Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Living with your parents has its perks, especially when Mom cleans up your mess.  Want to cook a pan of brownies?  Go ahead, Mom will clean the kitchen.  Want to go to the lake with friends?  Go ahead, Mom will do the laundry.  Want to cut an almost 600 Mile trench across the state?  Go ahead, Mother Nature will forgive you….

Or maybe not. 

Atlantic Coast Pipeline applies for FERC permission to build

HOUSTON, Sept. 21


By OGJ editors


Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC applied to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to build its 564-mile interstate natural gas transmission pipeline. The pipeline—owned by Dominion 45%, Duke Energy 40%, Piedmont Natural Gas 10%, and AGL Resources 5%—will transport as much as 1.5 bcfd southeast from Harrison County, W.Va., to Chesapeake, Va., and Robeson County, NC.

Dominion expects construction to begin in second-half 2016, pending regulatory approvals, for a fourth-quarter 2018 in-service date. The company estimates Atlantic Coast Pipeline will cost $5 billion.

Utility subsidiaries and affiliates of all four companies plus PSNC Energy have signed on as customers of the pipeline, subscribing 96% of the pipeline’s capacity. Dominion and Duke Energy, for example, are building multiple natural gas-fired power stations and closing coal-fired ones. Virginia Natural Gas, AGL’s subsidiary in Hampton Roads, Va., said it needs more natural gas to meet peak customer demand in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.

Dominion has completed surveying about 85% of a proposed route. Atlantic will file supplemental information with FERC when surveying is completed and propose the final route. The comment period for alternative routes ended Sept. 4 (OGJ Online, Aug. 6, 2015).

Dominion Transmission Inc. applied simultaneously to FERC for permission to build its Supply Header Project, including 38 miles of gas pipeline and modified existing compressor stations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The company expects the project to cost $500 million.



It’s time we grow up.  It is much easier to make a mess than to clean it up.  One thing I’ve learned as the former manager of a small water and sewer company is that there is no such thing as a pipe that won’t leak. 

Yes, I’ve heard the “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” mantra from the proponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and I know they are sincere in their belief that the ACP will improve lives and living standards.


But many environmental disasters began with good intentions. DDT was used to kill mosquitoes and reduce malaria.  Unfortunately, DDT also interferes with the body’s ability to metabolize calcium, which is why it weakened the shells of eagle eggs and other bird species, almost driving them to extinction. Similarly, PCB’s were created as a flame retardant and used for years on electrical equipment.  Unfortunately PCB’s are endocrine disrupters linked to cancer and birth defects.


Another reason I am hesitant to support the ACP is that once the ACP is in place, it will be very difficult for citizens and landowners negatively impacted by the pipeline to litigate against it.  To prevail in a toxic tort case (a civil wrong arising from exposure to a toxic substance) plaintiffs must identify the harmful substance, trace the pathways of exposure, demonstrate that exposure occurred at levels at which harm could result, establish that the identified agent cause injuries of the kind the plaintiff is complaining of, and rule out other possible causes. 


Proving that a substance leaked from the pipeline or adjoining facilities is causing injury on harm will be costly and almost impossible once the pipeline in in place.

Bridge over the New River


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