RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The backers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline filed a formal application Friday with federal regulators to build a 300-mile natural gas pipeline from Wetzel County, West Virginia, to Pittsylvania County in Southside, Virginia.
The filing by energy companies behind the $3.2 billion project comes a little over a month after Dominion Resources Inc. filed its application for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. That $5 billion project would total more than 500 miles, also originating in West Virginia and dipping into Virginia and North Carolina.
Both gas pipelines are intended to deliver natural gas from drilling fields in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. A drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing has made accessible vast, deep deposits of natural gas embedded in shale in the Marcellus and Utica deposits.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a joint venture between EQT Midstream Partners and affiliates of NextEra Energy Inc. Dominion is partnering with Duke Energy and other energy companies.
Both pipelines have stirred opposition among landowners along the proposed route of the gas pipeline, spawning protests and lawsuits.
In its filing with FERC, Mountain Valley said it has considered more than 1,000 miles of alternatives and adjustments and made "numerous minor" changes at the behest of property owners. It also cited changes in the route to avoid environmentally sensitive or scenic areas, such as a crossing along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The filing also touted the economic impact of the pipeline and the support of governors in Virginia and West Virginia.
It proposed a 2016 construction start with the pipeline delivering energy by late 2018.
FERC confirmed the filing and will establish a 30-day period for comments.