Gas flowing through the Mountain Valley Pipeline

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Mountain Valley Pipeline, which received final approval to operate earlier this week from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, began operations Friday transporting natural gas from northern West Virginia southeast to eastern markets.

“After 10 years of hard work, unprecedented regulatory oversight, & billions of dollars into #WV, the Mountain Valley Pipeline is officially online,” U.S. Senator Joe Manchin posted on X.

Manchin joined Tom Karam, executive chairman of Equitrans Midstream, and Toby Rice, president and CEO of EQT in Charleston Friday to celebrate MVP beginning operations.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito described Friday’s development as a significant win for West Virginia and American energy as a whole.

Shelley Moore Capito

“After receiving all the necessary permits and approvals from both Republican and Democrat administrations, overcoming needless delays by courts and climate activists, this critical project is in now in service and can begin to deliver needed energy to markets up and down the Atlantic coast,” Capito said in a statement. “This entire process took a lot of perseverance, and I’m glad we fought every step of the way to help the Mountain Valley Pipeline come to fruition, which will benefit workers and consumers for years to come.”

First District Congresswoman Carol Miller also celebrated the pipeline going online.

“The pipeline will be a reliable source of energy when our nation needs it most. Because of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, domestic energy production will increase and energy prices for Americans will decrease while improving the United States’ national security. This is a great victory for West Virginia and the United States, and I will always advocate for American energy production,” Miller said.

Carol Miller

MVP is a 303.5-mile interstate natural gas pipeline crossing nine West Virginia counties — Greenbrier, Monroe, Nicholas, Summers, Braxton, Harrison, Lewis, Webster and Wetzel — to transport natural gas to East Coast markets.

The project was first proposed in 2014, and the original in-service target date was 2018 at a cost of $3.5 billion.

The cost of the frequently-delayed pipeline project went up yet again, from the $7.6 billion estimated earlier this year to now about $7.85 billion.

Battles in the courtroom and through regulation extended that timeline by years and the cost by billions.

The interim director of a leading environmental group in the state said earlier this week the risks with MVP continue to outweigh the benefits.

“This pipeline crossed thousands of rivers and streams, damaging our water resources in the process. The project is far from final restoration when hillsides continue to slip, people lack clean well water, agricultural lands are damaged and streams are clogged with sediment,” said Autumn Crowe, interim executive director of West Virginia Rivers Coalition.

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