Dominion's Atlantic Coast Pipeline Delayed as Costs Rise $1.5 Billion From Original Estimates

Dominion Energy said on Friday that the estimated cost of its Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina will rise from $7 billion to $7.5 billion in addition to announcing that the expected completion date will be delayed to early 2021.

The project was originally said to be completed by late 2019 and cost an estimated $6.0 billion to $6.5 billion.

“We remain highly confident in the successful and timely resolution of all outstanding permit issues as well as the ultimate completion of the entire project,” Dominion Chief Executive Thomas Farrell said an earnings release, adding that the company was “actively pursuing multiple paths to resolve all outstanding permit issues..”

Dominion said it expects construction on the full 600-mile route to resume during the third quarter of 2019, with partial in-service in late 2020.


Dominion Energy Suspends 600-Mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Dominion Energy will be voluntarily suspending construction on their 600-mile route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the company announced.

Dominion filed its decision with the FERC after citing a stay of implementation regarding a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A spokesman for Dominion Energy said that the construction will be suspended until they receive more clarity from the court. He added that Dominion will be filing a motion for emergency clarification on the scope of the court’s decision.

Construction was temporarily halted earlier this year after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cited concerns over five endangered species. The new citations have halted the entire 600-miles of the project, but Dominion’s spokesman believes that the case involves a much narrower scope of the project.

The pipeline would begin in West Virginia and span 600 miles through parts of Virginia, including Augusta County, and into North Carolina.


Atlantic Coast Pipeline Receives Final State Approval For Construction

Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality has given the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s proposed erosion, sediment control and storm water management plan the final approval on Friday.

The approval gives Dominion Energy the key permit it needs to continue constructing the 600-mile pipeline that stretches from West Virginia, through Virginia, and into North Carolina. Construction on the other two states has already begun, and tree-cutting took place in Virginia earlier this year.

The Erosion and Sediment Control, Storm Water Management and Karst Protection plans specify engineering designs that will protect water quality during and after pipeline construction.

According to a release by Dominion, the approval allows the state’s water quality certification to take effect. The certification is the final state approval needed to begin pipeline construction in Virginia.

The ACP will now request a notice to proceed with full construction from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


Dominion Hopeful that Court Decision will not Result in Construction Delay

Dominion Energy Inc said on Tuesday that it does not expect a court decision to stay a federal permit on part of its Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline.

A stay would delay the construction of the $6-6.5 billion project from West Virginia to North Carolina past the aimed completion date which is currently the end of 2019.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an order on Monday, staying implementation of a permit from the U.S. Forest Service for the pipeline that authorized construction and operation of Atlantic Coast on national forest lands in Virginia and West Virginia.

Only 20 miles of the 600-mile pipeline is affected by the permit, Dominion said. It is designed to carry 1.5-billion cubic feet per day.

“While we respectfully disagree with the Court’s ruling, it will not have a significant impact on our construction schedule,” Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby said in an email.

 “We will continue working in all other areas of West Virginia and North Carolina, where we are making significant progress,” Ruby said.

The Southern Environmental Law Center asked FERC on Tuesday to stop the entire project based on the last ruling.

It was the third time in four months that the court has vacated or stayed federal authorizations for Atlantic Coast, the Southern Environmental Law center pointed out in its FERC filing.

“Opponents’ delay tactics will not stop this project. They will only drive up consumer energy costs, delay the transition to cleaner energy, and make it harder for public utilities to reliably serve their customers,” Ruby said, noting “We will complete this project.”


Atlantic Coast Pipeline Only a Few Finishing Touches Away From Being Active

The owner of the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline has asked federal regulators for permission to activate the pipeline on September 10.

If approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the pipeline would transport natural gas from fracking wells in northeastern Pennsylvania south through a 42-inch, nearly 183-mile pipe to the existing Transco pipeline in Lancaster county near Holtwood.

Around 37 miles of the pipeline is in Lancaster County.

Gas is scheduled to go from Holtwood to markets along the eastern seaboard as far south as Alabama. There will also be some that is exported overseas from the Cove Point liquid natural gas facility near Baltimore.

Oklahoma-based William Partners estimated that the pipeline would be ready for gas by the end of August, but there were some delays in final landscaping work due to recent heavy rains that resulted in final cleanup and restoration work above ground being prolonged, the company said in its filing.

The company told FERC that it has developed a plan to expedite the remaining restoration activities after rain damaged some of the completed section of the pipeline rights of way above ground.

The above ground restoration is not expected to be completed until October, although it will have no effect on the below-ground pipeline if it is transporting gas, a Williams spokesman said.

Lancaster Online

Regulators Decline Reconsidering MVP and Atlantic Coast Pipeline Water Permits

A regulatory panel declined a request to consider re-evaluating or revoking water-quality permits for two natural gas pipelines after environmental groups, landowners, and other critics argued the Corps’ review process being overly broad.

The Department of Environmental Quality defended the process, and both pipeline companies say the review has been rigorous.

Initially, the board weighted a motion to consider revoking the permits but voted it down.

The State Water Control Board met Tuesday in Richmond to consider the comments it solicited earlier this year regarding the permits granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines.

Staff from the DEQ gave an overview of the thousands of comments received in addition to having the board hear from attendees of the hearing which was raucous and contentious at times.

The Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines have gathered many opponents because of their routes and have battled setbacks involving permits.

Radio IQ

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Not Allowed to Pass Blue Ridge Parkway, Construction Delayed

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s right-of-way given by the National Park Service granting permission to cross underneath the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia has been revoked on Monday by a federal appeals court.

Although the construction for the project has already begun in North Carolina and West Virginia, the decision by the three-judge panel will cause some delay.

The argument by the Sierra Club and the Virginia Wilderness Committee was that the National Park Service didn’t have the authority to grant the right-of-way for the gas pipeline, despite the National Park Service overseeing the parkway. This, the environmental groups contended, violated the agency’s mandate of conservation.

It is still not clear how long the delay will last.

A spokeswoman for Duke Energy, a partner company of the pipeline, said that the ruling confirms the National Park Service has the authority to issue the permit, but requires the agency to correct errors and omissions first.

She added , “We will work with the agencies to resolve the Fourth Circuit Court’s concerns and reinstate our permits as soon as possible,” McGee said in an emailed statement. “We believe the Court’s concerns can be promptly addressed through additional review by the agencies without causing unnecessary delay to the project in the meantime.”

The natural gas pipeline will run over 600 miles from West Virginia to North Carolina.

News Observer

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Construction Expected to Start in September

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) in Robeson County is expected to begin construction sometime in September; although, Dominion Energy has said that there is no specific date.

Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and Southern Company Gas are partners in the construction of a $5 billion, 600-mile pipeline that will move fracked natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina to a point close to Pembroke. The go-ahead to begin construction was given on Tuesday by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

It is estimated that the pipeline’s builders will need 13,000 workers to construct the pipeline and have entered an agreement with four unions to recruit and train future workers. Job seekers can go to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline page to find more information on applying for jobs needed to help ACP partners build the pipeline.

County leaders have hailed the ACP for being beneficial to the economy when it becomes operational. It is expected to bring in about $900,000 in property tax revenue.

Critics have said that the pipeline is not only a local environmental threat, but also that demand for natural gas is not sufficient enough to warrant the construction. 

The Robesonian

Environmentalists Oppose FERC Approval of $6.5 Billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is being opposed by environmental groups claiming it violates the federal Endangered Species Act.

The environmental groups called on FERC to halt construction, although FERC authorized the construction work in West Virginia last month. Developers of the $6.5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline say they should be free to continue construction permitted by the FERC in areas that are not affected by the endangered species requirements.

The environmental groups say that the FERC’s decision to permit construction is invalid because of the Fish and Wildfire Service’s “incidental take statement”, which sets a limit on the damage that can occur to endangered species across the 600-mile route.

The environmental groups want a new hearing to be held regarding the project’s continuation.

Dominion Energy’s Spokesman says that the project should move forward and is confident in its approval.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a joint venture of Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, and Southern Co. 

Seeking Alpha
Charlotte Business Journal

Federal Appeals Court Rules Key Permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline is Invalid

A federal appeals court on Tuesday sided with pipeline opponents by ruling that a key U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was too vague and therefore invalid.

The federal review, known as an incidental take statement that is meant to set limits on killing threatened or endangered species during pipeline construction and operation, was not enforceable due to its lack of clarity, said the three-judge 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Most of the construction for the pipeline will require clearing a 125-foot right of way, which works out to be 11,775 acres of land for the project. The construction is expected to harm eight threatened or endangered species as well as kill six protected animal species.

The harming or killing of protected species violates the federal Endangered Species Act unless the pipeline company is issued a valid incidental take statement by the Fish and Wildlife Service, which enforces clear and non-discretionary limits.

Pipeline project head Dominion Energy said the ruling covers only part of the proposed 600-mile pipeline and that it would press on in areas where it could while it reviews the court decision.

Richmond Times-Dispatch

FERC Gives Atlantic Coast Pipeline Greenlight to Begin Full Construction in West Virginia

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday gave developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline permission to begin full construction on the roughly $6 billion project in specific parts of West Virginia.

The pipeline developers, headed by Dominion Energy and other partners, have permission to begin full construction in areas where rights-of-ways have been obtained and where tree clearing has been completed or is not needed.

This notice is the first time Dominion has been given permission to commence "full" construction of any section of the 600-mile pipeline.

The Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline will travel from Harrison County in West Virginia, southeast through Virginia with an extension to Chesapeake, and then south through North Carolina to Robeson County, according to the pipeline fact book.

The project is slated to be done at the end of 2019.

Charlotte Business Journal

Virginia Regulators Want to Hear Publics' Opinion on NatGas Pipeline Reviews

Virginia regulators are asking for the public's opinion about whether they believe the water quality approvals granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for two natural gas pipelines are sound enough to protect the state's waterways.

The State Water Control Board last week approved a 30-day period for the public to comment on the approvals for both the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines that are designed to travel through Virginia.

Opponents of the pipeline projects have argued that the Corps' review process was not detailed enough and that the Department of Environmental Quality should have studied the pipelines' effects stream by stream.

The Department of Environmental Quality said its review and the Corps' review of the projects will be adequately protective.

The department said it would provide the public details on how to comment on the review in "the near future."

Houston Chronicle

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Denied Deadline Extension Request for Tree Clearing Along Route

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Wednesday denied an Atlantic Coast Pipeline request to extend the deadline for clearing trees along the pipeline route.

The natural gas pipeline developer was given a March 31 deadline to clear trees in West Virginia as a safety measure to protect migratory birds and other wildlife.

FERC said in its decision that extending the deadline would have an ecological impact, which would be in disagreement with the pipeline developer Dominion Energy's application stating that it would minimize impacts on both migratory birds and threated and endangered species.

Though the request was denied, Dominion spokesperson Aaron Ruby said the company prepares for contingencies like this and will shift other construction plans around to keep the project on track.

The $5.1 billion Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline is designed to span 600 miles through West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina.

West Virginia Metro News

Atlantic Coast Pipeline is Granted Another Permit in North Carolina, Needs One More

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline cleared another regulatory hurdle on Tuesday after it received an air quality permit from the state of North Carolina, bringing the 600-mile natural gas pipeline one step closer to receiving all of its necessary permits.

The Department of Environmental Quality granted the developers of the project with an air quality permit for a Northampton County compressor station, saying station emissions would be within acceptable thresholds.

A compressor station uses pressure to push gas down the pipe to final destinations.

Developers of the project are still awaiting a state stormwater permit from North Carolina.

The 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline is designed to carry natural gas from West Virginia into North Carolina. Its lead developer is Dominion Energy with partners Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Southern Company Gas.

The Washington Post

Duke Energy: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Cost Expected to Increase by More than $1 Billion

The cost of the 600-mile Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline is expected to increase by more than $1 billion due to delays in the permitting process, according to Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good.

The Atlantic Coast pipeline, lead by Dominion Energy with partners Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Southern Company Gas, is now up to at least $6 billion in cost, said Good on Thursday during an earnings call.

A spokesman for Dominion Energy would not confirm the new estimate.

Duke Energy expects Atlantic Coast Pipeline's cost to increase by up to $1.5 billion before it's complete, which is expected in 2019.

The 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline is designed to carry natural gas across West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.

US News

Dominion Energy Agrees to Pay $58 Million for Environmental Impacts Related to Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Pipeline developer Dominion Energy has agreed to spend $58 million in mitigation efforts to help offset the impact of its 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline project in Virginia.

The $5 billion natural gas pipeline, which has received most of its key permits, is designed to start in West Virginia and run through Virginia and North Carolina.

The project would require tree removal, the blasting and leveling of ridgetops, and would run through hundreds of bodies of water and other sensitive terrain.

The state of Virginia has negotiated with the pipeline developer four major mitigation efforts with one being to help diminish the effects of forest fragmentation and related impacts on water quality.

Dominion will also pay $10 million in mitigation funds for impacts to historic resources and purchase new land for a wildlife management area and an outdoor organization in exchange for pipeline crossing properties under protective easements.


Atlantic Coast NatGas Pipeline Clears Another Hurdle After Water Permit Approval

North Carolina's environmental agency on Friday issued a water quality certification for the $5 billion Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina.

The 600-mile natural gas pipeline is being built by both Dominion Energy and Duke Energy to carry 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in West Virginia to customers in Virginia and North Carolina.

A water permit was required from North Carolina regulators because the pipeline is designed to cross about 320 waterways.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline still needs other federal, state, and local environmental protection permits before construction can begin.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has strong support from business leaders and politicians in all three states through which it will cross, but it is also strongly opposed by environmental groups like the Sierra Club who says it will continue fighting the project.

Houston Chronicle

Virginia Grants Conditional Approval for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Permit

The Virginia State Water Control Board voted 4-3 to approve a conditional Clean Water Act permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, contingent on getting more information about the project's impact on water quality.

The permit will only take effect after several additional studies, including one on erosion and sediment control as well as stormwater management, are approved by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Pipeline construction in the state also cannot start until the erosion and sediment control plan is completed and approved, which could be as late as March or April of next year.

The approximately $5 billion, 600-mile natural gas pipeline is being developed by Dominion Energy along with other utilities. It would travel from Harrison County, West Virginia, run to Greensville County, Virginia, and continue south into eastern North Carolina.

Houston Chronicle

North Carolina Regulators Request Additional Information on Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is asking the developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for more information for an air quality permit this week, slowing down the permit process needed for construction.

The original permit deadline of December 15 has been extended, according to reports. The permit approval now depends on sending and reviewing the information.

The state Department of Environmental Quality has already submitted four rounds of questions to the pipeline builders over a water quality permit.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is being pursued by Dominion Energy and other utilities. The proposed pipeline would transport natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina.

Houston Chronicle

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Receives Key Permit, Pushes Onward

The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline has moved another step forward after receiving a key federal permit on Friday.

The U.S. Forest Service granted approval for the Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline to pass through the George Washington National Forest and Monongahela National Forest, which is a major step toward the pipeline's final approval.

About 21 miles of the project route are located on Natural Forest Service lands. The project is a planned 600-mile system and also crosses the Appalachian Trail.

FERC approved the Atlantic Coast Pipeline last month along with two other pipeline projects. Now the pipeline awaits key water certifications in North Carolina and Virginia.

The $5 billion project is designed to run through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.

Some environmentalists oppose the approval granted by the U.S. Forest Service and said they would challenge the permit.