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Pipeline Critics Continue Opposition to ACP, MVP

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Monday, October 16, 2017   

RICHMOND, Va. -- As expected, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has green-lighted two huge natural gas pipelines running through Virginia. But opponents say they'll still try to stop them.

Between them, the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines would run 900 miles and cost more than $8.5 billion. Rick Webb, coordinator of the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, said FERC almost never turns down gas pipeline projects. But his group will be asking state regulators and the U.S. Forest Service to stop the projects.

And Webb says they'll be going to court.

"We expected this, FERC always approves pipelines,” Webb siad. "The battle's not over, there are a number of approvals that still have to be obtained, and a lot of errors have been made in the decision making."

The energy companies behind the pipelines argue they're needed to open up a bottleneck and help get Marcellus gas to markets in eastern Virginia and North Carolina.

Webb said the coalition of landowners and environmentalists opposed to the pipelines has ample grounds for lawsuits based on what they believe the pipelines would do.

"Lots of damage to the environment, to streams and water supplies. Harm to private property owners,” he said. "We anticipate legal challenge on multiple fronts."

Webb said neither pipeline is necessary to meet projected demand, and he thinks the agency certainly shouldn't have approved both. He said it seems like that would be a basic question for the agency, and one of the three FERC commissioners voted against the pipelines because of it.

"The dissenting vote was based on the fact that FERC had not properly addressed the question of need, that these pipelines are not actually needed,” Webb said. "That’s a real issue, and it's a real problem with the way FERC does business."

FERC announced the decision on Friday.


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