The Jig is Up: EQT to Sell MVP – Pyramid Scheme or Fraud?
EQT just quietly informed its shareholders in its quarterly report that it will sell its share of EQM next year, valued now at only $750 Million. EQM is the spin-off company that EQT shed into a separate company to own its share of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Construction costs were originally expected to be $3.5 Billion, MVP is now projected to cost at least $5.5 Billion, if it is ever completed at all.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline project was conceived by EQT five years ago. Plans were drawn up in their offices in Pittsburgh. The story is that they drew a line on a map for the 300+ mile route they intended to carve through the Appalachian Mountains to build this behemoth pipe to make a fortune and control the sale of their fracked gas. EQT was sure that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would approve the project because the industry lobbyists had gotten the Natural Gas Act passed and it would be easy. The FERC approval would guarantee MVP an 18% government-assured return on the massive $3.5 Billion construction costs and more important, give them the incredible power of eminent domain to take private land from anyone, an authority originally intended for projects that are required for the public good.
EQT had always assured the public that it would be the majority owner and manage the pipeline. It was in the public filings and stated in public hearings, even in front of the Craig County Board of Supervisors. MVP, an entity with no employees was not required to do the complete soil or geology surveys normally required for such projects. The objections from numerous experts that this project would be a disaster were ignored. Numerous permits were rushed through and issued despite faulty and incomplete data. No construction bonds were required, despite requests from numerous parties, including Craig County, to numerous state and federal agencies. Construction began prematurely — and that’s when the plan began to come apart for EQT and its partners.
Construction costs increased because the project was not buildable as proposed, on the steep slopes and karst terrain of our mountains. The price of fracked gas declined. The fantasy of huge export markets started vanishing. And then EQT’s scheme really began to unravel. MVP lost numerous court cases and permits that were built on faulty and false data. Once proposed to be fully operational by now, it still is prohibited from crossing National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, or 100s of creeks and streams. All construction has been halted.
As Preserve Craig predicted five years ago, the MVP project was ill-conceived, not in the public interest, and never should have been permitted. EQT stock was trading at just over $9.00 per share before the recent announcement. Five years ago, it was selling for over $50 per share. A hostile shareholder takeover by the Rice Brothers recently threw out the old management, but not before irreparable damage has been done to our water, lands, viewsheds and quality of life. A criminal investigation of the behavior of EQT should be pursued. What will happen next is anyone’s guess. Maybe the longest horse trail on the East Coast?
Preserve Craig is a participant in the Mountain Valley Watch (MVW), a collaboration of volunteers, nonprofits, and private interests. MVW is documenting construction activity of the Mountain Valley Pipeline to assure compliance with environmental regulations during construction. Call or text to 833-MVWATCH (833-689-2824) with any info on harm MVP is causing.
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Please donate to protect this special place. Preserve Craig, Inc. is a 501C3 nonprofit volunteer public charity formed in 1991 to protect our natural, historical, and cultural resources. Tax-deductible donations can be made online at www.preservecraig.org or by mail to: Preserve Craig, Inc., PO Box 730, New Castle, VA. 24127. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org