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Key Natural Gas Pipeline Wins Final Permit

A natural gas pipeline that would bring affordable energy to customers in the Mid- and South Atlantic regions of the U.S. got its final permit late last week, according to E&E News’ ENERGYWIRE (subscription).

What’s going on: On Friday the planned 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline—set to run from West Virginia to southern Virginia—received its water crossing permit, which will allow developers to build the project across rivers and streams in accordance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

  • The permit was part of the debt-ceiling deal signed earlier this month by President Biden
  • Construction of the MVP, the only large pipeline project currently being built in Appalachia, has been paused for more than a year because of legal battles, according to another ENERGYWIRE (subscription) story.

Why it’s important: The granting of the water crossing permit—which comes more than five years after the pipeline’s initial approval—is a step forward for permitting reform.

  • The approvals process for critical infrastructure in the U.S. takes far longer than it does in other countries that have comparable environmental regulations, NAM Vice President of Energy & Resources Policy Brandon Farris told Congress at a recent hearing.
  • This lag needlessly delays—or worse, drives overseas—critical infrastructure, Farris said.

Manufacturers act: Last week the NAM, along with members of the NAM’s Council of Manufacturing Associations and Conference of State Manufacturers Associations, launched Manufacturers for Sensible Regulations, a coalition aimed at speeding up the  permitting process and addressing the large volume of regulations being handed down by the federal government.

What’s next for MVP: The MVP has approximately four to five months of construction remaining. It could begin service this year or in early 2024, according to one estimate.

  • To finish construction, the project will require the permission of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which “must still validate that the project has all their permits,” ENERGYWIRE reports.
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