The U.S. Supreme Court declined a request for further review of a suit challenging the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s eminent domain authority, brought by landowners along the route of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia.

The Justices released their decision on May 20, according to court documents.

The decision was the latest in one of several lawsuits that inhibited progress on the MVP project until Congress included a provision in a debt bill in 2023 directing agencies to grant the required environmental permits for completion. 

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a 303-mile, 2 Bcf/d natural gas line stretching from Northwestern West Virginia to Southern Virginia. The system is a joint venture between Equitrans Midstream, NextEra Energy, and utilities Consolidated Edison, RGC Resources and AltaGas. Equitrans will operate the pipeline. The line is considered crucial for opening up Appalachian Basin natural gas to markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast U.S.

The FERC has authority over the pipeline as it crosses state borders. In 2020, property owners brought suit, arguing that FERC does not have constitutional authority to condemn their land for the pipeline path. FERC chose not to respond to the petition.

The May 20 decision marked the second time the Supreme Court had reviewed the case. In April 2023, the Supreme Court sent the petition back to an appellate court after the lower court dismissed the case. The courts did not rule on the FERC’s authority, deciding instead that the case had been filed too late, according to a Reuters report.

The appeals court rejected the case again in February. On May 20, the Supreme Court decided not to review it again.

The MVP is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2024.