Both Sides Research New Atlantic Coast Pipeline Statement
Both sides in the battle to build a natural gas pipeline through central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley are pouring through thousands of pages in a study filed by federal regulators.
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Both sides in the battle to build a natural gas pipeline through central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley are pouring through thousands of pages in a study filed by federal regulators.
The Federal Energy Regulator Commission (FERC) released its three-volume draft environmental impact statement on the pipeline Friday. FERC says it evaluated 14 alternative routes for the pipeline, including building it in existing rights-of-ways.
The draft statement rules out all of those alternatives. The statement says the 42-inch natural gas pipeline would not significantly affect public safety.
People who are against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline say they find the report irresponsible. Property owners told FERC their concerns about explosions and landslides. FERC’s draft dismisses community fears that the project would harm the Rockfish Valley's history and prevent future development at Wintergreen.
Opponents of the pipeline feel like the feds ignored their concerns.
“We've spent the last two and a half years documenting those very carefully and have done a very good job, and FERC says they've considered it and dismissed it,” said Nancy Sorrells of the Augusta County Alliance.
“We do believe that the FERC has validated the public need for the project and has agreed that we can mitigate the route and protect the public and natural resources,” said said Jen Kostyniuk, the communications director for Dominion Energy.
Dominion expects FERC to issue its final environmental impact statement in June. It will help commissioners decide whether to approve the pipeline.
FERC will hold public meetings starting in February for people to comment on the draft in person. The meetings closest to central Virginia are in Farmville, Lovingston, and Staunton.