The U.S. Forest Service has rejected the proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The 550-mile natural gas pipeline's original route through national forests in Virginia and West Virginia must be reconfigured due to concerns over the project’s impact on an endangered salamander and other resources.
The Forest Service said the builders of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline will have to consider alternate routes through the George Washington and Monongahela national forests. The area along the proposed 30-mile pipeline route through the forests in the Cheat Mountain area within the Monongahela is considered one of the most diverse bio-systems in West Virginia. The Forest Service described the two species and forestland as “irreplaceable” and said they must be considered in developing an alternate route. Click here for map of proposed route.
Dominion Virginia Power, Duke Energy and other energy partners plan to build the $5 billion pipeline to deliver natural gas from the shale fields of northern West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, currently before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is one of at least two interstate pipelines that would carve a path through West Virginia and Virginia.
Pipeline critics welcomed the decision and said it was clear the national forest route was a bad one. “Dominion stubbornly persisted on a route that was identified as severely destructive from the start,” Greg Buppert, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said in a statement. “It is time for them to step back and truly reconsider the need for this pipeline at all.”
Dominion said it would continue to work with the Forest Service to find an alternate route through the national forests.
Source: The Daily Progress