About

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Glass Shower in Room Heated by Natural Gas

Project FAQs


About The ACP

Co-locating the pipeline along existing rights of way is always the company’s first choice. Also, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission prefers companies to co-locate their pipelines within or adjacent to existing rights of way where possible. But oftentimes co-location is just not feasible — for a variety of reasons:

  • Existing rights of way may not go in the direction the pipeline needs to go.
  • Following existing rights of way might require additional easements because, for example, the pipeline cannot be built beneath power lines, on top of other natural gas pipelines or in the middle of roads.
  • The terrain might be unsuitable for a pipeline (for example, transmission lines can traverse gaps that pipelines cannot).
  • There may be high-density development around the public right-of-way.
  • We may not be able to share the existing right of way and may have to parallel it, which would still affect landowners. Jumping on and off existing rights of way can mean an even greater number of private landowners are impacted.
Dominion Energy is actively pursuing renewable energy investments, including solar, wind and renewable biomass. Our offshore wind project in the Atlantic Ocean is one of the most advanced wind projects in the United States. Renewable energy is a growing and important part of a balanced energy portfolio for Dominion Energy, but it isn’t available around the clock.  Natural gas is a clean, low cost, abundant resource, making it the best around the clock option to complement our growing portfolio of renewable energy in Virginia and North Carolina.
Routing for a project of this scale typically starts with an engineering study that considers the customer requirements, necessary connection points, and the general landscape. The ACP project team then works with landowners and community stakeholders to address routing issues and develop feasible solutions. The design, construction and operation of the pipeline will strive to exceed compliance with all federal procedures and regulations to minimize and mitigate any impact the pipeline may have on natural resources, areas of historical and cultural significance and wildlife.

Benefits and Economic Impact

Decades of research by numerous credible organizations has consistently shown that natural gas pipelines do not negatively impact residential property values, homeowners insurance rates or the ability to obtain a mortgage. Most recently, a 2016 study performed by Integra Realty Resources looked at several residential communities in Virginia, Mississippi, Ohio and Pennsylvania where existing natural gas pipelines are located. The study found no evidence of any negative impacts on property values, insurance rates or the availability of mortgages in those communities.The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has reviewed this extensive research over a number of years, in addition to performing its own independent analysis, and has consistently reached the same conclusion. The FERC reaffirmed these findings most recently in its 2014 review of the Constitution Pipeline, as well as in its December 2016 draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
The current proposed route for the ACP covers 600 miles through a three-state region. If approved, just like landowners pay property taxes for their home and land, ACP will pay property taxes on the physical assets we would install underground. The property owner is still responsible for paying property taxes on the land about the pipeline. ACP would also pay property taxes on the compressor stations proposed in Lewis County, WV; Buckingham County, VA and Northampton County, NC.
The ACP would be considered open access, which means the pipeline would be open to producers and the market, providing both with the ability to tap into the pipeline for natural gas capacity. The ACP and its interconnections with other interstate pipelines and with Dominion Energy Transmission’s Supply Header Project will open up a range of diverse, reliable natural gas supplies for ACP customers.
While it would not be feasible to connect individual homes or small businesses directly to the pipeline, we do expect to connect with various local gas distribution companies, as capacity permits, and with power generators that would use natural gas to provide electricity for consumers while meeting new environmental regulations to improve air quality.
No. This project is about meeting the very real and growing energy needs of consumers and businesses in Virginia and North Carolina, not for export.

Environmental Benefits

Communication with Federally and State/Commonwealth recognized American Indian tribes that may be impacted by ACP has been ongoing through the life of the project. By assisting FERC’s compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation, Atlantic has performed field surveys to collect information on archaeological sites and other cultural resources in addition to contacting tribes to discuss the project. Contacts of the Federally and State/Commonwealth tribes are also included in ACP’s stakeholder list to ensure they receive FERC notices and the ACP newsletters which provide stakeholders with timely information about the project and its major milestones.
There are about 2½ times as many miles of existing natural gas pipelines in both Virginia and North Carolina as there are miles of interstate highways. Because virtually all of the pipeline facilities are underground, most people never realize they are there. That would also be the case with the ACP. After construction, pipeline rights of way can be farmed and used for livestock grazing, recreation and many other activities.

Pipeline Safety

The Department of Transportation (DOT) often refers to underground pipelines as the safest, most reliable and efficient manner of transporting energy products. According to research by the National Transportation Safety Board, pipelines make up less than .01% of all transportation-related incidents in the U.S. today. Safety is the number one core value at Dominion Energy, the builder and operator of ACP. From construction through operations, safety will be the top priority of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. There are a variety of programs and methods to assure and assess the integrity of natural gas transmission lines, such as safe construction practices with pipeline coatings for corrosion, the use of clean fill, monthly aerial inspections, frequent foot-patrol inspections, internal computerized pipeline inspection with "smart pigs," and around-the-clock monitoring by our Gas Control group. “Smart pigs” travel through the pipeline with the natural gas equipped with various sensors to check the pipeline for any anomalies. Compressor stations are also equipped with safety features, including automatic pressure-relief valves, an emergency shutdown system, natural gas detection devices and 24/7 computerized pressure monitoring. Emergency response plans will be in place and the team will coordinate with local emergency responders along the route throughout construction and operations, as Dominion Energy is dedicated to building, monitoring and operating the pipeline safely.
Natural gas pipelines have an excellent safety record. One safety incident is one too many in Dominion Energy’s view, but the number of incidents nationally is very small given the more than 300,000 miles of natural gas pipelines in the country. Pipelines are the safest way to transport energy. Dominion Energy is dedicated to building, monitoring and maintaining the ACP safely.
We have decades of experience working with local emergency responders along our pipeline corridors across 6 states. ACP will provide standard gas industry training for emergency responders to effectively prepare for and respond to natural gas emergency situations. This training is made available to emergency responders responsible for geographical areas in the ACP facility footprint. Equipment/personnel requirements for responding to a natural gas emergency are similar in scope to normal emergency situations. The emergency responders’ primary responsibilities are to secure a “safe perimeter” while ACP personnel address the emergency situation.
Pipelines are designed with redundant, overlapping layers of protection to ensure safe operations, including the ability to withstand seismic activity. Federal pipeline safety regulations actually require that we incorporate seismic hazards and other soil movement into our design. The epicenter of the 2011 earthquake in Mineral, Virginia occurred within just a few miles of four major natural gas transmission pipelines, and the earthquake caused no damage to any of those pipelines.
There are hundreds of miles of existing natural gas pipelines that have been built through the karst regions of Virginia and West Virginia for more than 70 years. The chance of a pipeline failing due to the sudden and catastrophic development of a karstic subsidence of rock or soil is highly unlikely, based on the history of existing installations. In fact, natural gas transmission pipelines have never been considered a risk to the karst environment in the Appalachian region by karst and/or engineering geologists when installed using trenching methods that adhere to responsible construction standards of practice. Dominion Energy’s monitoring program would allow early detection, in the unlikely event of a sinkhole forming in this region, to allow proper remediation.

Why Natural Gas?

There is a need for additional natural gas infrastructure to better serve existing and growing customer demand, improve service reliability and allow for customer growth and economic development. The ACP Project would also improve gas supply for Mid-Atlantic markets, thereby promoting price stability and enhancing economic opportunity. For example, this project will provide a new supply of natural gas for Duke Energy’s electric generation and will serve the growing customer needs for Piedmont Natural Gas and Virginia Natural Gas. Additionally, the ACP would help the project partners meet new air emission regulations while continuing to meet their obligation to supply electricity or natural gas to their customers at reasonable rates.