Pipeline becoming a pipe dream?
No one is claiming a win on the fight over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Not those for it, not those against it. Those for the ACP are a bit discouraged, however. Those against the pipeline are a bit encouraged. Here’s a few reasons why:
1. Construction has stopped because in December the U.S Court of Appeals 4th Circuit threw out the permits from the Forest Service to cross the National Forest in two locations. The harshly worded opinion said the Forest Service had “abdicated its responsibility and kowtowed to private industry in issuing the permits.” The opinion even quoted Dr. Seuss’ character the Lorax “We trust the United States Forest Service to ‘speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”
2. Meanwhile, several Republicans in Senate inserted a rider in one of the remaining budget bills giving the Forest Service permission to approve the permits. But, since Trump has shut the government down over the absence of funding for his Border Wall in these bills and any potential riders are in limbo. Senator Warner has already indicated he would see that the rider was removed.
3. Locally, Dominion has filled suit against the Nelson County Board of Supervisors for the decision by the Nelson County Board of Zoning Appeals to deny variances for flood plain crossings. By a 3 to 2 margin, our Board of Supervisors agreed to fight the suit.
4. A decision by the Virginia Air Quality Board concerning a controversial compressor station in Buckingham County keeps getting postponed.
5. Both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline are behind schedule, over budget and tied up in various court cases. Even officials who support them have expressed doubts whether they will ever be completed. The Mountain Valley Pipeline has even proposed an extension that would take it through North Carolina rather than Virginia. Dominion may have worries in Virginia about the pipeline but one of them is not their bottom line as the state guarantees them a return on investment.
6. Much more detailed news and further updates concerning the Atlantic Coast Pipeline can be found at Friends of Nelson.