Duke Energy and Dominion Energy have just hit a major roadblock in their attempt to build a massive 600-mile pipeline through the heart of North Carolina.
The pipeline would start in the fracking fields of West Virginia, wind through Virginia and North Carolina, and end at the bottom of our state. It would collect natural gas from several stations along the route, and distribute it across the 3 states.
The energy partnership claims the pipeline would add, “17,000 new jobs, $377 million in annual energy cost savings, $28 million in new local tax revenue and the revitalization of the region’s manufacturing economy.”
Since its initial announcement, however, it’s faced continued opposition from environmental groups, community organizations, and government regulators alike.
According to the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, a new letter has now been issued to Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC “directing the company to submit additional information as part of their 401 water quality certification application.” This new letter essentially freezes all progress on the pipeline until all information is received and reviewed by the NCDEQ.
The 4-page request includes 6 major questions and over a dozen sub-points, mostly related to stream and wetland crossings, drinking water protection, and discharge locations.
Without approval from the NCDEQ, the entire pipeline project would be stalled, which the letter clearly pointed out;
“Please be aware that you have no authorization under the Section 401 of the Clean Water Act or the Neuse or Tar-Pamlico Buffer Rules for this activity and any work done within waters of the state or protected riparian buffers may be a violation of North Carolina General Statutes and Administrative Code.”
Several environmental groups such as the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels initiative celebrated the letter this past week:
“We applaud Governor Cooper and DEQ for listening to North Carolinians and requiring Duke Energy and Dominion to provide more information so the state can thoroughly examine the water impacts that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would have on our communities,” commented Kelly Martin, director of Beyond Dirty Fuels.
Several other groups are actively fighting any progress on the pipeline, including; the Alliance to Protect Our People And The Places We Live (APPPL), Frack Free NC, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and a coalition of Virginia organizations including the Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance.
Upon final NCDEQ approval, the pipeline would still have to receive approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission before proceeding.
If both governmental organizations decide to approve the project, construction could start as soon as this coming November. Economic developers have said the pipeline, which would bring fracked natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina, is critical in luring job-heavy manufacturers to eastern North Carolina.
What are your thoughts on the proposed pipeline?