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U.S. Supreme Court allows Mountain Valley Pipeline work to continue

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The United States Supreme Court on Thursday lifted a stay that will allow Mountain Valley Pipeline work to be completed.

Previously, stay orders were granted July 10 and July 11 by the US. Court of Appeals for the Fourth District to halt work on the natural gas pipeline, which will run 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia and will extend the Equitrans transmission system in Wetzel County, West Virginia, to Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co.’s Zone 5 compressor station 165 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

The order stopped the pipeline construction of a 3.5-mile stretch in the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia, as well as several stream crossings in West Virginia.

“Although the Court does not reach applicant’s suggestion that it treat the application as a petition for a writ of mandamus at this time, that determination is without prejudice to further consideration in light of subsequent developments,” the court wrote.

The project is currently 94% complete, with 20 linear miles of pipeline remaining. It will involve three compressor stations with sites in West Virginia’s Wetzel, Braxton, and Fayette counties.

“The Supreme Court has spoken and this decision to let construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline move forward again is the correct one,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia. “I am relieved that the highest court in the land has upheld the law Congress passed and the President signed.”

The ruling comes after both West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court asking for the stays to be removed.

Justice argued the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline is essential to the state for $45 million in additional annual tax revenue along with jobs and businesses in the state.

Justice’s brief came three days after Morrisey filed a similar brief.

“The Mountain Valley Pipeline is vital to the survival of American energy independence and affects thousands of jobs in West Virginia—its completion is also critical to our national security, the urgent need is for it to be completed as soon as possible,” Morrisey said after the ruling.

The annual tax collection projections come from America First Policy Institute.

“As important as the Mountain Valley Pipeline is for the jobs, royalties, and revenues so important to our economy, however, the natural gas that will be available once this project is completed is of even greater importance to this Nation’s energy security, and therefore to this Nation’s national security,” Justice’s brief stated. “This interest is paramount.”

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