Atlantic Coast Pipeline project canceled

Published 4:45 pm Sunday, July 5, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

After nearly six years of court hearings, fierce opposition from communities and billions of dollars spent, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy have officially thrown in the towel in their fight for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

The news came late Sunday afternoon, July 5, in the form of a press release from Dominion Energy saying the project had officially been canceled. 

In the release, ACP officials stated the difficult decision to no longer pursue construction on the project became necessary given the legal uncertainties the ACP project was facing, including a recent ruling by a U.S. District Court in Montana on a widely used U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Permit and a subsequent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals not to lift the district court’s injunction. 

A vital permit for advancement of the pipeline was vacated by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals back in early January. The permit, originally awarded by the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board (VAPCB), granted permission for construction of a compressor station in Buckingham County to support the transmission of natural gas through the pipeline.

The ACP saw a short-lived victory June 15 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the U.S. Forest Service had the authority to grant the pipeline the ability to cross underneath the Appalachian Trail, removing one of the largest obstacles of the pipeline’s long-delayed construction.

The pipeline was projected to span 600 miles, crossing counties including Prince Edward, Buckingham and Cumberland. 

Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion Energy chairman, president and chief executive officer, and Lynn J. Good, Duke Energy chair, president and chief executive officer, said the project’s cancellation reflects “increasing legal uncertainty that overhangs large-scale energy and industrial infrastructure development in the United States.”

Opponents of the project were thrilled their efforts finally stopped what they considered to be a potential disaster for the environment.

“This pipeline was a boondoggle from the moment it was announced by Dominion CEO Tom Farrell and then-Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in September 2014,”Mike Tidwell, executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is proud to have been one of the first statewide environment groups to take up this cause, to organize our supporters, and to protest with everything from letters to the editor to civil disobedience.”

Tidwell’s statement thanks a number of supporters in the struggle including the Friends of Buckingham group.

ACP’s full release can be viewed  here.