Nov. 22–Some work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been suspended amid questions about a national permit.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline company requested a voluntary suspension of the coverage under a Army Corps of Engineers permit, according to Jen Kostyniuk, a spokeswoman for Dominion Energy.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC is building the pipeline. The company was formed by Dominion Energy, Duke Energy and Southern Company Gas.
Kostyniuk said about 86 miles of the pipeline route, which is less than 15 percent of the project, is impacted by the suspension.
“We are confident that this issue will be resolved in a timely manner and we do not expect the project schedule to be affected by this voluntary suspension,” she said. “We successfully completed West Virginia summer construction with stay provisions in place and expect ACP’s fall and winter construction will also proceed in a productive manner in compliance with the stay provisions.”
A statement released by environmental groups said the suspension means the pipeline developers cannot work on stream or wetland crossings along its entire route in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The permit authorized developers to build the gas pipeline through streams, rivers and waterways, the statement said.
The Appalachian Mountain Advocates had requested the suspension on behalf of the Sierra Club, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Appalachian Voices and Chesapeake Climate Action Network, according to the statement.
The 600-mile pipeline will run from West Virginia to North Carolina at an estimated cost of $6.5 billion to $7 billion. It has faced opposition from residents and environmental groups who say they are worried about potential dangers and believe the state should rely more on renewable energy such as solar and wind power.
Supporters say the project will provide a safe, clean source of power that will lower the cost of energy and help economic development.
About 186 miles of the 36-inch pipeline is expected to go through North Carolina. The route runs through the northwest corner of Sampson County and near Godwin, Wade, Eastover, Cedar Creek and Gray’s Creek in Cumberland County, and St. Pauls in Robeson County before ending near Pembroke.
The pipeline has received all the necessary state permits. Land is being cleared in Cumberland County for the pipeline, but opponents hope that lawsuits in federal and state court will stop the project.
Staff writer Steve DeVane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-486-3572.
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