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ACP yard to be discussed

By Emily Hollingsworth

and Morgan White

The Farmville Herald

Members of the Cumberland County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Jan. 8 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss a temporary construction yard for materials to be used for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

According to a public notice from the commission, the discussion will concern a conditional use permit (CUP) for a parcel of land on Salem Church Road.

The permit requests “allow(ing) borrowing and stockpiling of soil, gravel and sand, as well as utility operations,” according to the public notice. “The intended use is a temporary yard for storage of equipment and material for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”

According to the notice, the request will cover 75 acres out of a 337-acre parcel.

The property is zoned as Agricultural-2 and is not considered to be in a growth area in the county’s Comprehensive Plan, according to the notice.

The ACP natural gas project is 600 miles long and will start in West Virginia, travel through Virginia and end in North Carolina. A 42-inch pipeline would span Buckingham County and cross Cumberland and Prince Edward counties.

The project has been heavily disputed in Buckingham County. In January, county supervisors in Buckingham 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 Dec. 12 receipt of conditional water permits followed a series of public comment sessions over the summer, one of which took place at Longwood University. The hearing at Longwood included about 23 people who spoke in favor of the ACP and approved the draft water quality certifications, while 51 spoke against the pipeline and in support of denying the certifications.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the ACP and Supply Header on Oct. 13. According to Dominion Energy spokesperson Aaron Ruby, the FERC approval is the main regulatory approval needed prior to the beginning of construction.

Friends of Buckingham filed a Request for Rehearing on Nov. 13 with FERC regarding FERC’s decision to issue a public convenience and necessity certificate for the ACP.

The ACP received issuance of construction and right of way permits for the Blue Ridge Parkway crossing Dec. 14.

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

“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 at the November board meeting. “It does not allow us to make comments or anything else but just to review.”

For questions or to request accommodations for disability access to the Jan. 8 public hearing, located at the Cumberland County Community Center, contact Planning and Zoning Director Sara Carter at (804) 492-3520.