Risky and Unnecessary Natural Gas Pipelines Threaten Our Region

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FERC weighs whether Atlantic Coast Pipeline construction can continue More »

Rivers, streams and forests are in the crosshairs of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a proposed interstate gas pipeline, which would cut through one of the most intact conservation landscapes in the Southeast in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina to move natural gas from the well-fields to Mid-Atlantic and Southeast customers. Its route includes remote sections of the George Washington and Monongahela national forests.

Dominion Energy and Duke Energy are rushing forward with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline even though it lacks strong market support, and they plan to pass the cost of this pipeline on to their customers. This unnecessary pipeline will not only harm the mountains, forests and waterways in it’s path – it will also disrupt the lives of the people living and working along its 600 mile long route and lock a new generation into decades more of fossil fuel consumption.

SELC is working on several fronts to challenge the construction of this pipeline. At the federal level SELC is challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on its decision to permit this project. A central argument against the pipeline is the growing evidence that the project is not necessary. In the three years since the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was proposed its justification as a fuel source for gas-fired power plants has continued to erode. New analysis shows that demand for gas-fired electricity generation is not growing in our region and is not expect to grow significantly for the foreseeable future.

Question of Demand

There is notable difference between Dominion’s inflated demand projection and that of the region’s grid operator, PJM Interconnection. By 2027, that difference equals almost 2 gas-fired power plants.

SELC is also engaged in the review process underway at environmental agencies in Virginia and North Carolina because of the risks the Atlantic Coast Pipeline presents for water quality. State permits, known as Clean Water Act section 401 certifications, are required before pipeline construction can go forward. Even though the Atlantic Coast Pipeline received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, it has not received its state permits from either Virginia or North Carolina.

SELC is a founding member of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, a coalition of 43 organizations from across Virginia and West Virginia with grave concerns about the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. SELC has partnered with citizens who are acutely concerned about the risks to their agricultural and rural communities, including damage to scenic landscapes and the risk of pollution.