FERC scoping period, public meetings set for ACP proposed alternate route

FERC has announced an additional scoping period for communities impacted by the GW-6 and other recently adopted alternative routes for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
The scoping period will be open until June 2.
Two public meetings have been scheduled in Pocahontas and Bath counties: Friday, May 20, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Marlinton Community Wellness Center, 320 Ninth Street in Marlinton; and Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Bath County High School, 464 Charger Lane in Hot Springs, Virginia.
On May 3 FERC issued a Supplemental Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement and proposed Land and Resource Plan Amendment(s) for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a Request for Comments on Environmental Issues related to the new route and facility modifications as well as the notice of public scoping meetings.
The notice includes the following information: On March 1, 2016, Atlantic filed an amendment to its application to incorporate route and facility modifications in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.
The Supplemental Notice is being issued to seek comments on environmental issues specific to these modifications FERC’s environmental impact statement (EIS) will encompass all proposed facilities and will be used by the Commission in its decision-making process to determine whether the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Supply Header Project are in the public convenience and necessity.

Summary of Project Modifications

In its amended application, Atlantic proposes a major route change through the Monongahela and George Washington national forest that would affect landowners in Randolph and Pocahontas counties, and Highland, Bath, and Augusta counties in Virginia. Other, smaller route changes proposed in the amendment would affect landowners in Nelson and Dinwiddie Counties, Virginia; and Cumberland and Johnston Counties, North Carolina. The amended facilities would increase the total length of the pipeline from about 556 miles to 599.7 miles.
To reduce potential impacts on the Cheat Mountain salamander, West Virginia Northern flying squirrel, and Cow Knob salamander, and to avoid sensitive habitats and land uses, Atlantic incorporated the GWNF 6 Alternative into its proposed pipeline route between AP-1 mileposts (MPs) 47.5 and 115.2. Relative to Atlantic’s originally proposed route, the GWNF 6 Route Modification initially heads south approximately 13 miles,passing east of Hicks Ridge and west of Kumbrabow State Forest. The route continues south/southeast approximately 13 miles, crossing Point Mountain and passing east of Elk Mountain and Mingo Knob. The route enters Pocahontas County southeast of Mingo Knob at Valley Mountain, and continues south approximately eight miles, crossing Mace, Tallow, and Gibson Knobs, passing west of the Snowshoe Ski Resort. South of Gibson Knob, the route heads southeast approximately 17 miles, passing south of Cheat Mountain and Back Allegheny Mountain; crossing Cloverlick Mountain, Seneca State Forest, and Michael Mountain; and entering Highland County, Virginia just west of Big Crooked Ridge.

Snowshoe Route Adjustment
Atlantic incorporated the Snowshoe Route Variation into its proposed route
between AP-1 MPs 66.7 and 70.1 to avoid modeled habitat for the Cheat Mountain salamander and the Cheat Mountain Civil War Battlefield, as well as reducing the amount of forest land and other sensitive environmental features crossed. Relative to Atlantic’s originally proposed route, the Snowshoe Route Variation initially heads west/southwest for 0.8 mile, crossing the main ridge on Valley Mountain, then continuing for
approximately 2.6 miles, descending Valley Mountain, crossing Dry Fork Spring and Middle Mountain, and entering the valley along Big Fork Spring. The route then crosses Highway 56 in the valley, and continues to the south/southwest for approximately 1.3 miles, ascending Tallow Knob and reconnecting to the originally proposed route.

Public Participation
Comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. The more specific the comments, the more useful they will be. To ensure that comments are timely and properly recorded, send comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington DC on or before June 2, 2016. Individuals or groups who have previously provided comments on the ACP or Supply Header Projects, need not resubmit them.
The USFS is participating as a cooperating agency with the FERC in this public scoping process. With this notice, the USFS is requesting public comments on the issuance of the ROW Grant that would allow the ACP to occupy federal land. The USFS
is also requesting public comments on the potential amendments of USFS LRMPs to make provision for the ACP right-of-way on the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests.
Comments on actions by the USFS should be submitted through the FERC
comment process and within the timeline described. The submission of timely and specific comments can affect a reviewer’s ability to participate in subsequent administrative or judicial review of USFS decisions. Comments concerning USFS
actions submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, such
anonymous submittals will not provide the commenters with standing to participate in administrative or judicial review of USFS decisions.
Various methods may be used to submit comments to the Commission. In all instances, please reference the appropriate project docket number (CP15-554-000 for the ACP) with each submission.
Comments may be filed electronically using the eComment feature or the eFiling feature located on the Commission’s website (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings.
Paper copies of comments may be mailed to:
Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street NE, Room 1A
Washington, DC 20426

Recent Filing
Subsequent to scheduling the additional scoping period and public meetings which pertain to the March 1 filing, ACP just last week adopted additional adjustments to the alternate route.
ACP submitted a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission May 6 with several adjustments to the GWNF-6 alternative route.
According to Dominion Energy Media Relations Manager Aaron Ruby, the adjustments were made in order to reduce environmental impacts, address landowner requests and improve constructibility.
“Over the last few months Dominion has met with hundreds of landowners and local residents in the community, and with the permission of landowners, they have surveyed roughly 75 miles of the 95-mile GWNF-6 alternative route, Ruby relayed. “The route adjustments submitted Friday were adopted based on the valuable input received from landowners and information collected from the field surveys.
“Specifically, these route adjustments will reduce impacts to sensitive karst features, avoid natural springs and other water sources, address several landowner requests and move the route further away from homes and businesses. The adjustments will impact 20 new landowners in Randolph and Pocahontas counties and Highland, Bath and Augusta counties in Virginia. The adjustments add less than a mile to the proposed route, and impact fewer landowners than the original GWNF-6 route.”

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