Federal regulators approve two major East Coast pipelines

Federal regulators approve two major East Coast pipelines

Federal regulators on Friday approved two major natural gas pipelines for construction on the East Coast, a move heralded by business leaders and condemned by environmentalists.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted approvals for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines, according to The Associated Press. One of the three commissioners dissented.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is slated to cost $3.5 billion, would span 300 miles from the northern portion of West Virginia all the way to Danville, Va.

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The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which will amount to $5 billion, will stretch 600 miles from north-central West Virginia, through Virginia, and through eastern North Carolina. 

Business advocates say the pipelines will lower energy costs and jumpstart economic development, however opponents argue the pipelines will interfere with property rights and have a negative impact on the environment. 

“Given the environmental impacts and possible superior alternatives, approving these two pipeline projects on this record is not a decision I can support,” said commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, an Obama-era appointee who dissented on Friday, according to the AP.

The decision is the latest victory for pipeline advocates. It comes days after a federal judge ruled that the Dakota Access pipeline could continue its operation during a federal review of the project’s environmental impact.