Three days after a lawsuit that raised questions about the impact of Mountain Valley Pipeline on endangered species, developers of the pipeline have voluntarily suspended work on parts of the embattled project. It is not clear how much of the 303-mile natural gas pipeline will be affected.
“MVP’s voluntary suspension is not a matter of miles, it is a matter of doing the right thing,” spokeswoman Natalie Cox said in an email. “The voluntary suspension pertains to areas along the route that may potentially have an impact related to the Endangered Species Act; however, MVP expects to continue with construction, where permitted, in other areas along the route,” she said.
In a letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the company said that it has already laid about 238 miles of pipe, and work suspension will have no “material impact” on the number of workers employed, nor does it push back an expected completion date of mid-2020.
The letter also says that the suspension covers “new activities” that could pose a threat to the lives of endangered bats and fish, or potentially destroy their habitat. Most work will be halted on a 75-mile stretch, along watersheds in the counties of Giles, Craig, Montgomery, Roanoke, Franklin, and Pittsylvania. Works on another 20 miles that includes some streams and rivers in West Virginia are halted too.