Risks to certain species in the path of the now-cancelled Atlantic Coast Pipeline were underestimated in the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), according to a recent analysis submitted July 4 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The analysis was conduct by the Science Policy Initiative – Direct Advocacy Committee (SPI-DAC), a team of graduate students from the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech University. SPI-DAC coordinated their work with ABRA and Wild Virginia, an ABRA member.
The SPI-DAC analysis notes that the FEIS’s estimation of the ACP causing an annual soil loss of from 200 to 800% above baseline erosion in the first year of construction underestimated the impact that would have occurred for the endangered and threatened species acknowledged in the FEIS, such as the Candy-Darter, Clubshell mussel and Madison Cave Isopod. While the ACP has been cancelled, the analysis of the SPI-DAC team will be useful in evaluating other projects that might be proposed in the habitat areas of the examined species. ABRA plans to explore other cooperative ventures in the future with SPI-DAC. A link to the analysis is here.