Regulators Release Environmental Assessment of Atlantic Coast Pipeline
An environmental assessment of the proposed Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline finds the project would have some adverse effects, including impacts on water resources.
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, came out with its full assessment on the proposed Atlantic coast Pipeline on July 21.
While dominion says the report is the final step it needs to move forward with the project, environmental groups say the pipeline is not necessary.
The 866 page environmental assessment came out this morning on the pipeline that would cross the Shenandoah Valley and central Virginia. In the report, FERC notes that the pipeline would cause some harmful effects to the area.
It could affect aspects of the area like water resources, forest habitats, as well as endangered species.
But it also says if developers use proper construction and mitigation techniques, most of those impacts could be reduced to "less-than-significant" levels.
Dominion Energy is taking the report as a positive, local environmental groups are not convinced.
"The report concludes that the pipeline can be built safely and with minimal impacts to the environment … this is really a significant step forward for the project and we think it gives us a clear path forward to receive final approval this fall,” said Aaron Ruby, with Dominion Energy.
“Between our company and our lead construction company, we have more than 200 years of combined experience safely building pipelines through the rugged mountainous terrain of West Virginia and western Pennsylvania and that’ s very similar to the terrain that we are going to encounter for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” said Ruby.
Environmental groups say years of experience are not enough to justify the project.
"While dominion may say they have a lot of experience building pipelines on steep slopes. Again this is the first of its kind of project. It is absolutely massive,” said Cathryn McCue, with Appalachian Voices.
Dominion says FERC’s report provides a clear path forward.
"The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is absolutely essential to the economic vitality, the environmental health and the energy security of the region. This project is going to provide cleaner electricity and affordable home heating to millions of Virginians,” said Ruby.
This report will be used in making the final decision about whether to approve the 600-mile pipeline. That decision will be made by the federal entities.