Category Archives: Dominion

Cart Before the Horse

In her guest column in the September 21, 2018, Staunton News Leader (West Augusta pipe yard is putting the ‘cart before the horse’), Nancy Sorrells discusses Dominion’s request to the Augusta Board of Zoning Appeals for a proposed pipe yard in West Augusta. She notes that when FERC was contacted to verify Dominion’s Emmett Toms’ statement to the BZA that they had approval to “leave the thousand dump truck loads of contaminated gravel from the parking area in a pile in the field after construction, rather than take the cleaned gravel to an approved landfill as is standard procedure,” they were told by FERC that “the contractor/pipe yard you referenced below has not been proposed to FERC.”

Further, the area where Dominion proposes the pipe yard (that FERC doesn’t know about) is one that has paved roads of “less than minimum design standards” because the county agreed in 2010 that the area is not to be the target of any development, and therefore should certainly not “have the kind of traffic and heavy equipment that would occur on this road for two years or more with ACP’s proposed construction yard.”

She concludes, “So there you have it: Dominion has proposed something that both DEQ and FERC are unaware of in an area that the county has legally promised never to develop. Cart before the horse? In reality there never should have been a cart or a horse proposed here.”

ACP Timeline of Defiance: Dominion Games System, FERC Plays Along


A new post from Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition:

When the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved construction of the ACP in late 2017, it made its approval conditional upon approvals from other regulatory agencies. However, when a U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in May 2018 voided one of the required approvals, Dominion continued with construction of the ACP and FERC did nothing to stop it. Only after the Court voided another permit in August of 2018 and reconfirmed its earlier ruling, did FERC finally issue a stop work order. By then ACP construction activity in West Virginia included over 30 miles of right-of-way clearing and excavation, extensive trenching, and deployment of over 30,000 feet of pipe in the construction corridor. Although Dominion was on notice that it lacked an essential approval when it chose to continue with construction, FERC has accepted Dominion’s request that it be allowed both to complete installation of deployed pipe in previously excavated trench and to excavate additional trench in steep slope areas.

See the full story here – complete with detailed timeline and timeline photos.

FERC Approves Stabilization Plan for ACP Work Stoppage

From the ABRA Update, August 23, 2018:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on August 17, 2018, granted permission for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (ACP, LLC) to implement plans to conduct interim work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) during the period of the stop work order on the project. FERC had requested the plan as part of its August 10 stop work order for the project, which had been prompted by an August 6 federal court decision vacating two key permits for the ACP and a subsequent request made to the agency by several ABRA members for a stop work order to be issued.

FERC’s August 17 letter to ACP, LLC authorizes the company “to implement the plans with the following condition: for locations where trees have been felled, but mainline construction activity has not yet started (table 3.1-1 of each plan), Atlantic and DETI must continue monitoring the right-of-way as dictated by weather conditions, but no less than once every month.”

Continuing, the letter states, “We note that clearing of felled vegetation has not yet occurred on federal lands. Thus, the stabilization measures (except for monitoring) would generally not apply to these locations. However, Atlantic must continue to work and seek concurrence from the appropriate agencies for any additional measures that Atlantic may propose on federal lands.”

The ACP, LLC plan, submitted August 14, is available here.

SELC Asks FERC to Reject Request to Proceed

On August 13, 2018, Dominion asked FERC to ignore the stop work order FERC had issued for the ACP on August 10 and allow Dominion to continue construction on some segments of the ACP (see story below). On August 15, the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of multiple organizations, submitted a letter asking FERC

  • to reject Dominion’s request to proceed with construction of three separate segments, and
  • to reject Dominion’s request that the Commission’s stop-work order only relates to the vacatur of the National Park Service’s right-of-way permit, and not to the vacatur of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Incidental Take Statement

The letter states, “The Commission must not approve construction of portions of the ACP because the three segments proposed by Atlantic would constitute new interstate projects, distinct from the ACP, with different purposes and different potential customers. Atlantic has not submitted a certificate application to the Commission for any of these projects, and the Commission has not reviewed the public convenience and necessity of these segments as required by the Natural Gas Act.”

In a footnote commenting on the August 15 submission by Dominion of a second request to continue construction on additional segments on the basis of “independent utility,” SELC says the arguments in their letter “apply equally to this second, and any subsequent, request to continue construction.”

The letter further states that “the Fourth Circuit has resolved any ambiguity about the effects of its vacatur of ACP’s Incidental Take Statement: Atlantic will violate its certificate of public convenience and necessity if it proceeds with construction without a valid ITS. Again, the Commission must decline Atlantic’s invitation to make a finding that is squarely in conflict with the Court’s opinion on this issue.”

The letter continues with a detailed explanation of why FERC “must reject Atlantic’s request to construct segments of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on the basis of ‘independent utility,'” and why “all construction must stop until Fish and Wildlife Service approvals are in place.”

Read the full letter here.

Dominion Asks to Proceed Piecemeal

Immediately after FERC issued the Atlantic Coast Pipeline stop work order late on Friday August 10, 2018, Dominion issued a statement saying it was already working with agencies to resolve issues in the stop work order, and separate project sections not impacted by the court ruling could become viable gas infrastructure.

In a letter to FERC on Monday August 13, 2018, Mathew Bley, director of gas certificates for Dominion Energy Transmission, explained that independent segments unaffected by the court ruling could serve as gas transportation infrastructure by themselves.

“Natural gas received via (supply header project in West Virginia), at Marts, can be redelivered by the planned ACP pipeline to its Long Run delivery point into Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation LLC, in Randolph County, West Virginia … The Long Run interconnection thus would provide a substantial, viable, competitive supply option for existing Columbia Transmission shippers, even if other portions of ACP were not constructed. Subject to avoidance of any areas affected by the vacatur of the ITS … Atlantic should be allowed to proceed with construction of this useful component of the ACP.

“The ACP infrastructure from its Buckingham, Va., interconnection with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company LLC (Transco) to points downstream could be used for gas deliveries to markets in both North Carolina and eastern Virginia. These markets are chronically constrained in terms of natural gas supply. Independent of ACP’s proposed construction of pipeline upstream of the Buckingham – including areas affected by the Aug. 6 court order – ACP could receive up to 885,000 Dt/day from Transco for service on the ACP main line and the Virginia lateral.

“Depending on the availability of supply and relative operating pressures on the Transco system, ACP expects that its physical receipts at Buckingham could exceed 885,000 Dt/day. Although this approach would not provide the full benefit of access to the DETI system and the liquid South Point market hub (which customers expect upon completion of the ACP), this portion of the ACP infrastructure … would serve to redeliver gas to Hampton Roads and eastern North Carolina markets, where interstate pipeline capacity is either already fully subscribed, or nonexistent.”

Dominion asked FERC to “promptly allow construction to resume for the independently useful portions of the projects.”

It appears Dominion is tacitly admitting that the entire ACP is not necessary, and gas could be delivered to both existing and future markets by other means.

However, as pointed out by Southern Environmental Law Center in its letter of August 15, 2018 urging FERC to deny Dominion’s request to move forward on certain parts of the ACP, “If these segments do not serve the purpose Atlantic intended them to serve as interdependent parts of the approved ACP, they are separate projects that must go through the approval process set forth in the Natural Gas Act.” (See story above)