National Forest Service Approves Mountain Valley Pipeline Across Jefferson National Forest

The National Forest Service has decided to amend its Forest Management Plan for the Jefferson National Forest.  This would make it possible for the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross the Jefferson National Forest. It will disturb 81 acres of Forest lands.   Although not as great as that of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in either the Monongahela or George Washington National Forests (Atlantic Coast Pipeline: 112.3 acres in the Monongahela and 318.1 acres in the George Washington) this still represents a significant disturbance.

One of the most controversial parts of this decision is that the pipeline would cross the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.  The Trail runs roughly southwest-northeast along Peters Mountain in Southern West Virginia and Virginia.  The proposed pipeline would cross it at roughly a right angle near the Virginia-West Virginia border.  The proposed pipeline would cross the Trail by boring about ninety feet under it.

The decision modifies the Management Plan in five areas: Utility Corridors, Soil and Riparian, Old Growth Management Area, Appalachian National Scenic Trail Area, and Scenic Integrity Objectives.  The decision lists these areas, sets out the current Plan standard, and adds “However, this requirement does not apply to the operational right-of-way for the MVP Project.” or words to that effect.