Bloomberg Law
Feb. 19, 2021, 8:18 PM

Mountain Valley Pipeline Defeats Effort to Block Construction

Maya Earls
Maya Earls
Legal Reporter

Construction on the nearly complete Mountain Valley Pipeline can continue, the D.C. Circuit ruled Friday, in a loss for environmental groups that claimed the pipeline wasn’t needed after all.

The groups filed their petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit seeking to block the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s orders allowing work to continue on all but eight miles of the 300-mile pipeline route.

The Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, and four other groups argued falling demand for natural gas and a surplus of pipeline takeaway capacity undermined claims that the pipeline would serve the public interest.

Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC, Equitrans LP, and two others told the court the pipeline’s long-term capacity has actually become more valuable, not less. And none of the individuals cited by the groups in their motion for a stay live near active construction sites, the companies said.

The court sided with the companies, saying in a per curiam order that the groups haven’t “satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay.” Judges David S. Tatel, Neomi Rao, and Patricia A. Millett sat on the panel.

FERC took no position on the motion.

Vinson & Elkins LLP represents Mountain Valley Pipeline. Locke Lord LLP represents Equitrans. Pierce Atwood LLP represents the Gas and Oil Association of WV Inc. Dominion Energy Services Inc. and Jones Day represent the Public Service Company of North Carolina Inc.

FERC represents itself.

The Sierra Club and Appalachian Mountain Advocates represent the Sierra Club, Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Wild Virginia. Water and Power Law Group PC represents Indian Creek Watershed Association, Preserve Craig, and Save Monroe.

The Sierra Club has received funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization founded by Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg Law is operated by entities controlled by Michael Bloomberg.

The case is Sierra Club v. FERC, D.C. Cir., No. 21-01040, 2/19/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maya Earls in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at; Nicholas Datlowe at