SELC requests FERC hearing as Dominion, Duke Energy look to build ACP on the backs of customers

The Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of its clients, is filing a motion asking that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hold a hearing on the legitimacy of Dominion and Duke Energy’s natural gas demand claims as a basis for building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

pipelineIt’s crucial that FERC grant a hearing to review this new evidence that shows the ACP is not needed to meet customer demand, particularly due to the known harm this pipeline will cause landowners along its path and consumers throughout the region.

“If you look behind the claims that this pipeline is needed, what you’ll find is that Dominion and Duke subsidiaries are contracting with each other to manufacture a need for natural gas in Virginia and North Carolina,” said Senior Attorney Greg Buppert with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “This pipeline will provide Duke and Dominion with an exceptionally high rate of return at little to no risk. That risk falls on the shoulders of utility customers who will have higher power bills and be stuck paying for a pipeline for decades to come.”

The proposed 600 mile-long pipeline, through intact forests, sensitive waterways, and minority and low income communities in Virginia and North Carolina will yield a 14-15% guaranteed rate of return from the federal government to Dominion and Duke Energy power companies and shareholders.

“Everyone is trying to build a new pipeline because it’s a cash machine,” said Tom Hadwin a former utility executive in New York and Michigan. “Utilities all over the country are over projecting an increase in demand and overbuilding new power plants. No new gas-fired power plants, no need for a pipeline.”

Over the years FERC has repeatedly rubber-stamped pipeline projects relying solely on contracts and never examining the actual market demand for a new natural gas supply. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is intended to serve gas-fired power plants. But in recent years forecasters have dramatically revised predictions downward for electricity demand in our region.

SELC is filing a motion today requesting FERC hold a hearing to ensure consumers and landowners are protected from an unnecessary pipeline and resolve the following disputed issues:

  • Agreements between Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC and its own affiliates are insufficient evidence that there is a growing demand for natural gas.
  • New forecasts from the Energy Information Administration and the regional grid manager show no growth in demand for natural gas needs in Virginia and North Carolina through 2030.
  • Already existing and planned pipeline capacity in the region is adequate to meet any demand that does exist.

SELC is filing this motion on behalf of Shenandoah Valley Network, Highlanders for Responsible Development, Virginia Wilderness Committee, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Cowpasture River Preservation Association, Friends of Buckingham, and Winyah Rivers Foundation.

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