CLAIM: Mountain Valley Pipeline Developer Admits Project May Never Be Completed

CLAIM: The Sierra Club claimed in a Dec. 17 press release that EQM Midstream, the lead developer of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, had “raised the possibility that the project would not be completed “at all.””

RATING: Quote Taken Out of Context, 70% False

In a quarterly financial report filed in October with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, EQM Midstream provided investors with an update on the regulatory and judicial challenges affecting the company’s pipeline projects, including the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

“The regulatory approval process for the construction of new midstream assets is challenging, and recent decisions by regulatory and judicial authorities in pending proceedings could impact our or the MVP Joint Venture’s ability to obtain all approvals and authorizations necessary to complete certain projects on the projected time frame or at all or our ability to achieve the expected investment return on the project,” the company stated.

“The approval process for storage and transportation projects has become increasingly challenging, due in part to state and local concerns related to exploration and production and gathering activities in new production areas, including the Marcellus, Utica and Upper Devonian Shales, and negative public perception regarding the oil and gas industry.”

Reading EQM’s brief in full, it becomes clear that the Sierra Club’s “Mountain Valley Pipeline Admits Project May Never Be Finished” narrative was incorrectly extrapolated from a general cautionary statement regarding regulatory and judicial uncertainty facing pipeline infrastructure projects.

In fact, the Roanoke Times article in which the Sierra Club used to substantiate their claim cautioned readers that “such language can be a standard part of warning investors of all conceivable risk.” Furthermore, the Dec. 15 story also cited a report from Height Capital Markets characterizing a recent lawsuit filed by the Virginia attorney general and gubernatorial candidate as “a largely political move which does not significantly affect the state of play for the pipeline.”