The Roanoke Times reported Jan. 22 that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval was limited to work on access roads and construction yards in West Virginia.
The federal government has approved preliminary construction for parts of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia. The 300-mi. natural gas pipeline would also run through parts of southwestern Virginia if it's fully approved.
The Roanoke Times reported Jan. 22 that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval was limited to work on access roads and construction yards in West Virginia. But it marked the first time the line met all requirements for preliminary construction anywhere along its proposed route.
FERC has yet to take a similar action for the Virginia section. It would pass through the Roanoke and New River valleys.
The preliminary green light was a step backward for pipeline opponents in Virginia. Legal challenges are pending. And at least two state agencies have yet to sign off on it.
But Mountain Valley isn't the only pipeline project to receive recent federal approval:
A $1.1 billion pipeline designed to bring Marcellus Shale natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania to New Jersey has received federal approval, although the project lacks important permits in New Jersey.
PennEast Pipeline Company spokeswoman Patricia Kornick said Jan. 22, that she anticipates construction on the roughly 120-mi. pipeline will begin this year and take about seven months. The FERC gave approval to the PennEast pipeline Friday over the protests of environmental groups, who say it would irreversibly damage the landscape.
The pipeline is designed to deliver enough natural gas to serve nearly 5 million homes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
However, Kornick couldn't immediately say whether construction will begin before the project receives pollution-control permits in New Jersey designed to protect wetlands and waterways. The pipeline consortium plans to apply.