Environmental groups actively opposing Atlantic Coast Pipeline extension

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A coalition of environmental groups are opposing Dominion Energy and Duke Energy’s request for two additional years to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The Southern Environmental Law Center, joined by partners at Appalachian Mountain Advocates, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the law firm Johns & Counsel, are leading the effort.

The filing, made with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on behalf of multiple conservation groups and landowners, implores the commission to deny an extension for a pipeline that does not fit the changing energy landscape of Virginia or North Carolina.

“Since FERC approved it in 2017, a litany of new reasons have emerged to show that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is obsolete,” said Mark Sabath, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “One major reason is the landmark Virginia Clean Economy Act. This new energy legislation forces Dominion to abandon its ill-advised plans to build new gas power plants and to close its existing plants. Now that both Virginia and North Carolina have committed to renewable energy and a carbon-free future, FERC’s original approval of the ACP has not just grown stale, but has fully decayed.”

The ACP is now years behind schedule and less than 6 percent complete.

In January, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the permit for a pipeline compressor station in Union Hill, for failing to meet environmental justice standards — one of the eight required permits the ACP is missing. And just this week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ended FERC’s tolling practice, which had allowed pipeline construction to proceed before the commission’s review was complete.

“FERC should firmly reject Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s request for more time to ‘fix’ a project that would inevitably fragment valuable forest lands, pollute streams, and threaten vulnerable communities from the mountains to the Chesapeake Bay. With evidence clearly establishing the lack of demand for energy generated from fossil fuels like natural gas, the proposed pipeline project is a road to nowhere for Virginia and the broader region,” said Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Executive Director Peggy Sanner.

         
 

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