West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin vowed the Mountain Valley Pipeline would be completed after the project’s owner Equitrans Midstream Corp. announced new delays and cost overruns for the controversial project.
(Bloomberg) — West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin vowed the Mountain Valley Pipeline would be completed after the project’s owner Equitrans Midstream Corp. announced new delays and cost overruns for the controversial project.
“It will be built,” Manchin, who inserted language approving the beleaguered project into a must-pass debt law, said in an interview. “The quicker we can get this done, that is going to help our country.”
Equitrans shares fell as much as 8.2% Thursday after the company said in a filing the prior day that “unforeseen factors” led it to change its estimated completion of the 300-mile pipeline to the first quarter of 2024, later than its earlier forecast of year-end 2023. The company also said the total project cost was expected to be $7.2 billion, a $600 million increase over previous estimates.
In its filing, Equitrans said part of the delay was caused by “heightened environmental protocols,” as well as challenging terrain and geology, and difficulty hiring workers for the project which has been the subject of several court-related construction stops.
Read More: Fear and Anger Follow Path of Manchin’s Mountain Valley Pipeline
The pipeline, which is about 94% complete, stretches across the Appalachian Mountains from northern West Virginia to southern Virginia. It cuts through a national forest and hundreds of stream crossings, and has been the subject of vigorous opposition from environmental groups who have successfully delayed the project with legal challenges and protests.
Manchin, who has argued the project is needed to increase domestic energy production, lower energy costs and benefit the constituents of his home state, successfully added language approving the controversial project into the legislation that was needed to lift the national debt limit earlier this year.
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