Parts of national forest closed for Mountain Valley Pipeline construction

The U.S. Forest Service says it is closing parts of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Virginia and West Virginia as construction begins on the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The department issued an emergency closure order affecting land in Giles County and Montgomery County in Virginia, and Monroe County in West Virginia.

According to a release from the Forest Service, the closure order “was enacted to protect public safety due to hazards associated with constructing the Mountain Valley Pipeline.”

The order is set to last for 12 months and prohibits going into or to be upon Forest Service lands within 200 feet of the centerline of the pipeline right-of-way, excluding the footpath of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and Brush Mountain East Road.

Also off-limits are access roads Mountain Valley will use during construction. It will be prohibited to operate, park, leave, or simply possess a vehicle on Mystery Ridge Road for its entire length, and Pocahontas Road from the first Forest Service gate to the intersection with Mystery Ridge Road.

The forest service says the Appalachian Trail, which will be crossed by the approximately 300-mile natural gas pipeline, will stay open during construction.

Any federal, state, or local officer, as well as any member of an organized rescue or firefighting force engaged in the performance of an official duty, will be exempt from the order, as well as anyone working under a permit issued by federal, state, or local regulatory entities that authorize activity within the area.

 

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