Just before the close of 2023, Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate Extension developers quietly announced major changes to their methane gas pipeline proposal, including cutting the total length in half and removing Alamance County from the route, increasing pipe diameter from 24 in to 30 in (wider pipes = more dangerous) and increasing capacity from 300,000 Dth per day to 550,000 Dth per day.
The new route would extend 31 miles from the terminus of the MVP mainline in Chatham, VA into Rockingham County, NC, and the pipe's diameter would be increased. According to developers, the revised plan would also mean fewer water crossings, and no additional compressor station, the permit for which MVP Southgate was denied on environmental justice grounds in 2021. The new plans are not yet finalized.
Co-Founder and Director of 7 Directions of Service, Dr. Crystal Cavalier-Keck, responded to the possible changes:
“As usual, MVP developers file before a holiday weekend to keep impacted communities in the dark and scrambling. Rightfully, these bad actors are afraid of our collective grassroots power and our growing movement of everyday people who stand together against MVP and MVP Southgate and all forms of new fossil fuel infrastructure to fight for life. Whether Southgate is proposed to be 1 mile, 31 miles, or 75 miles, we will only rest when this unnecessary and dangerous methane gas pipeline–as well as MVP mainline–are canceled, and meaningful steps are taken to phase out fossil fuels immediately.”
Check out responses by other coalition leaders:
For a deeper dive into the announcement check out:
In 2018, construction on the 303-mile fracked-gas Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) began in Virginia and West Virginia. Construction has involved over 500 violations of permit conditions, laws, and regulations, and 75% of the route slices through landslide and earthquake-prone terrain, including sacred Indigenous burial sites, waterways, and the Jefferson National Forest. Frontline communities and Water Protectors have been fighting the harmful, unnecessary pipeline for nearly 10 years, and came extremely close to canceling it.
In June 2023, the MVP mainline was fast-tracked by Congress and the White House, a result of its corrupt inclusion in the nation’s must-pass debt ceiling legislation. The MVP provisions forced the approval of all remaining federal permits, and forbids judicial review of any permits. The provisions did not include fast-tracking the MVP Southgate Extension.
The MVP Southgate Extension is a proposed 73-mile extension of the MVP mainline, from Pittsylvania County, VA into North Carolina’s Rockingham and Alamance Counties that poses a grave danger to working class and farming families, and the entire ecosystem of the Piedmont region. The project would also force a third polluting compressor station to be constructed in a predominantly Black community near Chatham, VA.
The proposed route is highly residential, and large public schools like Alamance Community College are within one-half mile of where the pipe would be laid. In its crossing of 200 streams and tributaries throughout the Dan and Haw River Watersheds, the MVP Southgate Extension would destroy habitats and recreational sites, and pose ongoing threats to water quality for downstream users.
Outraged by this unnecessary, greed-driven threat to our health, land and futures, everyday people have been pushing back against the pipeline by submitting comments, participating in hearings, writing to local newspapers and educating our neighbors.
In 2018, Alamance County Commissioners passed a resolution opposing Southgate that raised concerns about the pipeline’s impact on the county’s water quality. Later that year, officials in Stoneville, N.C., also passed a resolution in opposition to the pipeline, citing environmental concerns.
Even the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality agrees that that MVP Southgate is an unneeded risk. In August 2020, the agency denied Southgate’s application for a Clean Water Act permit.
“This has always been an unnecessary project that poses unnecessary risks to our environment and given the uncertain future of the MVP Mainline, North Carolinians should not be exposed to the risk of another incomplete pipeline project,” said then-DEQ Secretary Micheal Regan in an August 2020 statement. “North Carolina’s clean energy future is not dependent on adding more natural gas infrastructure.”
In 2021, the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board voted to deny the air pollution permit for the Lambert Compressor Station, on the basis of environmental justice concerns. This outcome was a result of tireless grassroots organizing and community members’ advocacy.
Lambert would have been the third compressor station in the majority Black Banister District , and would have increased air emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter 2.5, and formaldehyde — substances known to contribute to respiratory problems, heart disease and cancer.
A July 2019 Applied Economics Clinic report found that PSNC Energy, the Dominion Energy subsidiary that contracted to buy most of the gas that would flow through MVP Southgate, overestimated how much gas they will actually need in the future.
An economic analysis from 2020 indicated that existing gas infrastructure was more than sufficient to meet regional energy demand. Since then, the domestic and regional demand for natural gas has fallen, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
On December 19, 2023, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) Southgate Extension their request to extend their Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for three more years.
Over 38k individuals urged FERC to deny the certificate, including letters of opposition from Gov. Cooper and 50 NC state legislators.
The project is missing all necessary state-level permits to begin construction, and since 2018 they have been denied multiple times on environmental and environmental justice grounds. We know from our fight against the MVP mainline in VA and West VA that these developers are bad actors with no concern for community welfare, only for their bottom line.
It’s going to be up to everyday people to defeat Southgate, and the time to do it is now, by spreading public awareness through canvassing, and developing a base of community members who are ready to participate in public comment periods and hearings to ensure no further permits are granted.
Join us in taking action, and follow these Southgate resistance coalition leaders for the latest news:
Copyright © 2024 StopMVPSouthgate - All Rights Reserved.