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LRH-2015-00592; LRP-2015-798; NAO-2015-0898

Huntington District
Published June 28, 2023
Expiration date: 7/28/2046

Notice of Permit Authorization - Mountain Valley Pipeline Project (LRH-2015-00592-GBR, LRP-2015-798 and NAO-2015-0898)

Subject:  United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Approves Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 Permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline Project (LRH-2015-00592-GBR, LRP-2015-798 and NAO-2015-0898)

On 23 June 2023, the Corps approved the permit request by Mountain Valley Pipeline to discharge dredged and/or fill material into waters of the United States and to work in and under navigable waters of the United States in association with the construction, restoration and maintenance of the Mountain Valley Pipeline project in accordance with Section 324 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. This permit action was conducted by three Corps Districts, which are the Huntington (LRH), Pittsburgh (LRP), and Norfolk (NAO) Districts.  The Huntington District was designated as the Lead District for this project.

Administrative History: On 22 February 2021, the Corps received a Department of the Army permit application from Mountain Valley Pipeline.  The Department of the Army permit application was considered complete on 15 March 2021.  On 29 March 2021, Public Notice (PN) Numbers (Nos.) LRH-2015-00592-GBR, LRP-2015-798 and NAO-2015-0898 announced the applicant’s proposed project and afforded the public, the federal, state, and local agencies and officials, the potentially affected federally recognized Indian Tribes, and other interested parties a 30-day comment period. On 23 April 2021, a subsequent PN was issued to extend the comment period until 28 May 2021. On 30 September 2021, PN Nos. LRH-2015-00592-GBR, LRP-2015-798 and NAO-2015-0898 announced two (2) virtual public hearings to solicit the views of interested persons regarding the permit application submitted by the applicant. On 1 November 2021, a virtual public hearing was held for the interested parties in West Virginia. On 4 November 2021, a virtual public hearing was held for the interested parties in Virginia. On 10 December 2022, PN Nos. LRH-2015-00592-GBR, LRP-2015-798 and NAO-2015-0898 announced refinements to further avoid and minimize impacts to waters of the United States. On 20 December 2022, a subsequent PN was issued to extend the comment period until 10 February 2023 . Subsequently, the PN comment period was extended for an additional 15 days with an expiration date of 25 February 2023.

Project Description: The Mountain Valley Pipeline project will involve the construction of an approximate 304-mile 42-inch natural gas pipeline in Virginia and West Virginia and will include the use of existing access roads, the construction of new access roads, the construction of three (3) compressor stations along the route in West Virginia, as well as the installation of other ancillary facilities that are required for the operation of the pipeline. The Mountain Valley Pipeline project will involve the permanent discharge of dredged and/or fill material into 1,145 linear feet of streams and 0.422 acre of wetlands, the temporary discharge of dredged and/or fill material into 35,554 linear feet of streams and 13.39 acres of wetlands, the temporary discharge of dredged and/or fill material into 3.6965 acres of palustrine forested and palustrine scrub-shrub wetlands resulting in the permanent conversion of 2.43 acres of palustrine forested and 1.27 acres of palustrine scrub-shrub wetlands to palustrine emergent wetlands, and work and/or structures in or under five (5) navigable waters of the United States.

Permit Decision: Evaluation of the Department of the Army permit application has been completed by the three Districts. The decision to issue a Department of the Army permit is based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the proposed activity on the public interest. Evaluation of the probable impacts which the activity may have on the public interest requires a careful weighing of many factors which may include: conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

The benefits which reasonably may be expected to accrue from any proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. The decision to approve this Department of the Army permit, and the conditions under which it will be allowed to occur, were determined by the outcome of this general balancing process. That decision reflects the national concern for both the protection and the utilization of important resources.

The Corps diligently worked on the permitting of the Mountain Valley Pipeline project for a substantial period of time. Since the applicant’s submission of an Individual Permit application in March of 2021, the Corps has been evaluating and addressing over 18,000 public comments it received prior to the enactment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, which occurred on 3 June 2023.  The Corps followed all the requirements of Section 324 of the Fiscal Responsibility of Act of 2023,  National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines, Section 10 of Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, Public Interest Review, Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.  The Corps’ processing of this permit has been delayed many times due to several factors, which include, but are not limited to:  the issuance of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Biological Opinion, court rulings on the validity of the States of Virginia and West Virginia Clean Water Section 401 Water Quality Certifications, the reissuance of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification on 8 June 2023, as well as other Federal and state authorizations in order to permit the Mountain Valley Pipeline project.  

For more information, contact the Huntington District at 304-399-5210 or visit our website: www.lrh.usace.army.mil.