Dominion responds to FERC halting construction on Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Published: Aug. 13, 2018 at 5:34 PM EDT
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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered a halt to all construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline last Friday. This order, based on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit that judges ruled was "arbitrary and capricious," was mandated through a letter to Dominion Energy – the pipeline's lead developer.

The FERC letter demands that all construction be stopped until permit issues are resolved.

The letter was sent just days after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

for building the pipeline.

The first permit dealt with the pipeline tunneling under the Blue Ridge Parkway. According to FERC, the agency had not explained how the pipeline will fit its mandate of public land conservation.

The second permit was vacated due to the pipeline's impact on five endangered species.

Anti-pipeline activists in the Shenandoah Valley responded to the halt saying this puts them one step closer to their goal.

Nancy Sorrells, co-chair of the Augusta County Alliance, said, "It's one victory in a long battle that's still continuing, We've got a lot of work left to do."

"This won't make make Dominion go away and we're not going away either," she added.

Dominion Energy spokesman Aaron Ruby released a statement on behalf of the company in response to FERC's letter, which you can read below:

§ We are already working with the key agencies to resolve the issues in FERC’s order so we can resume construction as soon as possible. We are confident these issues can be resolved quickly without causing unnecessary delay to the project. § The National Park Service can quickly reissue its permit for crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway based on the extensive public record already in place. § The Fish & Wildlife Service already has all of the information necessary to issue a revised Incidental Take Statement, and we expect the agency will do so shortly. § The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is critical to the economic and environmental future of our region, and we are working as quickly as we can to get construction back underway and avoid unnecessary delays. Public utilities in our region are depending on this infrastructure to meet the real and urgent needs of the millions of customers they serve. § Delaying this infrastructure will force consumers and businesses to pay higher energy costs, slow down the transition to cleaner energy, and deprive public utilities of the reliable energy they need to heat homes and power businesses. In the stop work order itself, FERC makes it clear that the order is temporary and expresses confidence that the agencies will re-issue the permits: § “There is no reason to believe that the National Park Service, as the land managing agency, will not be able to comply with the Court’s instructions and to ultimately issue a new right-of-way grant that satisfies the Court’s requirements, or that Fish & Wildlife Service will not be able to issue an Incidental Take Statement that does likewise.”