CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Mountain Valley Pipeline has gained permission to begin the first steps in its construction process in five West Virginia counties.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sent a letter on Monday signifying that the pipeline project may start construction at six yards and 93 access roads in Wetzel, Harrison, Doddridge, Lewis and Braxton counties.

The work would only be where Mountain Valley Pipeline has already gotten landowner permission for the construction.

MORE: Read the letter from FERC.

The letter reminds Mountain Valley Pipeline that it must comply with all remaining terms and conditions of FERC’s order granting the project’s certificate of public convenience and necessity.

The $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline would extend 42-inch diameter natural gas pipeline over 303 miles  to transport West Virginia natural gas into southern Virginia.

The project would go through Greenbrier, Monroe, Nicholas, Summers, Braxton, Harrison, Lewis, Webster and Wetzel counties.

The pipeline project has been negotiating for access to property along the route. In some cases, though, MVP has gone to court to compel access through eminent domain, stating that the project is considered to be in the public interest.

MVP says it needs access to the property along the route by Feb. 1 to comply with a window for tree clearing required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

If the project can’t meet that deadline, MVP says, construction may be delayed for as much as a year.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, along with the similar but separate Atlantic Coast Pipeline, gained approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in mid-October. One of the commissioners dissented, calling the public interest of the projects into question.

FERC granted Atlantic Coast Pipeline permission to start preliminary aspects of construction this past Friday. The pipeline developers will begin tree felling and vegetation clearing along the path of the route where property owners have granted permission already.

Tree felling will continue through the end of March.

“We will of course notify all landowners before beginning activity on their property,” the company stated in its announcement.

The company says full construction is on track to begin in the spring and completion of the project in late 2019.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would deliver up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of Marcellus shale gas from West Virginia to customers in Virginia and North Carolina every day.

The $5.1 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline would span 600 miles from Harrison County and across Lewis, Upshur, Randolph and Pocahontas counties in West Virginia.

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