A denial of Dominion Energy’s request for more time to complete its Supply Header Project (SHP) was a repeated theme among the scores of comments received by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on August 3 and preceding days. Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc. (DETI), who was the managing partner for the now-cancelled Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), had requested of FERC: 1) a one-year extension of the construction deadline for the ACP to allow for abandonment and restoration of the ACP right-of-way; and 2) a two-year extension of time to construct and place the Supply Header Project (SHP) into service while DETI evaluates options for the potential use of some or all of it. The SHP is 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 ACP.
Southern Environmental Law Center, joined by Appalachian Mountain Advocates and Chesapeake Bay Foundation on behalf of a group conservation groups (including 11 ABRA members), wrote that FERC should:
(1) limit the scope of any extension of the ACP’s construction deadline to activities necessary for abandonment and restoration of ACP project areas;
(2) condition any such limited extension on the release of easements and proper restoration of ACP project areas under a new restoration plan subject to public comment;
(3) deny DETI’s request for a two-year extension of time to construct the Supply Header Project and place it into service, noting that the project was based on outdated information and had been intended when proposed to be interdependent with the ACP; and
(4) require that ACP right-of-way easements be released upon requests from private landowners or conservation easement holders.
Among other commenters:
Food & Water Watch urged FERC to address: 1) the removal of pipeline that has already been staged on the ground and left uncovered, which has resulted in the pipe coating to weather off and potentially contaminate underlying soil; and 2) evaluate potential contamination due to the leaching of the pipeline coating should be conducted.
Clean Water for North Carolina pointed out that the DETI request for the ACP restoration work neglected “to include information on how ACP intends to communicate with state agencies regarding monitoring and reporting of restoration activities and environmental impacts.”
Wintergreen Property Owner’s Association urged FERC to adopt an approach to restoration that gives landowners whose property has been damaged by the ACP the final say on how restoration should be accomplished.