BREAKING: The Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project (ACP) Has Been Cancelled!

by Duane Nichols on July 6, 2020

Dominion cancels Atlantic Coast Pipeline, sells natural gas transmission business

ACP pipeline right of way trees cut at highly sensitive location

From an Article by Michael Martz, Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 5, 2020

PHOTO: Pipeline scene at Wintergreen — A path had been cleared for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on this Blue Ridge Mountain slope at the entrance to Wintergreen resort, just below the project’s planned crossing beneath the Appalachian Trail.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is dead, abandoned by Dominion Energy and its partner, Duke Energy, ending a 600-mile natural gas project that would have cost at least $8 billion to complete.

Dominion and Duke announced Sunday that they have canceled the project in the face of mounting regulatory uncertainty caused by a federal court ruling in Montana that overturned the nationwide federal water quality permit the project relied upon to cross rivers, creeks and other waterbodies.

“We regret that we will be unable to complete the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” Tom Farrell, chairman, president and CEO of Richmond-based Dominion, said in a bombshell announcement.

Dominion also announced that it is selling its natural gas transmission and storage business to Berkshire Hathaway Energy for $10 billion.

“For almost six years, we have worked diligently and invested billions of dollars to complete the project and deliver the much needed infrastructure, to our customers and communities,” Farrell said.

However, he concluded, “This announcement reflects the increasing legal uncertainty that overhands large-scenergy and industrial infrastructure development in the United States. Until these issues are resolved, the ability to satisfy the country’s energy needs will be significantly challenged.”

For opponents, the abandonment of the project represents vindication of grass-roots opposition that arose along the pipeline’s path.

“It’s all about the people,” said Nancy Sorrells, who helped form the Augusta County Alliance against the project in 2014 and represents the county in the Alliance of the Shenandoah Valley. “They knew it was wrong from start to finish and just never gave up.”

Rick Webb, a retired environmental scientist who helped lead the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition from his home in Highland County, said of Dominion, “They should have known better. It was a bad idea from the beginning. Dominion, with its ill-conceived project, has done a lot to strengthen the environmental community in the region,” Webb said. “Thank goodness for that.”

The grass-roots opposition also drove an aggressive legal strategy led by the Southern Environmental Law Center in Charlottesville and Appalachian Mountain Advocates, which foiled the project by persuading the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond to throw out numerous federal and state permits needed to complete the project.

Greg Buppert, who helped lead a wide-ranging legal battle against the project as senior attorney for the Southern Environment Law Center, was stunned by the announcement. “Wow!” Buppert said Sunday. “Wow.”

The law center, based in Charlottesville, won a series of victories against federal and state permits for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but lost a pivotal fight in the U.S. Supreme Court last month over a permit for the pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains between Augusta and Nelson counties.

Dominion announced separately on Sunday that it is selling its natural gas transmission and storage business to Berkshire Hathaway by the end of the year.

Berkshire will take on $5.7 billion in debt from Dominion’s transmission and storage business — which does not reflect the parent company’s investment in the pipeline — and pay the company $4 billion, which will allow it to buy back stock to stabilize its earnings.

The sale includes more than 7,700 miles of gas pipelines and 900 billion cubic feet of gas storage. Dominion will keep a 50% interest in the Cove Point liquefied natural gas terminal on the Chesapeake Bay, but Berkshire will receive a 25% interest in the facility and operate it.

Farrell said the deal would allow the company to focus on its electric utilities in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as local gas distribution companies in the Carolinas, West Virginia, Ohio and Utah.

He said the company plans to invest $55 billion over the next 15 years in technologies to reduce emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases linked to global warming, retire fossil fuel power plants, and develop sources of renewable natural gas, including animal waste.


See also: Atlantic Coast Pipeline faces doubts — As the cost of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline soars, renewable energy is the better option for NC, Ned Barnett, Raleigh News & Observer, March 16, 2020

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ned Barnett — Raleigh July 6, 2020 at 7:24 am

As the cost of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline soars, renewable energy is the better option for NC

By Ned Barnett, Raleigh News & Observer, March 16, 2020

Raleigh, NC — The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a long way from being constructed, but it’s already proving a leaky conduit for cash.

The cost keeps rising for the proposed 600-mile natural gas pipeline from West Virginia, through Virginia and down to the southern border of North Carolina in Robeson County. Estimated in November 2018 to cost $5.1 billion, the project jointly owned by Dominion Energy and Duke Energy, is now expected to cost approximately $8 billion, a 60 percent jump in a year and a half.

That estimate is bound to go up as the pipeline is stalled by multiple legal challenges. The Supreme Court is weighing one concerning permits for the pipeline crossing under the Appalachian Trail. Even if the pipeline gets past its legal issues, the construction delay and the inevitable unexpected construction issues will add to its price.

The question now is: How much financial pressure can the pipeline stand? Southern Company, once a small partner in the project, sold its 5 percent share to Dominion last month, and Morgan Stanley analysts recently predicted that Dominion will abandon the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in favor of renewable energy. “We believe this project will not move forward due to legal risks, and as a result [Dominion] will pursue additional renewables investments,” the analysts wrote.

That prediction fits with reports that show that power from renewables surged in 2019 as low-cost renewable electricity is becoming cheaper than power from fossil fuels.

Despite the legal and cost issues, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy are not wavering. Aaron Ruby, a Dominion spokesman, said, “The ACP remains vitally important to North Carolina’s economy and our shift to clean energy, and we’re totally committed to its completion.” Sasha Weintraub, senior vice president of Duke Energy’s natural gas business unit, said Duke has set ambitious targets for cutting its carbon emissions and “natural gas is a big part of that.”

While the utilities point to the pipeline as providing a fuel that’s cleaner than coal, natural gas isn’t necessarily friendlier to the atmosphere. Obtaining it through fracking has led to extensive leakage of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Meanwhile, renewable energy would certainly be a stronger option if Dominion and Duke spent $8 billion on solar, wind and other renewable sources instead of on a natural gas pipeline.

Last week, a collection of more than 70 social justice, clean energy and faith groups called on Gov. Roy Cooper to declare a climate emergency and block further construction or expansion of natural gas-fired power plants and pipelines.

In a letter to the governor, the groups said, “We contend that ’coping’ with this ongoing emergency includes the authority to help prevent it from growing worse indefinitely.”

Gov. Cooper, facing the COVID-19 outbreak, has a more immediate emergency at hand. But the alarm about the long-range threat — and the pipeline’s potential contribution to it — has merit. It is supported by a new climate report written in response to Cooper’s executive order to increase North Carolina’s resilience to the consequences of a warming planet. The North Carolina Climate Science Report found that it is likely that temperatures will “rise substantially” in North Carolina by the end of the century and with the higher heat will come more powerful hurricanes, rising sea levels, more floods and more intense droughts.

After the current crisis, Cooper would do well to consider the one that’s looming. A 600-mile pipeline will only bring it closer.


Michael Barrick — NC Mountains July 6, 2020 at 9:34 am

The Deceived ‘god’

By Michael M. Barrick, July 6, 2020

A poem dedicated to Dominion Resources

Note: This poem is dedicated to Dominion Resources. Originally published in January 2015, I am re-publishing it today to commemorate the news from Dominion and its partner Duke Energy that they have canceled the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Dominion they call themselves.
And they believe it.
They have deceived themselves,
intoxicated by false power.
They are a god – of greed.

Though their foundation is illusory,
disregarding all in life that is of true value,
it sustains them for they esteem only profit.

Their minions are experts in the law.
Like Sanhedrin, they use the letter
to crush the spirit.

What is theirs is not enough;
what is yours is in their sights.
What is yours is negotiable –
on their terms.

What is sacred to you
they curse.

The old home place;
the sunrise over the ridge;
the moon hanging in the
deep blues of night.
The stars which pre-date
their temporal, mortal
white-washed tombs,
they don’t even glimpse.

The only green they see
is on currency.

The ancient rocks,
which for generations
have served as sentinels,
as comforting reminders of
a shared heritage,
they plow away
with their machines.

A walk in the woods,
which for you is a moment
of holiness – an opportunity
to pass along wisdom
to your grandchildren –
is to them merely a survey.

The narrow, crooked paths
made through time by
your ancestors
will not be enjoyed by
your descendants.

They shall cross them
with a straight, 42-inch
cylinder of pipe,
indifferent to the heritage
they disrupt and destroy.

AJ and Grandpa — PHOTO of the author who enjoys a walk in the woods with his granddaughter in Lewis County, W.Va. Though Dominion did not create these streams, woods, ridges and mountains, it will not hesitate to claim it all as its own and destroy it. Unless, we dare to speak out.

PHOTO: Mountains of Shenandoah Valley


Stacy Johnson August 31, 2020 at 9:39 am

RE: 3M Scotchkote Fusion Bonded Epoxy 6233 coating on the pipes for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

To: David Paylor, Director, Dept. of Environmental Quality; Dr. M. Norman Oliver, State Health Commissioner, Va. Dept. of Health

From: Stacy Johnson, Action Network, 8/30/20

Significant public health and environmental issues regarding the 3M Scotchkote Fusion Bonded Epoxy 6233 coating on the pipes for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), and the Southgate Extension have yet to be resolved.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) wrote to Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc. on June 30, 2020 requesting further study of the possible public health and environmental impacts from the ACP pipe coating. In the letter FERC cited several deficiencies in the Tox Strategies study submitted by the ACP last summer. FERC also cited stakeholder concerns with the earlier study, including concerns from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The ACP has agreed to submit another study to FERC by August 31, 2020.

We, the undersigned, are requesting that VDH and DEQ review the upcoming Dominion study for correct methodology and reliable conclusions, and advise FERC of your findings. We are concerned that without your review and comments, FERC may accept another flawed study.

This issue has remained unresolved for far too long. The pipes for the ACP have now been stockpiled in the sun for over 4 years. Persons near those stockpiles may be subject to inhalation of silica, a primary component of the coating, and a carcinogen by inhalation. Aquatic life may be subject to degradation products of the coating as stated by manufacturer 3M. Drinking water supplies may be impacted as well. The same concerns exist along the MVP, and the Southgate Extension, should that project move forward.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

Sincerely, Stacy Johnson, Action Network


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