Dominion May Need to Blast Through Mountain Ridge Line for Proposed ACP

Posted: Updated: May 09, 2017 04:34 PM
Proposed path for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Proposed path for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
Aaron Ruby, Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby, Dominion spokesman

The latest chapter in the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline debate continued Thursday. Environmental activists are concerned Dominion's potential construction in central Virginia could cause damage to the Appalachian Mountain Ridge Line.

Dominion may need to resort to a blasting technique in order to lay pipeline along the mountain ridge line. The construction and effects on the mountains would be temporary, but activists argue the original contour may not be able to be restored.

In a phone press conference Thursday, Dominion said it needed a flat surface on portions of the ridge line in order to create workspace access to lay down pipes.

“We're going to need to clear and grade a relatively limited area, limited space so that we can have a nice, flat, level surface, so that we can excavate a trench to be 10 feet wide. We can install the pipeline safely in the trench, then we backfill the trench with the native material that was excavated,” said Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby.

People opposed to the pipeline held a follow-up press conference saying, “Dominion would require mountaintops to be reduced by 10 to 60 feet along the proposed route of the pipeline."

"They're going to take something that's 20 feet wide and cut down far enough to make 125 foot flat area and then they're going to pile all that material back on? I just don't see how it can be done and how it can be done so that it will be stabilized,” said Joyce Burton of Friends of Nelson.

Dominion has completed 98 percent of surveys along the central Virginia areas and now has 60 percent of mutual agreements to this construction with landowners.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has ordered Dominion to restore the original contour of the mountain ridge line.

More than 65 percent of the pipeline has been produced, but none of it has been set and will not be moved until the final environmental study draft by FERC is ready this fall.