Dominion Energy says it is going to re-route its planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline so it doesn't encroach as much on two national forests.
The company says it has worked with the U.S. Forest Service over the last several months to find an alternative route that avoids sensitive areas in the Monongahela National Forest and the George Washington National Forest.
The newly proposed path for the natural gas pipeline dips further south into Bath County before heading back up into Augusta County.
The new plan is expected to be formally adopted next week.
Landowners along the new route are being contacted for survey permission.
A series of open houses will be held along the route in March.
Media Release from Dominion Energy:
Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (Atlantic) has worked with the U.S. Forest Service over the last several months to find an alternative route that avoids sensitive areas in the Monongahela National Forest and the George Washington National Forest.
As a result of these extensive consultations, next week Atlantic will formally adopt an alternative route that we believe will meet the Forest Service’s requirements and provide a viable path forward for the project. Finding a viable route through the national forests is an important milestone for the project and would allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to continue its environmental review.
The alternative route was selected to avoid Cheat Mountain and Shenandoah Mountain because of certain species that inhabit those areas, as specifically requested by the Forest Service. The route will reduce total mileage in the national forests by more than one-third, from 28.8 miles to 18.5 miles.
The alternative route will impact approximately 249 new landowners in Randolph and Pocahontas counties in West Virginia, and Highland, Bath and Augusta counties in Virginia. The alternative route will add approximately 30 miles to the total length of the project. A map of the alternative route is attached to this email.
We are contacting landowners along the alternative route to request permission to survey their properties so the route can be thoroughly evaluated. Atlantic will submit a preliminary analysis of the route to the FERC next week, and plans to hold a series of public informational open houses along the route in early March.
Statement from the Southern Environmental Law Center:
Charlottesville, VA--Statement by Greg Buppert, Senior Attorney at Southern Environmental Law Center, about Dominion's recently announced route change for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline:
"Dominion has proposed a knee-jerk and ill-conceived adjustment to its favored route rather than a solution that truly attempts to minimize the harm to this region. To prevent unnecessary impacts to our communities and environment, we must understand whether the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is truly needed to meet the regional demand for natural gas in light of the changes to existing pipelines that are already poised to bring more gas into Virginia.
The new route also raises fundamental questions of fairness. FERC must put the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on hold until the citizens of Bath County and other communities along the route have the same opportunities to understand the project, evaluate its impacts, and make their voices heard."
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