Atlantic Coast Pipeline

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Atlantic Coast Pipeline
AtlanticCoastPipeline map.pdf
Map of Atlantic Coast Pipeline
CountryUnited States
StateWV, VA, NC
General directionNorth-south
FromHarrison County, WV
ToRobeson County, NC
General information
TypeNatural gas
OwnerAtlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC
PartnersDominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, Southern Company Gas
Technical information
Length600 mi (970 km)
Diameter42 in (1,067 mm)

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was a planned natural gas pipeline slated to run 600 miles (970 km) from West Virginia, through Virginia, to eastern North Carolina. It was canceled in July 2020.[1][2][3]


Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC was the developer and planned operator of the pipeline; the company was a joint venture between Dominion Energy and Duke Energy,[4][5] with Dominion serving as the lead stakeholder.[6] The proposed route was to begin in Harrison County, West Virginia, drawing gas from wells in the Utica and Marcellus gas fields, and travel southeast through eastern Virginia and North Carolina to its terminus in Robeson County, North Carolina.[4] The route would have crossed the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia[7] and included a lateral extending east to Chesapeake, Virginia,[8] bringing the total length to about 600 miles (970 km).[4] The pipeline was proposed to have a 42 inches (110 cm) diameter for much of its length, with the southern end in North Carolina measuring 36 inches (91 cm) wide.[9] It would have had a capacity of about 1,500,000,000 cubic feet (42,000,000 m3) of gas daily.[10]


The Atlantic Coast Pipeline originated in September 2013 when the Obama administration granted a request from Dominion Transmission to export gas to Japan and India.[11][12] Proposal was announced on record at West Virginia County Commissioner Meetings on May 27, 2014 in Lewis County, West Virginia,[13] on July 1, 2014 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia,[14] and on August 7, 2014 in Randolph County, North Carolina,[15] and the developers began the application process for regulatory approval the following month.[9] The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project on December 30, 2016, with a final EIS issued on July 21, 2017 after a period of public comment on the draft.[10] Developers had hoped to begin construction in late 2017[10] and to begin gas transport in late 2019,[4] and the project cost was originally estimated at $5.1 billion.[10]

Legal proceedings stalled construction, however, and expected costs have ballooned to nearly $8 billion.[16] On August 6, 2018, the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rescinded two approvals permitting the pipeline, one from the Fish and Wildlife Service and another from the National Park Service regarding crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway.[17] The fact that the proposed route crosses the Appalachian Trail has generated significant legal difficulty,[18] and the Supreme Court reversed the Fourth Circuit's ruling on the Forest Service's permit process, deciding that the Appalachian Trail's segment through the George Washington National Forest was a right-of-way on land belonging to the Forest Service rather than land part of the National Park System where pipelines may not be built.[19] The permit to cross the Blue Ridge Parkway was still pending.[19]

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was one of the priority infrastructure projects of the Donald Trump administration,[20] and the administration backed Dominion Energy throughout the appeal process.[21]

Dominion Energy had hoped to have completed the pipeline, which was to built in sections,[22] by late 2021, with service by early 2022.[23] Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC claimed that the project will generate $28 million dollars per year in local tax revenue, 17,240 construction-based jobs, and 2,200 jobs in other fields.[24]

Opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline[edit]

Protest against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Staunton, Virginia, 21 October 2018

Plans for the pipeline led to protests from landowners in its path, largely in Virginia.[25] An anti-pipeline group, "All Pain No Gain," raised money to run radio and television advertising in opposition of the pipeline, and dozens of landowners attempted to block surveyors from their property, though the pipeline's developers filed lawsuits against them,[25] and Virginia law permits surveying on private property, as well as the use of eminent domain in construction.[9] Local community groups, including Nelson County, VA-based Friends of Wintergreen, a not-for-profit group representing the largest residential and recreational communities in Virginia, retained national pipeline engineers and environmental specialists to demonstrate the technical infeasibility and inappropriateness of the project in western Virginia. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Southern Environmental Law Center (a Charlottesville, Virginia-based non-profit), and Appalachian Voices, also expressed opposition.[10] After the issuance of the draft EIS, a Sierra Club official said that the developers had not proven the demand for the gas transported by the pipeline, as well as criticizing the EIS for not addressing the risks of building a pipeline through unstable karst terrain prone to sinkholes and landslides.[10] An official at Dominion Energy, said that the pipeline route had been adjusted 300 times, for a total of 250 miles (400 km) of rerouting, since its original draft in order to accommodate "environmentally sensitive areas" and other concerns.[10] Exaggerated claims of job creation were challenged by student reporters in West Virginia.[26]

Critics note that the proposed route disproportionately impacts Native Americans, including members of the Meherrin, Haliwa-Saponi, Coharie, and Lumbee Tribes of North Carolina.[27] Data from the EIS show that Native Americans make up over 13% of the population living in census tracts located within one mile of the proposed route through North Carolina while constituting only 1.2% of the state's population.[27] Although the EIS contained an environmental justice analysis as required by federal Executive Order 12898, the analysis failed to identify disproportionate impacts, leading an academic researcher to highlight links between the flawed analysis and the failure of regulators and developers to adequately consult tribal governments.[27] The same researcher noted similarities between tribal consultation issues surrounding both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline.[27] Individual tribal governments and North Carolina's Commission of Indian Affairs have raised formal concerns to federal regulators about lack of government consultation on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.[28][29][30][31] The National Congress of American Indians also issued a formal resolution calling for permitting activities to cease until regulators engage in meaningful consultation with the Haliwa-Saponi and other tribes living along the proposed route.[32] Overall, approximately 30,000 Native Americans live in census tracts located within one mile of the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.[27]

Communities that would be affected by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have begun direct, nonviolent action to oppose it. Bill and Lynn Limpert, who own 120 acres of property near the pipeline's planned route, organized a summer encampment titled "No Pipeline Summer: Camp to Save the Limperts’ Land.”[33] The encampment, which lasted through the summer of 2018, was composed of visitors opposed to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline or the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

One major lawsuit filed in opposition to the pipeline was due to permits granted by the United States Forest Service (USFS) to allow a 0.1 miles (0.16 km) run of the pipeline to cross about 600 feet (180 m) under the Appalachian Trail. A coalition of environmental groups filed suit against the USFS and the development group on several grounds, including that the decision to issue the permit was arbitrary and capricious and that the special use right of way authority for the lands of the Appalachian Trail, considered part of the National Parks System, could not be granted. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of these groups on several grounds, including that the Trail was a national park and outside the USFS' jurisdiction. The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which found in United States Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Assn. in June 2020 that the Trail itself was considered only to be a right of way within the national forest, and the USFS had authority to issue the permit. Other parts of the original lawsuit remain valid, such as the arbitrary and capricious consideration of the USFS decision.[34]


On July 5, 2020, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced that they would cancel the project due to legal uncertainty and delays concerning the project's costs.[35][36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Project overview map" (PDF). Dominion. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  2. ^ "Atlantic Coast Pipeline" (PDF). Dominion. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 17, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  3. ^ “About l ACP.” Home - Atlantic Coast Pipeline,
  4. ^ a b c d "Atlantic Coast Pipeline hires main construction contractor". Oil and Gas Journal. September 22, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  5. ^ “Cost of Dominion's Delayed Atlantic Coast Pipeline Rises to $8 Billion.” Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis, 12 Feb. 2020,
  6. ^ "McAuliffe doubles down on pipeline support, hints at economic prospects". Richmond Times-Dispatch. December 15, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  7. ^ Gayter, Liam (21 February 2017). "Thru-Hikers in the Blast Zone: Pipelines Will Intersect the Appalachian Trail". Blue Ridge Outdoors. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  8. ^ “About l ACP.” Home - Atlantic Coast Pipeline,
  9. ^ a b c "Appalachia gathers dissent to gas pipeline bound for eastern N.C." McClatchy DC. November 11, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "Long-awaited draft environmental statement on Dominion's Atlantic Coast Pipeline released". Richmond Times-Dispatch. December 30, 2017. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  11. ^ "Proposed gas pipeline passes through Pocahantas County, Page 1". June 5, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  12. ^ "Proposed gas pipeline passes through Pocahantas County, Page 8". June 5, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  13. ^ Shelor, Jeremiah (May 27, 2014). "Dominion officials brief Lewis Commissioners on plans for pipeline expansion". The Exponent Telegram. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  14. ^ "Group warns commission about pipeline dangers". The Pocahontas Times. July 2, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  15. ^ "Pipeline plans". The Intermountain. August 8, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  16. ^ “Cost of Dominion's Delayed Atlantic Coast Pipeline Rises to $8 Billion.” Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis, 12 Feb. 2020,
  17. ^ "181082.P Sierra Club v. National Park Service (Gregory 8/6/2018)" (PDF). August 6, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  18. ^ Wallace, Danielle. “Supreme Court Hears Atlantic Coast Pipeline Case, Roberts Warns of 'Impermeable Barrier' along Appalachian Trail.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 24 Feb. 2020,
  19. ^ a b "Supreme Court clears way for Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross Appalachian Trail". Grist. 2020-06-15. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  20. ^ Trump makes $137bn list of “emergency” infrastructure schemes, all needing private finance. Global Construction Review. January 30, 2018. Accessed February 10, 2019.
  21. ^ Wallace, Danielle. “Supreme Court Hears Atlantic Coast Pipeline Case, Roberts Warns of 'Impermeable Barrier' along Appalachian Trail.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 24 Feb. 2020,
  22. ^ “Construction Process l ACP.” Home - Atlantic Coast Pipeline,
  23. ^ “Cost of Dominion's Delayed Atlantic Coast Pipeline Rises to $8 Billion.” Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis, 12 Feb. 2020,
  24. ^ “About l ACP.” Home - Atlantic Coast Pipeline,
  25. ^ a b "Battle heats up over controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline". McClatchy DC. June 15, 2015. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  26. ^ "Student Reporters in West Virginia Find Atlantic Coast Pipeline Offers Only Two Dozen Permanent Jobs". DeSmog. Retrieved 2020-02-06.
  27. ^ a b c d e Emanuel, Ryan E. (2017-07-21). "Flawed environmental justice analyses". Science. 357 (6348): 260.1–260. Bibcode:2017Sci...357..260E. doi:10.1126/science.aao2684. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 28729502. S2CID 32174452.
  28. ^ "Letter from Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission" (PDF). March 29, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  29. ^ "Letter from Coharie Tribe to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission" (PDF). March 29, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  30. ^ "Letter from Haliwa-Saponi Tribe to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission" (PDF). April 4, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  31. ^ "Letter from North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission" (PDF). April 6, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  32. ^ "National Congress of American Indians Resolution, "Support for the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe to Protect its Lands, Waters, Sacred Places and Ancestors"". June 15, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  33. ^ "Old growth forest in Bath to become encampment in pipeline fight," Richmond Times-Dispatch, 25 June 2018.
  34. ^ Barnes, Robert (June 15, 2020). "Supreme Court removes major obstacle to Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a long-delayed project crossing central Virginia". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  35. ^ "Dominion Energy and Duke Energy cancel the Atlantic Coast Pipeline". Duke Energy. July 5, 2020. Archived from the original on July 5, 2020. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  36. ^ Blunt, Katherine (July 5, 2020). "Companies Cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline After Years of Delays". Wall Street Journal (in American English). ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved July 5, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)