Permission for contractors of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) to begin felling trees within the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests was granted by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) on March 2. ABRA was informed of the decision during the course of a meeting with USFS officials to discuss the ABRA CSI program. The USFS had issued a Special Use Permit for the ACP in late January, but trees could not be felled until an additional permission was approved. Tree removal and other ground-disturbing activities are not yet authorized.
On Monday, March 5, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission expanded its permission for tree felling in Virginia to within the 50-foot setback from wetlands and waterbodies that had been set forth in FERC’s original authorization for cutting trees, issued on February 16, which required a 50-foot setback. The amended permission was granted by FERC in response to a request from Dominion Transmission, Inc., the managing partner for the ACP.