Atlantic Coast Pipeline

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Atlantic Coast Pipeline
AtlanticCoastPipeline map.pdf
Map of Atlantic Coast Pipeline
Location
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 is a proposed 42 inch natural gas pipeline that would run about 600 miles (970 km) between West Virginia and eastern North Carolina.[1][2]


Characteristics[edit]

Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC is the developer and planned operator of the pipeline; the company is a joint venture between Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Southern Company Gas,[3] with Dominion serving as the lead stakeholder.[4] The pipeline is proposed to start 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.[3] A branch is proposed to run east to Chesapeake, Virginia, bringing the total length to about 600 miles (970 km).[3] The pipeline is 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.[5] It would have a capacity of about 1,500,000,000 cubic feet (42,000,000 m3) of gas daily.[6]

Development[edit]

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. [7][8] Proposal was announced on record at West Virginia County Commissioner Meetings on May 27, 2014 in Lewis County, WV by Robert Orndorff, Dominion Transmission Representative [9], on July 1, 2014 in Pocahontas County, WV [10], and on August 7, 2014 in Randolph County by Lauren Ragland and Ed Wade Jr. founders of "West Virginia Wilderness Lovers". [11], and the developers began the application process for regulatory approval the following month.[5] 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.[6] Contingent on federal approval, construction is proposed to begin in late 2017[6]—a construction contract was signed in September 2016 in preparation—and gas transport is planned to begin in late 2019.[3] The cost of building the pipeline is estimated at $5.1 billion.[6]

On January 26, 2018 the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection approved a general permit for the project and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality approved a water-quality certification.[12][13][14] On February 27, 2018 the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality issued an air quality permit as well.[15]


Opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline[edit]

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

There has been opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for a number of reasons. Those opposed decry the lack of scrutiny given to the pipelines by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. They also claim the lead sponsor of the project, Dominion Energy, which is the largest corporate contributor to politicians in Virginia, has improperly used its financial and corporate influence to secure regulatory approvals at the federal and state levels. [16] [17]

Plans for the pipeline have led to protests from landowners in its path, largely in Virginia.[18] 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,[18] and Virginia law permits surveying on private property, as well as the use of eminent domain in construction.[5] 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, have also expressed opposition.[6] 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.[6] 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.[6]

Critics note that the proposed route disproportionately impacts Native Americans, including members of the Meherrin, Haliwa-Saponi, Coharie, and Lumbee Tribes of North Carolina.[19] Data from the EIS show that Native Americans make up over 13% of the population living in census tracts located within one mile the proposed route through North Carolina while constituting only 1.2% of the state's population.[19] 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.[19] The same researcher noted similarities between tribal consultation issues surrounding both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline.[19] 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.[20][21][22][23] The National Congress of American Indians has 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.[24] Overall, approximately 30,000 Native Americans live in census tracts located within one mile of the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.[19]

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, have organized a summer encampment titled "No Pipeline Summer: Camp to Save the Limperts’ Land.” [25] The encampment, which begins June 29 and is planned to last at least until the first week of September, will be composed of visitors opposed to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline or the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

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.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Project overview map" (PDF). Dominion. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  2. ^ "Atlantic Coast Pipeline" (PDF). Dominion. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "Atlantic Coast Pipeline hires main construction contractor". Oil and Gas Journal. September 22, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  4. ^ "McAuliffe doubles down on pipeline support, hints at economic prospects". Richmond Times-Dispatch. December 15, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Appalachia gathers dissent to gas pipeline bound for eastern N.C." McClatchy DC. November 11, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Proposed gas pipeline passes through Pocahantas County, Page 1". June 5, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  8. ^ "Proposed gas pipeline passes through Pocahantas County, Page 8". June 5, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  9. ^ Shelor, Jeremiah (May 27, 2014). "Dominion officials brief Lewis Commissioners on plans for pipeline expansion". The Exponent Telegram. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  10. ^ "Group warns commission about pipeline dangers". The Pocahontas Times. July 2, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  11. ^ "Pipeline plans". The Intermountain. August 8, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  12. ^ Zullo, Robert; Martz, Michael (January 26, 2018). "As pipeline moves closer to construction, Virginia officials brace for confrontations". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  13. ^ "WVDEP Approves Construction Stormwater Permit For Atlantic Coast Pipeline". West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. January 26, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  14. ^ "State issues major water permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline project". North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. January 26, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  15. ^ "UPDATED VERSION: State issues air quality permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline project". North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. February 27, 2018. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  16. ^ Zullo, Robert (December 22, 2017). "Atlantic Coast Pipeline wants to start cutting down trees". Richmond, Virginia: Richmond Times-Dispatch. pp. 1, A5. Though it still lacks several key approvals, the Dominion Energy-led Atlantic Coast Pipeline project has asked federal regulators to allow workers to begin cutting down trees along some portions of the 600-mile route in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina
  17. ^ Zullo, Robert (December 22, 2017). "Va. says Dominion's Rappahannock line must go underwater". Richmond, Virginia: Richmond Times-Dispatch. pp. l, A5. The State Corporation Commission has ordered Dominion Energy to install a new transmission line under, instead of over, the Rappahannock River near the Robert O. Norris Jr. Bridge between Grey's Point and White Stone.
  18. ^ a b "Battle heats up over controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline". McClatchy DC. June 15, 2015. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  19. ^ a b c d e Emanuel, Ryan E. (2017-07-21). "Flawed environmental justice analyses". Science. 357 (6348): 260–260. doi:10.1126/science.aao2684. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 28729502.
  20. ^ "Letter from Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission" (PDF). March 29, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  21. ^ "Letter from Coharie Tribe to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission" (PDF). March 29, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  22. ^ "Letter from Haliwa-Saponi Tribe to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission" (PDF). April 4, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  23. ^ "Letter from North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission" (PDF). April 6, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ "Old growth forest in Bath to become encampment in pipeline fight," Richmond Times-Dispatch, 25 June 2018.
  26. ^ "181082.P Sierra Club v. National Park Service (Gregory 8/6/2018)" (PDF). August 6, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2018.