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State Supreme Court Judges Hear Two Cases Related to the Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline

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Nancy Sorrells, co-chair of the Augusta County Alliance Nancy Sorrells, co-chair of the Augusta County Alliance
Aaron Ruby, Dominion spokesperson Aaron Ruby, Dominion spokesperson
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) -

It is up to Virginia Supreme Court judges to consider a pair of cases dealing with the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The ACP debate was in the state supreme court Wednesday.

In one case, landowners say Dominion didn't go far enough in notifying them about surveys on their properties and when those surveys would happen.

"The use of eminent domain for private gain is just… it's fundamentally un-American,” said Nancy Sorrells, co-chair of the Augusta County Alliance.

Since the first batch of survey notices went out, Dominion has updated its policy and enhanced communication to include more specific proposed dates.

Some judges were concerned this legal question is no longer relevant, given the survey process is nearly complete.

"It's in everyone's interest that we chose the safest and most environmentally responsible route for the pipeline,” said Dominion spokesperson Aaron Ruby.

The second case focuses on the bigger picture - should power companies have the authority to go on properties without the consent of landowners.

Dominion cited many other cases at the state and federal levels that suggest it is appropriate to do so for infrastructure projects.

The judges will now weigh arguments made on behalf of landowners in Augusta County and Buckingham County. Anti-pipeline activists say regardless of the judge’s decision, they won't give up the fight.

"With these two cases, there's thousands of people who are being impacted and whose property rights compromised by this pipeline,” said Sorrells explained.

“The problems with this are never gonna go away and the issues and the impacts of this pipeline, if this goes forward, are never gonna go away,” said Ernie Reed, president of the Friends of Nelson.

It’s unclear exactly when the judges will make a decision in these cases, but Dominion says it expects final approval for the pipeline from federal regulators this fall.

Once that happens, construction will start with a plan to finish by late 2019.