More Questions on the Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline

by Duane Nichols on January 10, 2016

Fish and Wildlife Service raises concerns over proposed ACP route

To: Allegheny – Blue Ridge Alliance mailing list, January 9, 2016

The West Virginia Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (WVFO) filed on January 7th (posted January 8th) with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) an extensive litany of concerns about the current proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

The WVFO letter details potential impacts on a variety of species and chided Dominion Transmission for the inadequacies or absence of required survey data.  Cited species included the Indiana bat, Cheat Mountain salamander, specified mussels, golden and Bald eagles, migratory birds and native trout.

Among the concluding points in the letter are:

The WVFO highly recommends exploring alternative alignment routes, or combinations of proposed alternatives, to avoid Cheat Mountain. We recommend an alternative alignment further south as a more southern route may avoid many of the issues outlined in this letter.

While Atlantic has also proposed alternative routes, surveys for listed species have yet to be conducted along these routes; surveys for listed species have only been conducted on the preferred alternative. The WVFO cannot compare potential affects to determine whether other alternatives will be less impactive to Service trust resources until surveys for listed species have been conducted along other alternative proposed ROWs.

Alternative routes should be rigorously explored and objectively evaluated to determine the impacts they will have to unique and irreplaceable environmental resources. A need for alternative route analysis has been encouraged by this office, the USFS, WVDNR, other government agencies, non-government organizations, and most recently by FERC in correspondence dated December 4, 2015.

Completed survey reports and other information requested in this correspondence should be provided to the WVFO with ample time to review and comment prior to the development of a Biological Assessment by Atlantic or Environmental Impact Statement by FERC as these documents depend upon accurate data gathered using accepted guidelines and protocols.

The WVFO cannot accurately assess the potential impacts to threatened or endangered species and their habitats or make complete recommendations on avoidance and minimization measures until we have had time to review completed survey reports.

Lewis Freeman, ​Chair/Executive Director​
​Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance​

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