by Laura Greenleaf
On October 13, 2020 Dominion’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) certificate authorizing construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) will expire. Issued three years earlier, the certificate prohibits any construction after that date. With just a few miles of pipeline in the ground six years after originally announcing the project, and with the project billions of dollars over budget, the folks at Dominion now want FERC to give them a two-year extension. On June 17, 2020, FERC published a Notice of Request for Extension of Time and started the clock ticking on a 15-day intervention and comment period. We have until 5:00 p.m. Thursday, July 2nd to submit comments opposing the certificate’s extension.
In its notice, FERC “strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, protests and interventions in lieu of paper” using the eFiling link at http://www.ferc.gov. Anyone unable to file electronically should submit an original and three copies of their comments to the Federal Energy regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20426. Cite the ACP docket number in your comments, CP15-554.
Send a strong message to FERC: no special favors for a destructive, fracked-gas pipeline that serves no need other than further enriching Dominion Energy and its shareholders, while passing on the cost to customers. For a refresher on why the ACP is unnecessary and Dominion doesn’t deserve a two year extension, visit the Friends of Nelson website.
In its extension request, Dominion claims that it has suffered “unforeseen delays in permitting” and that “markets to be served by the Projects have been chronically constrained in terms of natural gas supply, as interstate natural gas pipeline capacity is either already fully subscribed or nonexistent. The need for the Projects is undiminished.” In fact, Dominion’s case for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been so self-serving and unsubstantiated from the start that the original FERC decision included an unprecedented, robust dissent from Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, who questioned the justification of public need and found the consideration of alternatives to be inadequate. You can read LaFleur’s opinion at the end of the October 13, 2017 FERC issuance. The permit is under review by the D.C. Court of Appeals.
Dominion Energy’s SCOTUS victory last week does nothing to change the fact that the corporation still lacks eight permits necessary to construct the 600-mile, 42-inch fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline from the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia through western Virginia to southeastern North Carolina. Revoked permits include four Clean Water Act authorizations, the biological opinion under the Endangered Species Act, and the Virginia air pollution permit for Dominion’s proposed compressor station in Buckingham County’s Union Hill, a majority minority community founded by freed slaves after the Civil War.
The delays Dominion failed to foresee are the result of justice finally being served, and represent a rare rebuke to Dominion’s customary bending of regulatory systems to its will. Now, FERC needs to hear from Virginians that the days of rubber-stamping profit-driven fossil fuel infrastructure must end. File your comments here and cite the ACP docket number in your comments [CP15-554].