The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a 421-page report on July 26 approving the preferred route for the MVP Southgate gas pipeline project. The federal regulatory agency’s endorsement of the route is positive news for the proposed 80-mile extension with a reach just south of Burlington, NC. The chosen route is viewed as having the least overall impact to the environment, landowners, and cultural and historic resources.

“We conclude that construction and operation of the Southgate Project would result in limited adverse environmental impacts,” reads a portion from the agency’s environmental findings. FERC staff note that the “most adverse environmental impacts would be temporary or short-term” and limited to the construction phase while noting that there were some long-term impacts to forest and wetlands that can be mitigated. “If the Project is constructed and operated in accordance with the mitigating measures discussed in this draft EIS, and our recommendations, adverse environmental impacts would be reduced to less than significant levels,” the agency concluded.

The report strengthens the case for those that value clean energy and economic expansion. The proposed MVP Southgate pipeline could mean $4 million in state and local sales tax revenue during the construction phase alone. Income tax revenue from the construction is estimated at $2.8 million, while property tax revenue is estimated at $2.8 million. North Carolina is expected to add more than 1,100 jobs during peak construction of the proposed project.

The pipeline is expected to be a boon for consumers and the growing region. When up and running, the conduit would deliver some 375 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

“The proposed MVP Southgate pipeline would increase the region’s supply of affordable, reliable and domestic natural gas and provide the fuel needed to meet North Carolinians’ current and future energy demands,” says Mark Pope, president of the North Carolina Economic Development Association. One of the significant long-term benefits of the pipeline is lower energy costs for the region.

In June, over a month before the FERC release of their report, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality rejected a federal water permit for the project, stating not enough information was provided by the developer. If the pipeline can continue apace, the project is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Civitas Action is a 501(c)(4) non-profit that educates and informs North Carolinians on policy issues and the actions of their elected officials.