Atlantic Coast Pipeline Has Alternate Routes in Virginia, not North Carolina

dbbNF.AuSt.156By Wilson Daily Times

Feb. 25–Dominion Resources has identified four possible alternate routes for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Virginia but the route for North Carolina remains the same.

Jim Norvelle, Dominion spokesman, said no changes in North Carolina’s route are under consideration and the line will continue along the Interstate 95 corridor. The line is currently proposed to cut through the Rock Ridge area and Sims and about 2,000 feet from the Buckhorn Reservoir in Wilson County.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, an estimated $5 billion project, is a 550-mile natural gas pipeline that begins in West Virginia and continues through Virginia and North Carolina to Robeson County. The line will cut through 87 parcels along a 10-mile path through Wilson County.

Wilson County landowners are primarily concerned with being treated fairly in the process, which includes payment for easement agreements for land where the line is proposed. The pipeline project requires a lengthy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission review before it can be constructed by Dominion Resources.

The project includes shared ownership by Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources. If the FERC approves Dominion’s application, which should be submitted in September, the company will have eminent domain authority, which is sometimes used to seize land for public utility projects.

Dominion plans to negotiate a one-time payment for easements that will allow the company 110 feet of access and a 50-foot corridor of permanent access along the pipeline route. Landowners will be allowed access to the area but prohibited from building on the land.

Dominion plans to complete an updated report in the spring that will outline alternative routes for the pipeline, with four in Virginia and other possible locations in West Virginia, Norvelle said.

One alternate route in Virginia would cross about 10 fewer bodies of water in Augusta and Nelson counties than previously considered. Another alternate would avoid areas in Nelson County hit hard by Hurricane Camille in 1969. A third alternate east of Lovington in Nelson County would avoid the Norwood-Wingina Historic District, and another alternate route would connect the southern route across the Blue Ridge to either the current proposed route or the proposed alternate east of Lovingston.

Dominion is anticipating possible FERC approval in 2016, which would follow with a two-year construction phase through 2018. The line is expected to be in operation in late 2018 and would have the capacity to provide 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. The natural gas will originate from the Marcellus and Utica shale basins in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which offer an abundant supply of natural resources. The line will also have the capacity to expand to 2 billion feet of natural gas per day, if demand warrants it.

The Wilson County Agri-Business Committee recently held a meeting in Wilson to provide updated information on the project. A Dominion representative offered details of the project and fielded questions ranging from eminent domain to cropland compensation. Rob Boyette, Wilson County commissioner, said he is trying to coordinate other future meetings for area landowners. No meetings have been set to date.

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