A motion was filed June 11 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting that the agency immediately revoke its May 11 authorization for construction to proceed in West Virginia for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The action, filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club and Virginia Wilderness Committee, was prompted by a report last week to ABRA’s Compliance Surveillance Initiative (CSI) of construction activity occurring south of Buckhannon, West Virginia (in Upshur County). The construction work was subsequently verified by photographic evidence produced by the ABRA/CSI Pipeline Air Force, one example of which is below.
In its motion filed with FERC, SELC said:
Petitioners request that the Commission grant rehearing, immediately revoke the West Virginia Notice to Proceed, and stay all pipeline construction authorized by the Notice. On May 15, 2018 the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Incidental Take Statement for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Therefore, Atlantic and Dominion are not in compliance with two mandatory conditions of the project’s Certificate Order: Environmental Condition 54 and Environmental Condition 10. Certificate Order, Appendix A, ¶¶ 10, 54. Both of these conditions require a valid incidental take statement before pipeline construction proceeds.
Continuing, the motion argued that:
- Endangered Species Act consultation is not complete for the project, and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (Atlantic) and Dominion Energy are not in compliance with Environmental Conditions 54 and 10 of FERC’s October 13, 2017 Certificate Order for the ACP. Condition 54 stipulates that construction cannot begin until after the process of complying with the Endangered Species Act is completed. Condition 10 requires that Atlantic must file with FERC all applicable authorizations required under federal law. SELC contends in its motion that Atlantic no longer has all applicable authorizations because it lacks a valid incidental take statement.
- Atlantic, Dominion and FERC will violate Section 7(d) of the Endangered Species Act if pipeline construction continues before consultation is complete.
- Atlantic, Dominion and FERC risk violation of the Endangered Species Act’s prohibition on the “take” of protected species without a valid incidental take statement.