What’s the latest on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline?
Almost five years after Dominion’s announcement of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, there has been NO pipeline construction in Virginia. And, according to Dominion’s own press release last week, the proposed pipeline is two years behind schedule and 50 percent over budget– now a shocking projected $7.5 (or more) billion. The delay and expense is a result of its careless route selection and rushed permitting.
Seven federal permits, each required for pipeline construction, are now in question and there is a major legal challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) certificate of the project underway. Thursday’s ABRA Update provides details on legal challenges by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and Appalachian Mountain Advocates to the following flawed permitting decisions:
- National Park Service – crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway NPS REVOKED ITS PERMIT
- U.S. Forest Service—crossing the Appalachian Trail, and the GW and Monongahela National Forests VACATED
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—impacts to threatened and endangered species STAYED
- Army Corps of Engineers—four separate Clean Water Act permits (in the four states where the ACP and its supply header line will cross—W.Va., Va., N.C., and Pa.) for crossing streams and rivers REVOKED
- FERC Certificate – Is the pipeline even needed? CHALLENGED – to be heard in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals—Fall 2019. Both the city of Staunton and the county of Nelson have joined this SELC challenge as “friends of the court.” Click here to see Staunton’s resolution joining that legal challenge.
- Compressor Station Permit — environmental justice and air quality concerns CHALLENGED – just last Friday, February 8, SELC challenged the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board’s decision to issue a permit for the ACP compressor station planned for Buckingham County, Va.
Our friends along the route of the Mountain Valley Pipeline may finally be getting some relief as well. In response to the more than 300 water quality violations, the State Water Control Board voted in December to begin a process to revoke Virginia’s water quality permitting, and Virginia’s DEQ and Attorney General have filed a lawsuit against the MVP developers. Click here to see the latest article in the Roanoke Times.
The efforts of community members all along both pipeline routes, have brought facts to light, raised awareness, and kept the pressure on the pipeline developers.
But our work is far from finished. We will continue to call on regulators to ensure that local water supplies are not harmed, that property rights are protected, and that our land and our communities remain safe.
Make sure you’re on our mailing list and keep an eye out for updates on Dominion’s effort—unsuccessful so far—to persuade Congress to remove federal protections for the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Dominion will not be easily deterred, despite the increasing evidence that the pipeline is simply not needed.