Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc. (DETI) filed on July 10 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) a request that it be granted two additional years to finish the Supply Header Project (SHP), a proposed natural gas pipeline in West Virginia (33.6 miles) and Pennsylvania (3.9 miles) that would have connected existing natural gas pipelines in Ohio and Pennsylvania with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. (see July 17 ABRA Update). The SHP is a project of DETI, not Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC. DETI has been sold to Berkshire Hathaway and that sale will presumably be finalized in coming months.
DETI’s request notes that 31% of the project has been completed, but it fails to cite a rationale for why the project needs to be completed. The stated purpose of the SHP on its website is to facilitate “the transport of natural gas from supply areas in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to market areas in Virginia and North Carolina,” via the ACP. But the ACP now will not be built. Why, a reasonable person might ask, is it necessary to complete building the SHP?
In a letter filed with FERC on July 17 by Southern Environmental Law Center, Appalachian Mountain Advocates and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Commission was urged to “deny DETI’s modified extension request for the SHP because it fails to meet the Commission’s standard for granting an extension.” Continuing, the letter, written on behalf of a client group that includes 11 ABRA members and others, argues that “the Commission cannot reasonably conclude, based on a single paragraph in DETI’s letter stating the construction status and location of the SHP, that its public convenience and necessity determination remains valid.”
The filing contends that “a request to proceed with only the SHP would require additional proceedings and a new authorization from the Commission.” To bolster that point, the letter includes as an attachment minutes of an April 2015 meeting that representatives from FERC and the Army Corps of Engineers had with Dominion in which the company explicitly stated that “the SHP does not have independent utility and would not be built without construction of the ACP.”
FERC has invited comments from the public on the DETI request by Monday, August 3. See the Action Alert below for more on this and the importance of ABRA organizations and activists filing comments.