Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Backed ; U.S. Energy Regulator Sees Minimal W.Va. Environmental Impact If Rules Followed

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Backed ; U.S. Energy Regulator Sees Minimal W.Va. Environmental Impact If Rules Followed

Article excerpt

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff released a favorable draft report on the environmental impact of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline project Friday, a major step toward approval of the construction that would go through national forests in West Virginia. The executive summary of the statement released by the FERC staff said construction of the pipeline - and the related Supply Header Project - would result in "some adverse and significant environmental impacts.

However, the FERC staff said these effects "would be reduced to less-than-significant levels, if the developers follow the measures described in their plans and comply with inspection and monitoring programs to minimize disturbance. The only exception would be forest vegetation, the statement said.

The staff said its conclusions are based on the implementations of these measures, which include complying with the Endangered Species Act prior to any construction and providing mitigation for impact on bodies of water and wetlands through coordination with regulatory agencies.

The $5.1 billion pipeline spearheaded by Dominion Energy would begin in Harrison County, pumping natural gas from the Marcellus Shale layer through Virginia and into southeastern North Carolina, where the pipeline ends.

The path of the pipeline has changed more than 300 times following objections from federal agencies and landowners. The Gazette-Mail reported in February that the developers' proposed re- route, which would move part of the pipeline out of the Monongahela and George Washington national forests, would add 30 miles to the length of the 564-mile pipeline and affect 249 landowners in Pocahontas and Randolph counties.

Opposition groups released a joint statement condemning the FERC report, saying there is not enough demand in Virginia and North Carolina, whose public utilities receive the gas, to justify the construction of a pipeline that could permanently damage the environment. …

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