(Reuters) - U.S. federal energy regulators approved EQT Midstream Partners LP’s request to proceed with construction along various segments of its $3.5 billion Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia.
The segments include construction in parts of Harrison County, West Virginia and Roanoke County, Virginia, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said in a filing on Monday.
In addition, FERC said it will allow the company to cross the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. The Blue Ridge is a national parkway linking the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee.
In May, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers pulled a permit that authorized the project to discharge dredged and fill materials into several rivers because the permit was at odds with West Virginia environmental rules.
Environmental group the Sierra Club and others alleged violations of the West Virginia rules in an appeal to the Army Corps and a lawsuit that is currently before the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The company has said it believes the Army Corp will reissue the permit but has not received a decision on the issue yet.
A spokeswoman for the company, Natalie Cox, said EQT was still targeting a late 2018 in-service date for the project.
The 303-mile (488-kilometer) pipeline is designed to deliver up to 2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to meet growing demand for the fuel for power generation and other uses in the U.S. Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.
One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to fuel about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.
The project is owned by units of EQT Midstream, NextEra Energy Inc, Consolidated Edison Inc, WGL Holdings Inc and RGC Resources Inc. EQT Midstream will operate the pipeline and owns a significant interest in the joint venture.
In April, the companies said they planned to spend about $350 million to $500 million to extend the pipe about 70 miles from Virginia into North Carolina by the fourth quarter of 2020.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien