If you recall way back years ago when we started this fight, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) a certificate to build a 42-inch high pressure natural gas pipeline with the stipulation that the project be finished within three years, by October 13, 2020. Now Dominion, citing “unforeseen delays in permitting,” wants a two-year extension to build their boondoggle.
That’s right! With the clocking ticking down on what was supposed to be a completed project (the original in-service date was late 2018), Dominion finds its back against the wall. Enough is enough! FERC must tell Dominion “No” to this request for more time.
FERC has only given us a short window of time—until July 2—to weigh in with our comments on why Dominion should be denied an extension. Below is some guidance on what to say. Please note that you will have to express your concerns in 6,000 CHARACTERS or less. That’s still plenty of space to speak your mind (the below list is less than 3000 characters).
Tell FERC – Don’t Give Atlantic Coast Pipeline Two More Years to Build its Unneeded and Destructive Project
FERC should deny the request to extend its Certificate Order. The ACP is not needed, and its construction will only unnecessarily harm private property, communities, and the environment along the pipeline’s proposed route. See the details below:
With a projected cost of $8 billion and a proposed route across the Appalachian Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway, two national forests, steep landslide-prone mountains, narrow mountain ridges, and environmental justice communities, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would be one of the nation’s most expensive gas pipelines—and one of its most destructive.
The ACP unfairly burdens African American, indigenous, and low-income communities along its route. After four years of questioning their existence, Atlantic and regulators now acknowledge that the proposed gas-fired compressor station in Union Hill, Virginia is in a historic, predominantly Black community. Atlantic likewise picked a predominantly Black part of Northampton County for its sole North Carolina compressor station.
Since 2017, the region’s energy future has undergone a seismic shift away from gas-fired power generation making FERC’s original finding that the ACP is needed obsolete. The newly enacted Virginia Clean Economy Act will rapidly propel Virginia to renewable energy. North Carolina is on a similar trajectory because of the state’s Clean Energy Plan and Duke Energy’s corporate wide carbon reduction targets.
In January 2020, Virginia—the site of over half of the ACP’s proposed route—told the Supreme Court that in light of the mounting evidence that the pipeline is not needed, the ACP threatens Virginia’s natural resources without clear corresponding benefits.
ACP’s permitting problems are entirely self-inflicted. Atlantic either ignored or gravely underestimated the serious risks and obstacles inherent to the route it chose for the ACP. From the beginning, the public correctly understood that the ACP would be destructive and dangerous.
Atlantic’s commitment to this risky and highly damaging route has delayed construction by years. Since May 2018, the ACP has lost eight required permits, and the final route of project is still unknown almost six years into the process. Court decisions resulted in a complete shutdown of construction in December 2018, and less than 6% of the project is complete.
Because Atlantic’s permitting problems are self-inflicted and the resulting delays were foreseeable, there is no good cause for FERC to extend the Certificate to allow Atlantic to continue to stubbornly adhere to its unreasonable preferred route.
Use this list of reasons as a guide, but feel free to personalize your submissions to FERC. Remember that for six years we have watched the ACP project managers bumble through this ill-conceived, unneeded, and destructive plan, ignoring common sense and information provided by knowledgeable people along the route. Because of their overconfidence and self-inflicted problems, the project is billions over budget and years behind schedule. In fact, not one inch of pipe has been laid in Virginia. Dominion’s only success has been to earn a number one ranking as the nation’s most expensive natural gas pipeline project.
Because the ACP management doggedly pursued a route through impossible places while ignoring numerous concerns about public safety, drinking water, sinkholes, community justice issues, and private landowner rights, the project has spun out of control, losing needed permits, and compounding its problems.
We are still in this fight because you have always stepped up to say that this pipeline is WRONG.
Thank you for taking a few moments to ask FERC to tell Dominion that the clock has stopped ticking. Dominion’s time is up.