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Va. county asks for alternative mitigation plan from Mountain Valley pipeline

A Virginia county asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deny developers of the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline project permission to begin work in the area due to a disagreement over a museum exhibit proposed as a mitigation measure.

In a March 23 letter to the commission, an attorney for Montgomery County also requested that FERC order Mountain Valley to continue cooperating with the county over the development of the museum exhibit. Earlier, project developers proposed to fund and help manage the exhibit for the county's North Fork Valley historical district, in partnership with the Montgomery Museum, as mitigation of impacts from the project in the district. The museum and the county claimed that the $25,000 offered by Mountain Valley will not be enough to cover the creation and maintenance of the proposed exhibit.

Besides the initial proposal, the county said, the developer ignored correspondence from the museum detailing that the proposed funds are insufficient for the "staff, equipment and long term management required for such an exhibit," as the museum has "very limited funding, exhibit space and human resources." The museum also recommended an alternative plan.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Harris said Montgomery County, which lies west of Roanoke in southwestern Virginia, is awaiting a response from FERC and has no further comment beyond the letter.

The commission issued an authorizing certificate order for the project in October 2017 and approved partial construction on Jan. 22. The $3.7 billion project would consist of about 300 miles of pipe running from West Virginia to Virginia and three new compressor stations in West Virginia.

The project is a joint venture of EQT Midstream Partners LP, NextEra Energy Inc., RGC Resources Inc., WGL Holdings Inc. and Consolidated Edison Inc. (FERC docket CP16-10)