Thursday, September 11, 2014

Opposition forming to Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Forces against the natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Eastern North Carolina, announced last week, are quickly mustering.

A coalition of 22 conservation groups have formed the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance. The groups say the pipeline route would disrupt ecologically sensitive areas, including parts of the Monongahela and George Washington national forests in West Virginia and Virginia.

The route would cross karst topography formed by soluble rocks such as limestone that form underground drainage systems, the alliance says, placing water supplies at risk.

Supervisors in Nelson County, Va., which includes part of the George Washington forest, passed a resolution opposing the pipeline on Tuesday.

Duke Energy and Charlotte's Piedmont Natural Gas, which solicited proposals for the $5 billion line, last week said Richmond-based Dominion Resources would build and operate it. The line, which needs federal approval, would tap gas deposits in the Marcellus and Utica shale basins.

The 42-inch diameter pipeline in West Virginia and Virginia would require a construction right-of-way 125 feet wide and a permanent easement 75 feet wide, Dominion says. In North Carolina, a smaller 36-inch pipe would need rights-of-way 110 feet and 50 feet wide.

Dominion says it expects to complete the route planning by December, with construction of the line in 2017 and 2018.

Open houses will start Monday at points along the pipeline route in all three states.