It has been almost 10 weeks since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) received comments from the public on the request by Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (ACP, LLC) for: 1) a one-year extension of its certificate (which expires October 13, 2020) to conduct restoration work for the cancelled Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP); and 2) a two-year extension to complete construction of the Supply Header Project. In early September, ABRA spoke with key staff at FERC and the U.S. Forest Service concerning the status and outlook for decisions on restoration and related issues. Those conversations revealed that FERC was still reviewing the ACP, LLC requests and the comments that were submitted (See ABRA Update, September 10).
This week ABRA conferred further with FERC about the status of the agency’s decisions on the ACP, LLC time extension requests. FERC was also asked if its decisions would address two specific issues raised by many of the comments filed with the agency: 1) landowner concerns about easement agreements with ACP, LLC that restrict a landowner’s future use of their property (the Southern Environmental Law Center and others asked FERC to require ACP, LLC to cancel easement agreements as a condition of granting the requested time extension for restoration); and 2) health concerns raised by some commenters over the degrading coating on pipe that has been improperly stored outside, exposed to sunlight for several years, in violation of the recommendations of coating manufacturers.
FERC staff told ABRA that no decisions have been made on the ACP, LLC time extension requests or on the issues of landowner easements and pipe coating degradation, nor would FERC staff commit to when decisions will be made. ABRA was told that because of the unprecedented circumstances of the ACP cancellation (many invalid permits that will need to be restored in order for restoration work to proceed), the agency’s review process of the ACP, LLC time extension requests was more complicated. Whenever FERC finally makes its decisions, they will be published on the FERC docket and will be publicized by ABRA.