Environmentalists Say Southgate Extension To The Mountain Valley Pipeline Should Start Over
Environmental groups are asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to require the company proposing the Southgate pipeline to start over in justifying its proposed fossil gas pipeline extension into North Carolina.
Recently, FERC extended the permit deadline for completion of the Southgate extension until 2026. Citizen groups strongly objected the pipeline. “FERC’s decision disregards the tens of thousands who weighed in asking for denial of the certificate extension” said Ridge Graham, NC program manager for Appalachian Voices. “Granting MVP Southgate more time to potentially endanger communities and water resources is appalling.” But citizen groups weren’t the only ones to oppose the deadline extension. Governor Cooper, Congressional and state legislators, as well as local leaders, all strongly opposed the extension.
Plans For The Pipeline
After receiving the extension, the corporation seeking to build Southgate immediately filed major proposed changes in the design and scope of the project. Under the new proposal, the corporation would significantly shorten the Southgate pipeline (an extension of the Mountain Valley Pipeline), but expand the pipeline’s diameter. Congressional Representative Kathy Manning (D-NC6), who represents much of the predicted impacted area in North Carolina, also wants the new review by FERC.
“They’re trying to bring in way more gas on it, using a bigger pipe, which is going to have different impacts and concerns. We don’t even know where the gas is going to end up anymore, and we don’t know what it’s going to be used for anymore,” noted Ridge Graham, North Carolina program manager for the group Appalachian Voices.
“With a bigger pipeline like they’re proposing for this, there’s risks of leak, risks of explosions, impact to waterways from construction,” Graham stressed. “Anybody that lives near there, anybody that goes there, visits nearby or commutes through there for work or any other reason to see family, all of those people will be impacted by this project.”
The MVP Southgate Extension represents another bad example of the climate, environmental, and social justice ills posed by the rush to expand fossil gas infrastructure. FERC should take this opportunity to reconsider its approval.