Atlantic Coast Pipe-line, LLC, (Atlantic) formally applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) September 18 for permission to build a 564-mile interstate natural gas transmission pipeline.
Four major U.S. energy companies – Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources – formed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, to build and own the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is being asked to certify the public benefit and necessity of the project.
The FERC and a number of participating agencies will examine a broad number of issues, including public safety, air quality, water resources, geology, soils, wildlife and vegetation, threatened and endangered species, land and visual resources, cultural and historic resources, noise, cumulative impacts and reasonable alternatives.
According to a press release from Dominion, the pipeline would transport abundant natural gas supplies from Harrison County in West Virginia, southeast through Virginia with an extension to Chesapeake, Virginia, and south through central North Carolina to Robeson County.
Pending regulatory approval, construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2016 and the pipeline is expected to be in service in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The 30,000-page application, environmental resource reports and exhibits – a stack of paper more than 10 feet tall – is the culmination of an extensive study by Dominion and outside experts and includes public input concerning the best route to bring the much-needed energy to Virginia and North Carolina. Atlantic considered more than 3,000 miles of potential routes and made hundreds of route adjustments based on discussions with landowners, public officials and others. Atlantic has participated in more than 60 public meetings involving thousands of interested individuals, agencies and organizations.
“We are committed to excellence in every aspect of this important project,” said Diane Leopold, president of Dominion Energy. “We will continue to work with landowners, government and community leaders, regulators and others to address concerns and refine the project.
Atlantic has strong support from West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory as well as other federal, state and local officials.
In addition, a three-state coalition of more than 150 business and labor organizations – EnergySure – recently announced its support for the project and the economic development that it is projected to create.
Dominion owns 45 percent of Atlantic; Duke Energy, 40 percent; Piedmont, 10 percent; and AGL Resources, five percent. Utility subsidiaries and affiliates of all four companies plus PSNC Energy have signed on as customers of the pipeline. Ninety-six percent of the pipeline’s capacity is subscribed by these companies.
Virginia Natural Gas, the subsidiary of AGL Resources in Hampton Roads, says it needs more natural gas to meet customer demand especially during peak times in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, two of Virginia’s most heavily populated cities.
For Piedmont Natural Gas, Atlantic will provide access to abundant, low-cost natural gas supplies from a geographically diverse production region and will help the company meet growing demand for natural gas in its Carolina markets.
“Finding markets for the abundant natural gas supply in West Virginia is a positive step, and I remain optimistic that we will be able to capitalize on the gas and its byproducts to expand manufacturing in our state,” West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said. “As this process continues, I look forward to working with officials from Dominion and their partners to ensure appropriate community involvement and maximize opportunities to provide natural gas service to areas of West Virginia that need it.”
The filing consists of the application and finals of the environmental Resource Reports concerning Water Use and Quality, Fish, Wildlife and Vegetation, Cultural Resource, Socioeconomics, Geological Resources, Soils, Land Use, Recreation and Aesthetics, Air and Noise Quality, Route Alternatives, Reliability and Safety and PCB Contamination.
The proposed route will traverse 81 miles in West Virginia, 287 miles in Virginia, including a lateral route to Hampton Roads; and 196 miles through North Carolina.
When completed, the permanent 75 foot pipeline easement, permanent above ground facility sites and access roads will total 5,187 acres.
Dominion has completed surveying about 85 percent of a proposed route that meets the operational and reliability needs while minimizing the impact on the environment as well as historical and cultural resources. Atlantic will file supplemental information with the FERC when surveying is completed and propose a final route.