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Atlantic Coast Pipeline Wins Major Supreme Court Victory

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on June 15. The decision allows the pipeline project to cross underneath the Appalachian Trail. A company statement described the ruling as “a major victory” for the project, paving the way for the project to be completed.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC (ACP) is being developed by two major U.S. energy companies – Dominion and Duke Energy. The joint venture partners plan to build and own the $5 billion, 600-mile pipeline, which would help supply energy in Virginia and North Carolina. ACP is designed to provide direct access to low-cost, abundant supplies of natural gas being produced in the nearby Marcellus and Utica shale basins of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

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“Our entire team is thrilled with this outcome,” a company statement said. “We are currently resolving the other pending permits to ensure the ACP resumes construction this year. The ACP team will continue to work closely with local, state and federal agencies to complete this project with the smallest possible impact on the environment — restoring and even improving the land along the route, as we did with the Allegheny Trail and through our Pollinator Program.”

RELATED: Washington Watch — What’s In Store for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline 

In a statement, project partner Dominion Energy discussed the planned route’s crossing of the Appalachian Trail.

“In its decision today, the Supreme Court upheld the longstanding precedent allowing infrastructure crossings of the Appalachian Trail,” Dominion state. “For decades, more than 50 other pipelines have safely crossed the Trail without disturbing its public use. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be no different. To avoid impacts to the Trail, the pipeline will be installed hundreds of feet below the surface and emerge more than a half-mile from each side of the Trail. There will be no construction activity on or near the Trail itself, and the public will be able to continue enjoying the Trail as they always have. We appreciate the many stakeholders who supported our position in this case, including the U.S. Solicitor General, 18 state attorneys general, more than 60 members of Congress and dozens of labor and industry groups.”

Read the full Supreme Court decision here.

On Oct. 13, 2017, by a 2-1 vote, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorized the ACP to construct a new $5 billion pipeline project stretching 600 miles from Harrison County, West Virginia, to eastern portions of Virginia and North Carolina. The pipeline will provide 1.5 million dekatherms per day of firm transportation service. Ninety-six percent of the capacity is subject to precedent agreements with six shippers, with almost 80 percent of the transported gas anticipated to supply gas-fired, electric generation facilities needed to back up expanding renewable generation.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would help alleviate energy supply constraints in the Mid-Atlantic region and represents an important part of region’s transition from coal to cleaner energy. Natural gas provides the reliable energy needed to replace coal, rapidly expand renewables and achieve the net-zero emissions goals of both Dominion Energy and Duke Energy, according to the company.

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