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FERC Moving Pipeline Projects Forward Over Objections


Monday, August 15, 2016   

RICHMOND, Va. – Federal regulators are moving forward with huge pipeline projects across Virginia and West Virginia, although opponents say the projects are risking overbuilding and locking in a fuel that causes climate change.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC confirmed it won’t require a collective environmental impact statement on all the lines designed to ship Marcellus and Utica gas to East Coast markets.

Two of them – the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) – could end up costing ratepayers $9 billion.

And Rick Webb, coordinator of the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, says FERC is looking at the need for and total impact of each line separately.

"As if the others don't even exist,” he points out. “And analysis that has been done, including by FERC's own staff, indicates that we will very shortly have an excess in pipeline capacity – yet FERC doesn't want to address that."

FERC is moving ahead with timelines for the ACP, MVP and others that could see construction starting in about a year.

The energy companies behind the pipelines say they have contracts in hand to ship the gas, proving the need.

Webb says many of the contracts cited by the energy conglomerates are between subsidiaries of the same parent corporation.

One recent analysis found two-thirds of the contracts for the A-C-P are between branches of Dominion. Webb says FERC isn't challenging that.

"FERC is accepting at face value the argument that there is this need, this compelling need, to get gas to Newport News and Hampton Roads,” he states. “There's nobody in a position of making a decision willing to actually analyze that objectively."

Critics also contend it's foolish to build billions of dollars worth of fossil-fuel infrastructure at a time when the world is rapidly moving away from energy that causes climate change.

They argue the hundreds of miles of 42-inch gas pipelines could have the impact of locking consumers into using a fuel that creates carbon pollution.

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