Start delayed for pipeline

Published 7:05 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The in-service start for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline project — the beginning of operations and the transporting of natural gas — has been delayed until 2019, according to Dominion leaders.

Dominion, which is heading the joint energy venture proposing the 600-mile natural gas pipeline across West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, originally said the project would be in operation by late 2018.

The news came days before Buckingham County Board of Supervisors Chairman and District Six Supervisor Joe N. Chambers Jr. said the board needed time to study a proposed 53,515 horsepower compressor station slated as part of the project.

Joe N. Chambers Jr.

Joe N. Chambers Jr.

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Chambers’ comments came during the board’s regular meeting Monday night where three citizens spoke in opposition to the project.

“I agree with some of the comments that were made tonight,” Chambers said, referring to Ruby Laury, Marie Flowers and Quinn Robinson, all who cited objections to the project. “We need to take time to study this thing a little bit more, because I’ve got some concerns about it. I think … the citizens should have time to talk about it and ask questions and I think they should be answered.”

Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC (ACP) is seeking a special use permit for the compressor station, which, if approved by federal regulators and the county, would be located along Route 56 between Shelton Store and Union Hill roads. The county planning commission will hold a public hearing on the permit on Monday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the county administration complex on Route 60.

Chambers agreed supervisors shouldn’t be “rushed into” making a decision regarding the permit.

If approved by the planning commission, the permit application will move to board of supervisors, which will hold its own public hearing on the permit.

The pushback to 2019 hinges on a Notice of Schedule from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“As (Dominion Resources Inc. CEO Thomas F. Farrell II) indicated in his remarks … receiving a Notice of Schedule is an extremely important milestone for the project and confirms the significant progress we’ve made,” project spokesman Aaron Ruby said. “It signals that the route has essentially been finalized and the environmental review is moving forward. While we may continue to make some minor modifications, we don’t foresee any major adjustments that would impact FERC’s schedule.”

Thomas F. Farrell II

Thomas F. Farrell II

Ruby said Farrell confirmed ACP’s surveying and engineering work will be completed this year, calling it “another significant sign of progress.”

Farrell “also acknowledged that based on FERC’s schedule for the remainder of the environmental review process we’ve moved the targeted in-service date into 2019,” Ruby said. “We’re working out the specific timing of our construction schedule with our partners and construction contractors, and we should be able to provide that information with our third quarter financial reporting.”

FERC issued the Notice of Schedule just weeks ago, establishing a timeline for the environmental review of the project. The commission said a notice of availability and the final environmental impact study would avaliable June 30, 2017. A 90-day federal authorization decision deadline is set for Sept. 28, 2017.

According to Dominion, construction will span 2017-18.