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US FERC allows Mountain Valley Pipeline to resume construction on most of gas pipeline's route

Washington — The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Wednesday lifted a stop-work order affecting most of the route of the 2 Bcf/day Mountain Valley Pipeline.

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The commission in early August placed much of the work on the 300-mile project on hold, following an appeals court ruling that vacated federal permissions to cross national forest land.

The project would move West Virginia production to downstream markets in Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line's Zone 5 near the Virginia-North Carolina border.

In a letter order Wednesday, FERC said a new determination by the US Bureau of Land Management ended questions about whether a route change would be needed to allow an alternative crossing of the federal land.

BLM found that greater use of existing rights-of-way across federal lands would be impractical.

The FERC letter order kept on hold work in two areas where permits are still needed: a crossing of the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike on lands owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers in Braxton County, West Virginia, and a 25-mile stretch including two watersheds and containing the Jefferson National Forest crossing, in Monroe County, West Virginia, and Giles County, Virginia.

EQT, a lead sponsor of the project, said in a statement it was pleased by the determination and "will soon be able to bring back a significant amount of workers who were temporarily suspended from their duties on the project." -- Maya Weber,

-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,