US Forest Service Sets Conditions on Survey for ACP Pipeline

by Duane Nichols on April 17, 2016

Dominion Resources replies to comments

Forest Service signs off on ACP pipeline surveying

From an Article in The (Waynesboro) News Virginian, April 15, 2016

Waynesboro, VA — Surveyors with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project will be allowed into the George Washington National Forest. On Thursday, forest supervisors announced they had issued temporary special-use permits for surveys of the most recently planned route, both in the George Washington and Monongahela national forests.

The permits expire in one year and give surveyors the right to conduct on-site surveys and testing activities in a 300-foot-wide space along 14.3 miles of the George Washington National Forest and 5.4 miles of the Monongahela National Forest. That means pipeline officials can survey wetlands, water and soil and observe if the route will stretch into the habitats of any endangered plant or animals species.

Previously, a rerouting of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline cut about 10 miles of the original path of the pipeline off the two national forests to protect the Cow Knob salamander in Augusta County and the Cheat Mountain salamander in West Virginia. The rerouting of the pipeline earlier this year added 30 miles to the overall length, and brought it through Augusta County’s Deerfield Valley, raising a host of new concerns about the pipeline from the Augusta County Board of Supervisors. The natural gas pipeline will stretch 594 miles from West Virginia to Virginia to North Carolina, if constructed.

Officials said they agreed to allow surveying in order for the company to collect data. They stressed that this doesn’t mean a right-of-way permit or any approval for the project has been given by the Forest Service.

“The information gathered from these surveys is necessary to make future decisions on whether or not to allow the construction and operation of the proposed pipeline on the Monongahela National Forest and on the George Washington National Forest,” said Monongahela Forest Supervisor Clyde Thompson. “The survey information will help inform us where to avoid or reduce the impacts to sensitive resources.”

There is a defined list of activities surveyors can and can’t do while in the forest. For example, no vehicles can be used to access the permitted space unless they use public or existing forest roads. All other travel has to be done on foot. Also, any saplings or tree limbs removed for testing have to be less than two inches in diameter, and any survey ribbons, flags, stakes and other equipment must be removed from the forest once the surveying is finished. No flowers or plants can be removed from the area and any soil removed for testing must be replaced.

If the surveys show the latest proposed route is feasible, then Federal Energy Regulatory Commission officials will add it to their environmental analysis of the project. Thompson said that once that happens, the Forest Service will decide whether to issue a permit.

  • >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >

NOTE:  Augusta County Supervisors in Virginia ask FERC to reject the latest APC pipeline route, as per the link below:

>  >  >  >  >  >  >  >  >

Dominion Resources Submits 7,000-Page Filing in Reply to ACP Comments

From Ellen Bouton, Friends of Nelson, Nelson County, Virginia, April 16, 2016

On April 15, 2016, Dominion filed 7000+ pages of responses to environmental data requests from FERC related to the ACP. Dominion believes this filing provides FERC with the information needed to continue to develop a draft Environmental Impact Statement. Dominion says, “In addition to the data request response, the 7,000+ page filing includes updated alignment sheets, and tables and resource information related to route alternatives adopted in the past several months. This filing also includes updates to portions of the project’s Environmental Resource Reports.”

Dominion calls the filing “a step forward” in the push to meet their project schedule, despite the ACP being fraught with risks to air, water, soil, health, safety, tourism, real estate values, and local economies, and despite the declining demand for natural gas and increased calls for investment in renewable energy.

A list of the filings with links to the full text is on Dominion’s FERC Filings and Information page.

Click the + for the April 15, 2016 listing to see the list with document links.

Charlottesville’s Daily Progress news coverage of the filing is here.

See also:

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: