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Mountain Valley Pipeline defends MVP Southgate expansion against protests

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Mountain Valley Pipeline defends MVP Southgate expansion against protests

Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC told federal regulators that it was not overbuilding as it defended its MVP Southgate natural gas pipeline expansion from protests by two North Carolina agencies and a coalition of environmental groups.

Mountain Valley said in a Jan. 8 motion filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the project is designed to meet growing gas demand in central North Carolina and southern Virginia.

"The project will not create excess gas supply," the pipeline developer wrote. "The project will provide natural gas transportation capacity and access to new supplies in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions to meet demand in the Southeast."

Mountain Valley submitted answers to all protests by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and groups led by Appalachian Mountain Advocates. The North Carolina Utilities Commission said the proposed rates for the project were not properly supported. The environmental groups said the project did not appear to be in the public interest, and in a similar argument, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality said it is not needed and would result in too much pipeline infrastructure in the region.

"The Southgate project would create an excess supply of natural gas," the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality said in a Dec. 10, 2018, letter.

Mountain Valley has applied to FERC for a certificate of public necessity for the expansion project, which is supported by a firm gas transportation service contract of 300,000 Dth/d with SCANA Corp. utility PSNC Energy. Mountain Valley asked the commission to authorize the project by Dec. 1, 2018, to meet its target in-service date of Nov. 1, 2020, as part of an agreement with the customer.

Construction on the nearly 73-mile MVP Southgate pipeline is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2020. It will be operated by EQM Midstream Partners LP. Mountain Valley is a joint venture of EQM Midstream, NextEra Energy Inc., Consolidated Edison Inc., RGC Resources Inc. and WGL Holdings Inc. The project would connect to the mainline of the Mountain Valley pipeline near Chatham, Va., and extend to delivery points in Rockingham and Alamance counties, N.C. Facilities would include new 24- and 16- inch pipeline and a 28,915-horsepower compressor station. (FERC docket CP19-14)