Tell FERC not to extend certificate for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Help us tell FERC to reject the 2 year extension for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline!

Sponsored by

To: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
From: Karen Bearden

June 30, 2020

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street NE, Room 1A
Washington, D.C. 20426

Re: Notice of Request for Extension of Time re Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC et al under CP15-554 et al.

Dear Secretary Bose,

Appalachian Voices and our supporters, whose names are attached below, respectfully submit the following comments on the Notice of Request for Extension of Time for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) currently has a projected cost of $8 billion, up from original estimates of approximately $5 billion. If completed, it would be one of the nation’s most expensive gas pipelines. In the region through which the pipeline would run, there was never enough demand for additional gas capacity to support the pipeline’s construction, and it is likely reduced since FERC granted the Certificate in 2017.
In Virginia, where half of the pipeline would be located, Dominion Energy has cancelled plans to build new gas peaker plants, and experts project no increase in regional consumption through 2033. The recently passed Virginia Clean Economy Act would require Dominion Energy, the majority equity owner of the project and a purchaser of 27% of the proposed pipeline’s capacity, to provide carbon-free electricity to its Virginia customers by 2045, setting up the ACP to become a stranded asset.
The risk of paying for this multi-billion dollar stranded asset lies with Virginia and North Carolina electric and gas ratepayers. Moreover, in January Virginia’s Attorney General told the U.S. Supreme Court that in light of the mounting evidence that the pipeline is not needed, the ACP threatens Virginia’s natural resources without clear corresponding benefits.

The proposed route through two national forests and steep terrain prone to landslides was correctly criticized during the Environmental Impact Statement process for being likely to result in water pollution, habitat degradation, and pipeline slips—problems that have been observed during construction of the nearby Mountain Valley Pipeline. These risks and obstacles were ignored and underestimated by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC. The resulting delays to construction were foreseeable. Since May 2018, courts have vacated or agencies have suspended eight required permits for the ACP, and the final route of the project is still unknown almost six years into the process. Court decisions resulted in a complete shutdown of construction in December 2018, and today less than 6% of the project is complete. A project that complied with the law might have been completed by now and would not need an extension.

The ACP also disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous and low-income communities along its route. The proposed gas-fired compressor station in Union Hill, Buckingham County, Virginia is located in a historic, predominantly Black community. The sole North Carolina compressor station would be located in a predominantly Black part of Northampton County. The pipeline would have particularly adverse impacts on the Lumbee community in Robeson County, N.C., the largest community of Native Americans east of the Mississippi River. Compared to statewide numbers, Native Americans are over-represented by a factor of ten along the North Carolina section of the pipeline route.

This Atlantic Coast Pipeline would place unnecessary economic burdens on Virginia and North Carolina ratepayers and unduly harm private property, communities and the environment along its route. There is no good cause for the Commission to extend the Certificate. Appalachian Voices and our supporters respectfully ask the Commission to deny the request.