ACP receives rehearing request

Published 11:52 am Tuesday, November 21, 2017

By Morgan White and Emily Hollingsworth

Friends of Buckingham filed a Request for Rehearing on Nov. 13 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on FERC’s decision to issue a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

“A Request for Rehearing is the next step we are taking legally to stop the (ACP),” said Heidi Dhivya Berthoud of Friends of Buckingham. “We have done this for our friends and neighbors so that we can all preserve our ability to take further legal action against FERC for the crimes they are committing against Buckingham County.”

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Friends of Buckingham also requested a Motion for Stay, which, if successful, would halt any progress on the project. “FERC may rule on the Request for Rehearing and the Stay, or it may choose not to,” Berthoud said in a press release. “But no matter the outcome, this will open the door for further litigation.”

According to the release, the Friends of Buckingham filing asserts that FERC and Dominion have failed to provide sufficient analysis and information on the environmental, cultural, historical, economic and socio-economic impacts of the project in Buckingham County.

“It also claims that FERC and Dominion have failed to demonstrate a need for the project, so should not be granted eminent domain powers,” officials said in a release.

Following the request, the ACP received another key regulatory approval Friday from the U.S. Forest Service.

“After more than three years of exhaustive study, the Forest Service has issued a favorable Record of Decision authorizing construction, operation and maintenance of the ACP on Forest Service lands, as well as amendments to the Forest Service’s Land Resource Management Plans,” said Aaron Ruby, Dominion Energy spokesperson, in a released statement. “The agency concluded that the project will be built with minimal impacts to the national forests, wildlife, water quality and other environmental resources under the agency’s care.”

Ruby cited in the statement that the service’s approval “shows that through collaboration with agencies and the scientific community, we can responsibly develop infrastructure in a way that preserves the environment and protects our natural resources.”

Ruby cited that the U.S. Forest Service would implement its approval by issuing separate Special Use Permits for construction and operation of the pipeline.

Members of the Buckingham County and Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors discussed updates relating to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) during their meetings last Tuesday and Thursday respectively.

Buckingham County Administrator Rebecca Carter noted during the meeting that the ACP, LLC was sent a certificate from FERC, Oct. 13.

Rebecca Carter

“So I guess this is the official notice to Buckingham County that they did receive a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to construct, operate and maintain the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” Carter said. “So this is our first, real official notification from the ACP.”

Carter noted that the county received a “project at a glance fact sheet,” meaning members of the board could follow the schedule of the ACP’s development.

The ACP natural gas project is 600 miles and will start in West Virginia, spanning Virginia and ending in North Carolina. The pipeline’s route is set to span Buckingham County. In January, county supervisors approved a special use permit for a hotly-contested 53,783-horsepower compressor station, slated to be constructed between Shelton Store and Union Hill Roads on Route 56. The project’s development has drawn protest from residents in Buckingham.

Carter also said during the Tuesday meeting that in addition to the fact sheet, board members received a copy of landowner compliance resolution procedures to

Wade Bartlett

address questions concerning the ACP.

“This is provided to you all for your information,” Carter said.

Members of the Prince Edward Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

“What the (MOA) would do, will allow our county employee, Rob Fowler, to go with DEQ when they do their inspections of the portion of the pipeline that’s in Prince Edward County, that’s all it does,” said Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett. “It does not allow us to make comments or anything else but just to review.”

C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr.

He said if they don’t sign it they would not have that ability.

“I read all the documents and I think that we, it’s good that we can at least voice something, we have no power in it but it’s just the way it’s set up,” said Buffalo District Supervisor C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr.