The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline project recently announced it anticipates delaying until the summer of 2017 the start of construction of the $5.1 billion pipeline.
The project, a joint venture whose partners include Dominion Resources and Duke Energy, had hoped to begin construction this fall of the 42-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline.
The pipeline would be about 600 miles long, beginning in West Virginia and terminating in North Carolina. Its route in Virginia would pass through a total of 14 counties and cities, including Highland, Bath, Augusta and Nelson counties.
Yet Atlantic Coast spokesman Aaron Ruby said the project believes the interstate pipeline can still hit its target in-service date of late 2018 if construction moves forward in the summer of 2017.
Separately, the $3.5 billion, 301-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would travel through five counties in the Roanoke region, is sticking for now to its target construction start-up date of December 2016 and in-service target date of fourth quarter 2018.
Natalie Cox, a Mountain Valley spokeswoman, said the project, which also proposes a 42-inch-diameter buried natural gas pipeline, will know more once it receives a notice of schedule for environmental review from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Both interstate pipeline projects have applied to FERC for the certificate needed to launch construction. FERC is preparing separate draft environmental impact statements for each pipeline.
The commission announces the schedule for environmental review before issuing the draft statement.
In a news release, Atlantic Coast said its construction delay reflects an extraordinarily thorough and comprehensive review of the pipeline by FERC. The project also hit snags when the U.S. Forest Service rejected a proposed pipeline route through the George Washington National Forest in Virginia and the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.
In an amended application filed March 11 with FERC, Atlantic Coast asked the commission to issue the notice of schedule for environmental review as soon as possible. It also requested that FERC act expeditiously on its amended application so the project can maintain its planned in-service date.
In its annual report for fiscal 2014, released in February 2015, Dominion Resources referenced some of the risk factors associated with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.
The report noted: The large diameter of the pipeline and difficult terrain of certain portions of the proposed pipeline route aggravate the typical construction risks with which [Dominion Transmission] is familiar. In-service delays could lead to cost overruns and potential customer termination rights.
The report also noted that Dominion expects opposition from certain landowners and stakeholder groups, which could impede the acquisition of rights-of-way and other land rights on a timely basis or on acceptable terms.
Mountain Valley Pipeline has encountered opposition from many landholders and stakeholder groups but, like the Atlantic Coast project, also has received support from Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and others.
Both Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast will have access to eminent domain if FERC greenlights the projects.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline route would start in West Virginia and pass through Giles, Montgomery, Craig, Roanoke and Franklin counties in Virginia en route to the Transco pipeline in Pittsylvania County.
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