(Reuters) – Equitrans Midstream Corp said on Monday it will evaluate the cost and timing of the completion of the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline based on ongoing litigation and upcoming federal approvals.

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of the under-construction Mountain Valley Pipeline near Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S. September 30, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave Mountain Valley permission late Friday to resume some construction on its $5.4 billion-$5.7 billion pipeline, which runs from Virginia to West Virginia.

“As the litigation process progresses and as we receive additional information from FERC regarding potentially releasing the remainder of the route for construction, (Mountain Valley) will continue to evaluate its current construction plans, budget, and schedule,” Equitrans said.

Mountain Valley is one of several U.S. oil and gas pipelines delayed by regulatory and legal fights with environmental and local groups that found problems with federal permits issued by the Trump administration.

FERC suspended work on Mountain Valley a year ago due to litigation over the project’s Biological Opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which allows construction in areas inhabited by endangered and threatened species.

The FWS issued a new Biological Opinion in early September. Environmental and other groups continue to challenge the latest FWS approval and other federal permits in court.

Analysts at Height Capital Markets said they expect the project to enter service in mid 2021 but noted timing could slip to the third quarter of 2021 if legal challenges prevent some stream crossings.

“We acknowledge the legal challenge that is currently before Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and have agreed to temporarily delay stream and waterbody activities out of respect for that process,” Equitrans said.

Equitrans has said it expects the pipeline, which is about 92% complete, to enter service in early

Dina Helen Essoka (right) launched her private security business last year, finding it difficult to secure a loan to cover the start-up costs. During COVID-19, she continues to struggle as the CEBA loan is unable to cover the costs of employing staff.
Dina Helen Essoka (right) launched her private security business last year, finding it difficult to secure a loan to cover the start-up costs. During COVID-19, she continues to struggle as the CEBA loan is unable to cover the costs of employing staff.

On any given day, Dina Helen Essoka balances a corporation dealing in both private security services and African food products. Essoka described a challenging debut for the business created just last year, finding difficulty in securing funding to cover the start-up costs. Essoka relied on her own out-of-pocket funds and soon, the business found its footing.  

“It was going really well until the pandemic came in,” Essoka told Yahoo Finance Canada, “Then everything just went down completely because I couldn’t have anybody come in anymore to pick up [foodstuff] and even the construction sites that we had promises to provide security services for had stopped work.”

Essoka was able to take advantage of the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), though she explained how the funding was insufficient for her to employ staff. This left her doing most of the work by herself and covering the costs of moving her food business to an e-commerce platform. In the face of a second wave in Canada’s major cities, costs like PPE and plexiglass are added expenses that businesses like Essoka’s will have to fund.

The federal supports for Black business owners, including a $53 million National Ecosystem Fund and Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund providing loans between $25,000 and $250,000, announced at the beginning of September give Essoka optimism.

“I will personally benefit from that because honestly it’s not been easy as a Black business owner,” Essoka said. “I think I have had some kind of restriction as a Black business owner. I’ve had several cases where I will be

(Bloomberg) — Thomas Healy was secretly arranging a deal to turn his Texas-based truck electrification startup into a publicly traded company when the coronavirus pandemic struck.



Thomas Healy, founder and chief executive officer of Hyliion Inc., speaks during the 2017 CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, March 9, 2017.


© Photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg
Thomas Healy, founder and chief executive officer of Hyliion Inc., speaks during the 2017 CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, March 9, 2017.

The crisis halted many transactions, but not the one between special-purpose acquisition vehicle Tortoise Acquisition Corp. and Hyliion Inc., which Healy founded in 2015.

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The company created from the merger — Hyliion Holdings Corp. — began trading Friday in New York after shares in Tortoise surged more than 300% ahead of a shareholder vote last month. Healy’s stake is now worth more than $1.4 billion, making him one of the world’s youngest self-made billionaires. Still, the 28-year-old knows luck was involved.

“We were fortunate on timing,” said Healy, the firm’s chief executive officer. “If we were trying to close right when the stock market was on that downswing, we might have been having different discussions.”

Hyliion advanced 3.2% to $40.75 at 10:05 a.m. after slumping 12% in its first full day of trading on Friday.

There is growing skepticism of the blank-check phenomenon as such deals have proliferated in recent weeks. SPACs are now getting scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which wants to ensure investors are receiving appropriate disclosures about insiders’ pay structures.

Bloomberg spoke with Healy ahead of his ringing the opening bell on Monday to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Comments have been edited and condensed.

How did the deal come about?

In the first quarter, we kicked off our next financing round. Going public and being able to bring in more capital than we would staying private was attractive. From