(Reuters) – EQM Midstream Partners LP said it had raised the estimated cost of its Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia to $4.8-$5.0 billion and delayed the projected completion to mid-2020 due to ongoing legal and regulatory challenges.
EQM made the comments in a federal regulatory filing in which the company said it had submitted a land exchange proposal to the federal government in an effort to enable the pipe to cross the Appalachian Trail.
Crossing the trail became an issue after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in December said the U.S. Forest Service lacked authority to issue a permit for another gas pipe, Dominion Energy’s $7 billion to 7.5 billion Atlantic Coast, to cross the Appalachian Trail on federal land. That case is on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
EQM’s land exchange proposal would grant the federal government full ownership of private lands crossed by the Appalachian Trail, including certain private land located adjacent to the Jefferson National Forest.
In exchange, the government would grant Mountain Valley a right-of-way to cross the trail using the pipeline‘s previously planned underground method at an existing crossing location approved by FERC in 2017.
The 303-mile (488-km) pipeline is designed to deliver 2 Bcf/d of gas.