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Environmental Activists React to McAuliffe, Dominion Energy Deal

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Dominion Energy and McAuliffe forged a deal late in 2017 Dominion Energy and McAuliffe forged a deal late in 2017
Former Governor Terry McAuliffe (file photo) Former Governor Terry McAuliffe (file photo)
The deal is nearly $58 million The deal is nearly $58 million
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) -

A $58 million deal between Dominion Energy and the state in regard to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will help cover costs to address some of the pipeline's impacts.

However, one environmental group is questioning why the deal was not made public when it was first made.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is set to run 600 miles through Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. But something people might not know about it is that this particular deal was made during the final days of Terry McAuliffe’s time in office, and some are not happy about it.

“It was not a good deal, it was really not transparent and clean government,” says Kirk Bowers of the Sierra Club.

The deal was made as Governor Terry McAuliffe’s time in office drew to a close.

Bowers says that McAuliffe also signed two deals with the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

"These agreements were supposed to protect our water and our historic resources, and both reasons of the state, but he didn't tell anybody that he was going to make these agreements,” says Bowers.

According to the Governor's Office of Natural Resources, the money will be split into two main portions - over $38 million for forest conservation, and over $19 million for water quality.

“The federal law requires that we work with the state agencies to develop appropriate mitigation measures to address those unavoidable impacts, and that’s why we have reached this agreement,” says Aaron Ruby Dominion Energy’s spokesperson.

The money is going to a number of state environmental organizations.

“Albemarle County actually receives some of this money that’s being paid to the state, but the pipeline doesn't go through the county,” says Bowers.

Ruby says the company has adjusted the pipeline's route more than 300 times.

“We've adjusted the route to avoid wildlife habitats, public and private drinking water sources, and a number of other sensitive resources,” says Ruby.

Ruby says the company has done everything it can to minimize harmful environmental impacts.

"This agreement is going to provide tens of millions of dollars in funding for wildlife protection, for historic preservation, and other important environmental initiatives,” says Ruby.

Dominion Energy is providing an additional $10 million for historical preservation. It has reached a similar mitigation agreement with North Carolina, and is finalizing an agreement with West Virginia.


From the Deputy Secretary of the Governor's Office of Natural Resources:

The total mitigation for forest fragmentation impacts is $57,850,000. This will be split into two buckets:

1. Forest Conservation: $38,650,000

The entities that will receive and manage the funds for this bucket include:

  • Virginia Outdoors Foundation: $24,650,000
  • U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: $9,000,000
  • Charlottesville Area Community Foundation: $5,000,000

2. Water Quality: $19,200,000

The entities that will receive and manage the funds for this bucket include:

  • Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts: $11,500,000
  • Virginia Environmental Endowment: $7,000,000
  • U.S. Geological Survey: $700,000
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