Mountain Valley Pipeline gained another 17 miles Thursday in its quest to complete construction of the natural gas pipeline by the end of next year.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the company’s request to resume work on a stretch of the 303-mile pipeline that passes through Giles and Craig counties, between two sections of the Jefferson National Forest.
In 2018, an appellate court threw out a U.S. Forest Service permit for the buried pipeline to cross 3.5 miles of the forest.
FERC then issued a stop-work order for an approximately 25-mile segment of the pipeline, from where it enters the national forest atop Peters Mountain on the Giles County-West Virginia line, then runs through private property before re-entering a second part of the forest in Montgomery County.
The buffer zone created by FERC was intended to prevent muddy runoff from construction zones on private land from being washed into adjacent federal woodlands.
But in a 2-1 decision Thursday, the commission ruled that Mountain Valley had presented sufficient evidence to show that resuming work on a 17-mile segment of the pipeline on private land would not harm the forest.