Curtis Tate Published

Natural Gas Pipeline Manchin Supports Gets 4-Year Extension

Natural gas pipeline construction work. A dug trench in the ground

A natural gas pipeline project in Virginia and West Virginia has received a four-year extension from a federal regulator.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has given the builders of the Mountain Valley Pipeline until October 2026 to finish construction.

Only about 20 miles of the 300-mile pipeline remain incomplete. However, the project has been held up by lawsuits. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia has overturned key federal permits.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, received assurance from congressional leaders that Congress would enact permitting reforms that favor the pipeline. They could be part of a spending package lawmakers must enact by the end of September.

In exchange, Manchin provided the decisive vote on President Joe Biden’s energy, climate and health care bill, the Inflation Reduction Act. Biden signed the law last week at the White House with Manchin present.

Environmental groups oppose the project and the permitting changes Manchin supports.

The $6 billion pipeline would transport about 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Its supporters, including Manchin and his Republican counterpart, U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, say it would reduce global dependence on Russian natural gas and boost producers in West Virginia.

Opponents say it locks in dependence on fossil fuels and harms waterways.