Friday, July 21, 2017
The following is a statement from Leslie Hartz, Dominion Energy’s Vice President, Engineering & Construction, regarding the Final Environmental Statement for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline released today by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC):
“The favorable environmental report released today provides a clear path for final approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline this fall. The report concludes that the project can be built safely and with minimal long-term impacts to the environment. The report also reinforces previous findings by the FERC and decades of research demonstrating that natural gas pipelines do not adversely impact tourist economies or residential property values. With this report, the region moves one step closer toward a stronger economy, a more secure energy supply and a cleaner environment.
This report is the culmination of one of the most thorough and exhaustive environmental reviews that has ever been performed for a project of this scope. The report is based on nearly three years of painstaking study by more than a dozen federal agencies, as well as extensive engagement with communities along the proposed route. Drawing on more than 150,000 pages of regulatory filings and more than 75,000 public comments, FERC’s report comprehensively addresses all of the environmental and safety issues that have been raised. By any measure, this has been a rigorous and transparent process. It has provided extensive opportunities for public review and participation, and it has left no stone unturned.
As the report demonstrates, over the last three years we’ve taken unprecedented steps to protect environmental resources and minimize impacts on landowners. We’ve made more than 300 route adjustments to avoid environmentally sensitive areas and protect important features of individual properties. We’ve adjusted the route to avoid wetlands, public and private drinking water sources, wildlife habitats, sensitive karst terrain, and many other environmental resources. In many areas of the project, we’ve adopted some of the most protective construction methods that have ever been used by the industry. While some impacts on the environment and landowners are unavoidable with any infrastructure project, the report demonstrates that we’ve taken all necessary steps to minimize those impacts and balance them with the urgent public need for the project.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is essential to the economic vitality, environmental health and energy security of our region. It will result in more economic opportunity, a cleaner environment, and lower energy bills for consumers and businesses. The project is urgently needed by public utilities in Virginia and North Carolina to generate cleaner electricity, heat homes and power local businesses. Public utilities in our region are depending on this project to meet the growing energy needs of the millions of customers they serve. With today’s favorable report, we are confident we will receive final approval this fall and bring these important economic and environmental benefits to our region.”
The Final Environmental Impact Statement is available for download on the FERC website.