Brief History of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
With how often the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been in the news lately, it may be helpful to revisit the projects relevant history:
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (“ACP”) is a 42-inch natural gas pipeline that will run 600 miles of underground pipeline through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC is the result of a joint venture between Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Southern Company Gas. Dominion Energy is the majority stakeholder in the joint venture. The finalized route for the ACP will begin in Harrison County, West Virginia, then it will travel through Virginia with a lateral connection extending to Chesapeake, Virginia, and then continue south into eastern North Carolina, ending in Robeson County. The primary purpose for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be to move natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale basins to provide energy security to Virginia and North Carolina; who’s demand for energy is projected to increase according to the developers of this pipeline.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is an independent agency, whose duties include reviewing applications for the construction and operation of interstate transmissions of electricity, natural gas, and oil as authorized by Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act. The building of liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines are in the purview of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. When approved the agency will issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity sanctioning the building of the pipeline and granting the developer the power to use eminent domain. If the developer is unable to purchase the property owner’s land privately, then the developer can forcefully take a right of way easement using the power granted to it by the agency. In the case of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on October 13, 2017, issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the construction and operation of the project of the pipeline.
· Atlantic Coast Pipeline, About ACP, https://atlanticcoastpipeline.com/about/default.aspx.
· Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Why Natural Gas?, https://atlanticcoastpipeline.com/about/why-natural-gas.aspx.
Timeline of Recent Events
· August 6, 2018: U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, revoked two key permits, one from the Fish and Wildlife Service for the protection of endangered species and another from the National Park Service regarding crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway.
· August 10, 2018: FERC issues a “stop work order” on “all portions” of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
· September 17, 2018: FERC issues a letter resuming the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
· STILL Pending Permits: Erosion and Sediment Control permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
Juan Abad, Laura Hoey, Mark Short