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FERC authorizes Dominion to restart Atlantic Coast Pipeline construction

Photo of the 'March to the Mansion' of protesters against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in 2016 :...
Photo of the 'March to the Mansion' of protesters against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in 2016 : Chesapeake Climate Action Network(WHSV)
Published: Sep. 17, 2018 at 4:24 PM EDT
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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says work can resume on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.

Construction was

due to a federal court vacating two permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.

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 hailed the temporary halt as a victory, but Dominion Energy said they were "confident these issues can be resolved quickly without causing unnecessary delay to the project."

On Sept. 11, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a revised biological opinion, including a modified Incidental Take Statement.

Then, on Sept. 14, the National Park Service issued a new right-of-way permit for where the pipeline will cross the Blue Ridge Parkway.

With these new filings, FERC says construction activities along areas where there had previously been a notice to proceed may now continue.

"We are pleased to get back to work on this very important public infrastructure project," wrote Dominion spokesperson Aaron Ruby in a statement. "With FERC's approval today, we are mobilizing our crews immediately to resume construction as authorized. We are closely monitoring weather conditions across the project footprint and will of course only resume work in areas where it is safe to do so and where weather conditions permit. We commend the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service for promptly addressing the issues raised by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and FERC's Stop Work Order. The agencies have reaffirmed that the project does not threaten any federally protected species and is consistent with the public use of the Blue Ridge Parkway."

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will extend 600 miles from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina and transport natural gas.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, a separate pipeline project which will pass through southwest Virginia,

for the duration of Florence's effects in order to focus on stabilizing the right-of-way and enhancing erosion controls.