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W.Va. judge refuses to force Mountain Valley gas line protesters out of trees

A West Virginia court refused to remove protesters of the EQT Corp.-led Mountain Valley pipeline who are blocking pre-construction efforts along the path of the 2-Bcf/d natural gas transportation project, The Roanoke (Va.) Times reported.

In a March 20 order, Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Robert Irons denied project developers' request for an injunction to force two protesters out of wooden platforms in trees, the paper reported. The ruling came after Irons changed his mind when an attorney for the protesters claimed the occupied trees were beyond the pipeline's right of way. Mountain Valley has said the protesters are blocking work along the project's route.

The ruling was issued after a March 10 temporary restraining order against the two protesters ended.

FERC authorized the project in a certificate order October 2017 and approved construction work Jan. 22. The 300-mile pipeline would deliver gas from West Virginia to pipeline interconnections in Virginia. The venture is a joint project of EQT Midstream Partners LP, NextEra Energy Inc., RGC Resources Inc., WGL Holdings Inc. and Consolidated Edison Inc. (FERC docket CP16-10)