The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a $5 billion project led by Dominion Resources to develop a 600-mile 42-inch compressed natural gas pipeline to move shale gas from West Virginia to eastern Virginia and North Carolina. Three other energy companies, including Duke Energy, are partners in the project.
Dominion’s preferred route crosses Augusta and Nelson Counties, passing through Wintergreen and the surrounding areas. The ACP will also intersect with the Transco pipeline which will give it a direct route to Dominion’s Cove Point Liquid Natural Gas Export facility.
The ACP and the Wintergreen Area
Starting on September 18, 2015 and continuing through May of 2016, Dominion filed a cumulative 42,000-page application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking permission to build this pipeline, in part through the Wintergreen area.
Two years of pipeline construction will bring heavy trucks, cranes, bulldozers, rock blasting, 40-foot-long pipes that will be stored in large staging areas, new access roads, a large drilling area for a one-mile tunnel under the Blue Ridge Parkway, and a 125-foot-wide clear-cut pathway (the width of I-64) to make room for the pipes.
Quick facts about Dominion’s pipeline proposal
|Atlantic Coast Pipeline|
|Operator||Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC|
|Owners||Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, AGL Resources|
|Type||Mostly 42” compressed natural gas, some smaller sizes|
|Capacity||1.5 cu feet/day|
|Cost to build||$5.1 billion|
|Operating Profits Per Year||$220 million for 20 years|
|Construction (if approved)|
|Easement during construction||125 feet|
|Easement after construction||75 feet|
|Trees lost in Wintergreen Area||7,000|
|Explosion Blast Radius||1/5 of a mile|
|% on private property||94%|
|% on Existing Right-of-Ways||6% — mainline routes (Industry Average>50%)|
|Virginia Permanent Jobs After Construction||39 (None in Nelson County)|
The FERC official review and approval process can take up to a year or more, during which time organizations like Friends of Wintergreen can submit legal, environmental and engineering challenges and alternate solutions. Below is the calendar for 2016 and beyond:
|2016||August||FERC sets calendar and deliverables for DEIS|
|December 31||FERC issues DEIS|
|2017||February||Public comment period|
|July||FERC issues EIS|
|November||Construction begins (if approved)|
|2019||December||Pipeline operational (if approved)|
Friends of Wintergreen has already filed eight significant briefs with FERC demonstrating with hard data the adverse consequences of the pipeline on the Wintergreen area and some better route solutions.
- Sept 18, 2015 – Dominion Initial Application
- Oct 23, 2015 – FOW Intervention and Protest (with exhibits)
- Dec 29, 2015 – FOW Motion for Leave to Answer Friends of Wintergreen
- May 16, 2016 – FOW Motion Summarizing Less Damaging Routes (with exhibits)
- Aug 26, 2016 – FOW Disputes Dominion Route Analysis and Seeks FERC Independent Evaluation
- Sept 12, 2016 – FOW Comments on Spruce Creek Route Variation
- Nov 22, 2016 — FOW Comments on USFS requirements and steep slopes
- Dec 30, 2016 — FERC Draft Environmental Impact Statement( Large File — 222 MB)
- Feb 25, 2017 — WPOA letter providing geological study and related issues
- Mar 24, 2017 — FOW Comments on Draft Environmental Impact Statement
- May 25, 2017 — FOW Letter Regarding Dominion’s Lack of Responsiveness to Data Requests
If approved by FERC, the pipeline will be built over two years, bringing heavy trucks, cranes, bulldozers, rock blasting, 40-foot-long pipes that will be stored in large staging areas, new access roads, a large drilling area for a one-mile tunnel under the Blue Ridge Parkway, and a 125-foot-wide clear-cut pathway (the width of I-64) to make room for the pipes.
The significant and permanent harm resulting from locating the ACP along the proposed route extends into and beyond the Wintergreen community. There are economic, environmental, and safety consequences for many areas.