed in a June 17 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SCC). The proposal was been made to the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture (which includes the U.S. Forest Service) under an existing provision of federal law permitting such land swaps in certain instances. The proposal would:
grant the Federal Government full ownership of private lands that are crossed by and would benefit the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (Trail), including certain private land located adjacent to the Jefferson National Forest. In exchange, the applicable federal agencies would grant the MVP Joint Venture an easement and right-of-way to cross the Trail using MVP Joint Venture’s previously planned underground crossing method at Mountain Valley Pipeline’s (MVP) existing crossing location that was approved in 2017 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Land Exchange Proposal is subject to the approval of the respective agencies and will be reviewed by such agencies under land exchange procedures.
In the same filing with the SCC, EQM also announced that it “now expects a mid-2020 full in-service date for the MVP project at an overall project cost of $4.8 – 5.0 billion, excluding allowance for funds used during construction. EQM is expected to fund approximately $2.4 billion of the overall project cost.”
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (ACP, LCC) is also faced with its project crossing the Appalachian Trail and has been prevented from doing so by a decision of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which the company has indicated it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. It has until next Tuesday, June 25, to file that appeal.