What Does “Finished” Mean?

During discussions of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, it is often referred to as “nearly finished.”  In the litigation over the failure, so far, to comply with the Endangered Species Act (The Highlands Voice,March, 2022) the Court referred to it as “mostly finished.”

       But is it really finished, or even mostly finished?

       That depends upon what we mean by “finished.”  Pipeline construction is a series of steps:  cut down the trees, clear the right of way, dig the ditch, plop in the pipe, weld the pieces together, cover it up, restore the land.  If we define finished as having cut all the trees, it is 100% finished; all the trees are gone.  If we define finished as having completed all the steps, it is about 55% finished.  As this chart shows, for every step it is a different fraction of the way toward being “finished.”  Whether or not it is “mostly finished” depends upon how close to having completed all the steps it has to be before it can be considered “finished.”