The Mountain Valley Pipeline [MVP] Would Be Out-of-Place in VA & WV

by Duane Nichols on July 24, 2021

MVP Involves Environmental Violations in WV & VA

THE “WHOLE STORY” of the Mountain Valley Pipeline

From a Submitted Essay by Thomas Hadwin, Roanoke Times, July 18, 2021

I have read with interest the various community opinions about the Mountain Valley Pipeline. As a former electric and gas utility executive, I am very familiar with the challenges involved in creating the energy facilities we need at a reasonable cost and with the least possible disruption to our environment.

So far, MVP’s record of environmental protection has not been good. They have been cited for hundreds of permit violations and fined $2.7 million. Construction in the areas with the greatest potential for landslides, soil erosion and stream crossing impacts has not yet occurred.

In their June 30 opinion column, Cline Brubaker and Bob Camicia, former Franklin County Supervisors, argue that if the MVP were finished, the Summit View Business Park could draw new businesses and jobs to the area, benefitting the region and making a certain amount of environmental disruption acceptable.

Choosing between protecting our water, heritage and property rights versus increased economic activity is a false choice based on incomplete information.

The former supervisors said the MVP could be tapped “at no cost to residents.” This is probably accurate in the context of the way the connection was presented to the Franklin County Board of Supervisors, but it does not reflect the cost to Roanoke Gas customers.

Roanoke Gas told the Virginia energy regulator that Franklin County could obtain gas service with a connection to its existing supplier East Tennessee Gas. This extension would cost about $37 million for 40 or more years of service. Connecting to the MVP, which was routed through the Summit View Industrial Park, would cost just $6.5 million.

It looks like MVP is the better choice, but an important detail was left out. Roanoke Gas committed to pay the MVP $122 million over 20 years to reserve a small amount of capacity on the pipeline, based on the current estimated cost of $6.2 billion for the MVP. Two such contracts would be needed to equal the 40 years of service from East Tennessee. The gas is purchased separately.

Connecting to its existing supplier would save over $200 million compared to using the MVP. Such a connection could have been accomplished years ago and the added economic development would already be occurring.

Why didn’t it happen that way? My guess is that RGC Resources, the company that owns Roanoke Gas, wanted to make a bigger profit. They will receive about $211 million in revenues over the first 20 years as an owner of the MVP. RGC’s 1% share of MVP taxes, financing and operating costs would be deducted from those revenues.

It is claimed the MVP is required for us to have the gas we need. That is untrue. Existing pipelines in the region have expanded by more than twice the amount the MVP would provide. EQT, the nation’s largest gas producer, is responsible for about two-thirds of the capacity of the MVP. This requires them to pay over $620 million each year to the MVP for a pipeline they don’t need.

EQT’s chief executive officer told financial analysts that gas production in the Appalachian Basin will not be growing if gas producers want to remain profitable. He said they have all of the pipeline capacity they need to get their gas to market. The MVP just adds to the existing surplus of capacity and creates a huge financial risk for our largest gas producer.

We need to talk about the “whole story.” We can protect our environment and have the lowest cost access to the gas we need — but that’s not possible with the MVP.

>>> Thomas Hadwin served as an executive for electric and gas utilities in Michigan and New York. He lives in Waynesboro, Virginia.


See also: US EPA challenge muddles future of Mountain Valley pipeline – Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, July 12, 2021

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