The denial of a request for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) for permission to cross a flood plain in Nelson County, Virginia was overruled March 9 by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. The county’s Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) in December 2018 had rejected a request for a variance from the county’s flood plain ordinance for the ACP. The court said:
“At bottom, both Nelson County’s local ordinance and Congress’s Natural Gas Act—
through the CPCN issued by FERC—address the impact (or lack thereof) of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on floodplains and flooding in Nelson County. After considering these factors, FERC concluded that public necessity ‘require[s]’ the pipeline be constructed. The Nelson County BZA ‘reache[d] the opposite conclusion based on essentially the same environmental considerations.’
In this manner, BZA’s denial of Atlantic’s variance application “poses a significant obstacle, indeed an effectively complete obstacle” to FERC’s determination that public convenience and necessity require that the pipeline be constructed.”
The court concluded that “Nelson County’s Floodplain Regulations are preempted’ by federal law. It is not clear yet whether the county will appeal the decision. For a copy of the District Court’s decision, click here.