- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 11, 2018

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline announced plans Wednesday to extend the project currently proposed to carry natural gas through West Virginia and Virginia into North Carolina.

A news release Wednesday laid out plans for an extension called MVP Southgate. The new segment would receive gas from the Mountain Valley Pipeline mainline in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and extend approximately 70 miles (113 kilometers) south to new delivery points in Rockingham and Alamance counties in North Carolina.

PSNC Energy, a natural gas service company, has already signed up for capacity on the Southgate project, and additional customers will also have the chance to subscribe, according to the news release.

PSNC president and chief operating officer, Rusty Harris, said in a statement that its customers benefit from the company having supply diversity.

“This project will help ensure low costs for customers and enhance service reliability,” he said in a statement.

The approximately 300-mile (483-kilometer) Mountain Valley Pipeline has drawn strong opposition from environmental groups, and the new addition is likely to do the same.

“These fracked gas pipelines are dangerous and not necessary for meeting our state’s energy needs. They pollute our air and water, and serve no purpose other than lining the pockets of the polluting corporations that run these dirty projects through our most vulnerable communities,” Joan Walker, Senior Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign, said in a statement about the new project.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline has secured the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The extension will also require approval from that body.

The extension’s targeted in-service date is the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the news release.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a joint venture of a number of energy companies: EQT Midstream Partners; NextEra US Gas Assets; Con Edison Transmission; WGL Midstream; and RGC Midstream. EQT would be the operator of MVP Southgate.

Another large, high-pressure natural gas pipeline is also under construction in the same three states. Tree-clearing is underway for the approximately 600-mile (965-kilometer) Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is being developed by Dominion Energy, Duke Energy and Southern Company.

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