UPDATE: Dominion postpones construction for Atlantic Coast Pipeline
NELSON COUNTY, Va (WSET) - Dominion announced it's pushed back the start of construction for the Atlantic Coast pipeline. The more than 500-mile pipeline will go through three states, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The company originally intended to begin construction in the fall of 2016, now they've announced they will start it in the summer of 2017.
But Dominion says the end date will remain the same, the company intends to begin using the pipeline by 2018. First, they have to get the thumbs up from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC.
Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby says that process has been a lengthy one. FERC requested Dominion submit environmental information about the areas they will be constructing the pipeline.
The commission will then put together a draft Environmental Impact Statement. Ruby says the FERC process has been extraordinarily thorough and comprehensive, and because of that they have pushed the construction date.
Pipeline opposition group Friends of Nelson say this buys them more time.
"Dominion is discovering what we've also known for a long time, that this pipeline is more than problematic. It just really can't be done safely" said Friends of Nelson President Ernie Reed.
Ruby says they have been working closely with the U.S. Forest Service, since the current route crosses two national forests.
He says they have recently made adjustments to the route to avoid sensitive areas species inhabit. But Friends of Nelson president Ernie Reed says that's impossible. "The route that they have, currently have through the national forest is just as problematic as the first. There are different species involved" said Reed.